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In our Tasting Room we are often asked about acidity in coffee. While there’s not a one size fits all approach to answering this question, we’ve outlined a few points to consider.

The term “acidity” is used a few different ways in the coffee industry.

  1. Acidity can be used to describe the bright and tangy sensation that differentiates higher-grown coffee apart from lower-grade coffee. Tasting notes may describe acidic coffee as sour, citrus, tangy.
  2. Acidity can be used to describe the unpleasant stomach irritant that some coffee drinkers may experience. Sometimes it is due to the reaction the body has to caffeine.
  3. Acidity can be measured on the pH scale, which uses 7.0 as an indicator of neutrality. Numbers over 7 are lower-acid and numbers under 7 are more acidic. Black coffee is considered low on the pH scale around 5.  By comparison, lemon juice has a pH around 2, water is around a pH 7, and baking soda is around pH 9.

There are a few ways to limit the amount of acidity in your coffee.

  1. Choosing coffees that are roasted as medium to dark roasts can reduce acidity in the coffee. However, the darker the roast the more it masks what makes the coffee unique (the origin or “terroir”) and the roast style becomes more noticeable. For darker roasts you may see tasting notes that describe the coffee as bittersweet and dark chocolate.
  2. Try coffee origins (regions) where the coffee tends to have less acidity such as Sumatra, Peru, Colombia or Mexico.
  3. Cold brew your coffee. There’s a reaction that happens when hot water hits the coffee grounds. But using cool or room temperature water and slowing down the brewing process (you need 12-24 hours to brew your coffee) you can reduce the amount of acidity in your coffee. By using the Toddy Cold Brew System that we have in our Tasting Room, you can brew a coffee concentrate that you can keep in your refrigerator. You can add milk, milk alternatives and water to the concentrate to make a ready to drink beverage. If you prefer hot coffee, add hot water to the concentrate and you can continue to enjoy a cup of hot coffee.
  4. Brew using a Chemex Coffee Maker. The paper filters are approximately 20-30% thicker than most paper filters. Chemex Coffee Filters are double-bonded and filter out acidity, bitterness, fats and sediments.

Coffee Recommendations

A few coffees to consider that have lower-acidity: Sumatran Mandheling (medium roast), Fair Trade Certified Organic Mexican (medium roast), Fair Trade Certified Organic Peru (medium roast), Full Moon (dark roast), and Fair Trade Certified Organic Sumatran Italian Roast (dark roast).

Coffee Brewing Equipment Recommendations

Toddy Coffee Maker*

Chemex Coffee Maker*

*both models sold in the Tasting Room

“What is that?” is a question we often overhear during our coffee tastings when we brew coffee using a Chemex. And for many reasons it is one of our favorite ways to brew coffee.

This brew method is a piece of art that is represented in numerous art museums including the Corning Museum of Glass and Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York.

What is the Chemex?
Invented by chemist Dr. Peter Schlumbohm in 1941, the Chemex combines the beauty of an hour glass with the function of a coffee maker. What makes this piece of art even more impressive is that it brews consistently smooth coffee.

Why do we like the Chemex?
The double bonded Chemex paper filter removes a molecule in coffee oils which creates a clean cup of coffee free from bitterness.

The Chemex does especially well in with washed coffees like our Guatemala Antigua and Costa Rica La Lia Finca Dragon.

We carry the 8-cup (40 ounce) Chemex and coffee filters in our Tasting Room in Berea, Ohio.

Brewing Tip: Use a digital scale when using a Chemex for accuracy.