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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

The French press brews a full-bodied cup of coffee coffee. If you’re looking to pick up more of the characteristics that make your coffee unique, this is your brew method!

The French press is an immersion brewing method, meaning that the coffee grounds are steeped in hot water before being pressed to the bottom by a metal filter.

You will want to use a coarse grind for brewing your French press coffee. Pour the amount of coffee you’d like into the press then add hot water. Place the lid on top of the French press with the metal filter up. Wait 4-6 minutes and press the metal filter down. Pour and enjoy!

 

Why we like the French Press

It’s a great brewing method to relax and enjoy your coffee.

 

What you will need

Freshly roasted coffee from Red Cedar Coffee Co.

Grinder

French Press

Water Kettle

Digital Scale (to help replicate your favorite recipe)

 

Pro-tip

We find that steeping your coffee for 4-6 minutes is the sweet spot.

 

Pictured above

Our Tasting Room carries double-walled stainless-steel French presses. The French presses have new technologies that create a barrier between the coffee and coffee grounds meaning you won’t have to worry about bitter coffee. Also pictured is a handmade stoneware mug.

Grinding your coffee beans fresh is one of the best ways to brew a more flavorful cup of coffee. Coffee begins to start losing some of its flavor and aromatics as soon as it is ground.

If you like to have the flexibility of grinding for different brewing devices or wish to get the most flavor out of your coffee, you may want to consider grinding your coffee before brewing.

 

Blade vs. Burr Grinder

Blade grinders heat the coffee as they operate due to friction. Many blade grinders have a button that must be held down to grind; depending on who is grinding the coffee, it is much hard to achieve a consistent grind on a blade grinder.

Burr grinders have two revolving abrasive surfaces (“burrs”) and in between which the coffee is ground. Burr grinders slice through coffee beans more consistently which is best for brewing flavorful coffee.

 

Why we Like Burr Grinders

Burr grinders help you brew coffee-shop quality coffee at your home or office. The Red Cedar Coffee Co. Tasting Room features two burr grinders models: Baratza Encore and Baratza Virtuoso grinders.

The Encore is a great entry level burr grinder. The Encore features 40 grind settings. It is lighter and has a small enough footprint that it will fit under standard kitchen cabinets.

The Virtuoso grinds coffee faster compared to the Encore and features a 60-second timed grind switch which is helpful when keeping coffee beans in the hopper. The Virtuoso also has 40 grind settings, however the Virtuoso grinds coffee more consistently for drip, pour over and espresso.

 

Keep your burr grinder in tip-top-shape!

Oils accumulate over time and using the Full Circle grinder cleaning tablet can help you get the most life out of your coffee grinder.

The grinder tablets have been formulated specifically to remove the coffee oils and residue on the grinder’s burrs and can also prevent jamming of the grinder.

Here’s a short article that explains how jams occur and how a little cleaning can prevent them.

The Full Circle grinder tablets we carry in the Tasting Room are food-grade safe and are the same quality of cleaner we use for our grinders.

If you have attended one of our coffee tastings at our Red Cedar Coffee Co. tasting room in Berea, Ohio, you may have noticed that for pour over (i.e. Chemex, Hario) and emersion (i.e. French press) coffee brewing methods we use a digital scale. Did you know we also use a digital scale when brewing using a drip coffee maker?

Weighing ingredients helps with consistency

Brewing using a digital scale helps to brew coffee with consistency and accuracy. It’s a small step that is extremely helpful to make sure that you are replicating the same brewing recipe each time. Oftentimes a brewing recipe will show a brewing ratio such as 1:16 (one-ounce coffee to 16 ounces water).

How to use a digital scale for pour overs and emersion methods

For pour over and emersion brewing methods we place the brewer onto the digital scale, tare the weight with coffee, and then weight out the amount of water we use to brew our coffee.

Using the digital scale means you have more control in the amount of water you use. This can be helpful when using a 40 oz. Chemex to brew only 16 oz.

Where to get a digital scale

Red Cedar Coffee Co. carries a Hario digital scale in the tasting room.