This term is definitely interpreted by consumers as negative. Professionals, however, understand this differently. Good acidity is a positive in coffee. Let me give you two analogies to help explain what I mean.
An unripe pineapple is all acid and no sweetness. Overripe it is all sweetness and no acidity. Both too sweet and too acidic are unpleasant. In a pineapple, perfectly ripe means a balance exists between sweetness and acidity.
Another example is carbonated sodas, once called phosphates. To make a soda bright and lively, phosphoric acid was added in minute amounts to increase the sparkle. Kenya coffees, known as among the brightest, were found to contain high levels of phosphorous acid-forming compounds when brewed. Experimenting with a single drop of phosphoric acid in a cup of mediocre coffee improved its quality in a measurable amount.
What you need to know is that acidity in coffee does not refer to its pH value, but to its ability to activate the taste receptors on the lower sides of your tongue.
There are three types of positive acidity in coffee. You should evaluate each cup’s acidity value. These acidity types are:
- Citric (bright and lively) Forward on the palate
- Plum (soft and mellow) Mid-palate
- Blueberry/strawberry (sweet/sour) Back of palate