Coffee often gets branded as an acidic drink, but in fact, coffee comes in at around a five on the pH scale, which is actually less acidic than drinks like beer, orange juice, and even soda. So, when we talk about acid and coffee, most often, we are not actually talking about the pH level of the drink. Here’s what we are talking about.
Acid vs. Acidity
Acidity is one of the key components of how a coffee tastes. The word can be a little confusing, however, as usually when we are referring to food, acidic isn’t usually a desirable quality. In fact, hear the word “acid” and you almost immediately think of a food or drink that’s going to be sour in your mouth and hard on your stomach. But that’s not the case when talking about acidity in coffee, because here, acidity is a desirable quality. In fact, when coffee professionals talk about “acidity,” they are talking about the presence of certain acids that influence the taste of coffee. Acidity doesn’t refer to the actual acid content — it refers to a flavor note.
Because “acidity” is used to talk about how coffee tastes, you may have already heard this flavor note being referred to in other ways; words that are a bit more indicative of the flavor itself. “Bright” is a common word used to referred to coffees with good acidity.