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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

We have recently been fielding questions on cold brew technique at the Red Cedar Coffee Co. Tasting Room in Berea, Ohio. As we head into the warm summer months it is not hard to think about cool summertime beverages. Cold brew coffee is one of those options.

While cold brew tends to be most popular during the summer, increasingly it is being served year-round in cafes and restaurants. The Toddy Cold Brew System brews a coffee concentrate using cold or room temperature water. When you are ready to drink cold brew coffee simply add 3 parts of water milk or soy (cool or steaming) to 1 part coffee.

Why we like the Toddy Cold Brew System

One benefit to cold brew coffee is the longer brew time (using cooler water) removes much of the acidity naturally found in coffee (50-67% less acidity compared to drip coffee makers according to Toddy).

Another benefit is that the Toddy Cold Brew system is easy to brew and clean. The coffee concentrate stays fresh up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

What comes with the Toddy Cold Brew System

The system comes with a brewing container, glass decanter, lid, Toddy filters (2) and a rubber stopper. The Toddy Cold Brew system is BPA free.

Red Cedar Coffee Co. sells the Toddy Cold Brew System, replacement stoppers, filters and filter bags.

Brewing Steps:

  1. Pour coarsely ground coffee and cold water into the brewing container.
  2. Steep for 12-24 hours.
  3. Filter the coffee concentrate into the glass decanter. Stays fresh for up to 2 weeks.

Cold Brew Coffee Recommendations

While any coffee may be used to brew cold brew coffee, we have a couple recommendations. If you prefer fruitier coffees try our Kenya AA or Ethiopian Sidamo. For chocolaty notes try our Fair Trade Certified Organic Colombian.

Thai Iced Coffee*

Ingredients

4 oz. Toddy® Cold Brewed Coffee

1/4 tsp. Cardamom

2 oz. Half and Half

Ice

Directions

Stir all ingredients, except the ice, together in a 16 oz. cup until well combined. Fill with ice.

Orange Truffle*

Ingredients

3 oz. Toddy® Cold Brewed Coffee (Use coffee beans with chocolate notes)

1 oz. Chocolate Syrup

1 oz. Caramel Syrup

1 oz. Orange Juice

6 Ice Cubes

2 oz. Cold Milk

Directions

Stir together ingredients (except milk and ice). Pour into tall glass over ice, add milk and serve.

Café Français*

Ingredients

1/4 cup Heavy Cream, Chilled

1 tbs. Confectioners’ Sugar

1/4 tsp. Vanilla

3/4 cup Toddy® Cold Brewed Coffee

1/4 cup Steaming Hot Water

Directions

Beat cream until rich and fluffy, with soft peaks. Mix in sugar, and continue to beat until stiff peaks. Add whipped cream to mug. Mix Toddy® coffee concentrate with water and steam. Add vanilla and pour over cream. Serve right away, and do not stir.

*Recipes from Toddy.com. Additional Toddy cold brew recipes may be found here.