The Home Brew: How to Control Acidity in Coffee
Acidity is an aspect of coffee that’s great for some but not for all. It’s typically found in lighter roasted coffees, with roasters even going to additional lengths to ramp up acidity by having the coffee go through unique or additional processes to bring up those bright notes. If you’ve been accustomed to chain store coffees, chances are acidity will be something of a new experience, and it’s admittedly an acquired taste for many coffee drinkers. If you find yourself looking to control the acidity in your brew and getting it to levels that you would consider tolerable, here are a few tips that you might find helpful.
What Kind Of Coffee Are You Brewing?
More often than not, it’s the lighter roasted coffees that will have those bright or acidic notes. If your coffee is roasted on the medium to darker side, the likelihood that it will be acidic drops since the roasting will hide the coffee’s natural acidity. Natural or honey processed coffee will be on the sweet side and will also highlight the body of the coffee, while washed coffees will tend to highlight acidity. Lastly, if your coffee bag shows the coffee’s elevation, there will also be a tendency for coffees grown at higher elevations to showcase more acidity.
What Are Your Parameters?
Your brewing parameters affect the kind of coffee you’ll end up with. During the brewing process, the first thing to be extracted are the acids, followed by the sweetness, and lastly, the bitterness. Brewing your coffee in a shorter period can result in a brighter cup of coffee. You can slow down the extraction of the coffee by lowering your brewing temperature from 88°-90° Celsius. Your grind size will also affect your brew.
Your grind size will also affect your brew. If you want a brighter cup, adjust your grind to make it courser. The opposite will apply if you want less acidity. The reason for this is if your coffee is courser, it will make your brewing time faster but make the extraction slower since larger grind sizes will require more time to extract the flavors from coffee.
Check Your Water
Your water quality will also play a role in the extraction of acidity. Water that’s higher in mineral content will work to balance out the acidity, while coffee with lower mineral content could highlight it. Try playing around with different types of water (probably except for distilled) to see which kind of water works best for you.
Where Is Your Coffee From?
Your coffee’s origin, funny enough, will also play a factor here. Coffee regions like Ethiopia and Columbia will tend to produce coffees with nice bright notes, while coffees from Brazil or Sumatra will produce coffees with lower acidity. This is primarily due to how high up the coffee is grown (aka the altitude), where their coffees are generally grown on lower altitudes. Of course, should you end up with a high-altitude grown Brazilian coffee, that may be an exception.
Go The Cold Brew Route
Finally, if acidity is completely out of the question for you, there’s always cold brew coffee. Because of the way the coffee is extracted (i.e. with lower temperatures, longer brew period, and a courser grind), you end up with something with little to no acidity, especially when you use medium to darker roasted coffees.