Describing Coffee - Acidity and Body

Describing what your tasting in your coffee cup can be a bit overwhelming like other drinks. Wine, whiskey, beer and coffee seem to have their own language when talking about it. Here are a couple of key coffee phrases you may hear frequently.
Acidity in coffee- good or evil?
The first thing you may think of when referring to acidity and coffee is that gut rot you may get. Rightfully so, that’s not enjoyable at all. No one wants to have a cup of coffee have their insides turned about. This bad acidic taste is from over roasting the bean. The bitterness and sourness is from quinic acid. This is what really turns people away from coffee.
This can partially be associated with dark and beyond dark, roasted coffee being the staple for years. Over time it has became normal to associate this bitterness with coffee.
Now let’s look at the good. If coffee didn’t have acidity at all - it would be uneventful. Acidity is what gives coffee some unique flavors.
When talking with a member from one of our farms he described acidity perfectly. He said to think of it like fruit, all fruit has acidity but some are delicious and enjoyable. These unique flavors can be noticed in roast levels lighter than darker roasts. It’s what gives coffee from different countries their unique characteristics.
The main take away is that acidity can be a good thing. Experiment and try a lighter roasted coffee to see what the talk is all about. There are also things you can do in the brewing process to help with the flavor. (I’ll save that for another post)
For some science behind it, think back to school or when you had to use pH strips to test the acidity of something. Scale of 0 to 14, 0 being most acidic. For a measure, water is a pH of 7. Coffee generally is about a pH of 5. Our beloved beer comes in at a pH of 4 and cows milk is a pH of 6. Pretty interesting when you see it on a scale like that.


Now moving onto to describing Body for your coffee.
What does body mean when you’re describing your coffee? The easiest way to describe it, how the coffee feels in your mouth. When you take a drink, is it: heavy, light, oily, thick, rich, smooth, creamy, refreshing and many more in this realm of adjectives.
A connection can be towards wine, reds vs whites, can you think of how those feel when you drink them?
Coffee cupping - acidity or body descriptions
Now think of the coffee you like, what characteristics do you enjoy about it?

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