I love to drink espresso and I always try to taste espresso at the coffee shop that I visit.
I found it weird when I taste in some coffee shop their espresso contains some acid. Does espresso really need acid to gave a great taste?
What kind of espresso that are really do great mix together with milk?

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Yes in my opinon as a roaster it is very, very important for espresso to have acidity- be it real or perceived acidity. Most Australian or NZ roasters work on achieving acidity to cut through the milk that inevitably goes on top of their blends in the cup. They however use predominantly Guatamalan, Colombian and Ethiopians in various %'s in their blends. My US collegues may differ on this a little, as the Antipodeans traditionally roast a bit lighter than the Americans (although for sure this is changing)

I like to work on getting a good balance of acidity (dryness for lack of a better word), body and sweetness. In Indonesia I have had to work on educating most of our Indonesian customers who cant initially pick up and sweetness and mistake acidity for bitterness as well! "Pahit!" is the usual comment we hear... however when you are feeling the espesso character on the front of your tongue, it is of course indicative of sweetness. We also work hard on a number of other characters in the cup itself. Working with Indonesian Arabicas gives us huge scope so we work primarily on getting apricots, raspberry as the primary subtle taste characters, followed by a base of vanilla, cinamons, chocolates, honeysuckle, earthiness and cherry. Despite what people may think, getting the florals and the nice winey-ness that the Kiwi and Aussie roasters find in the Central/South American Arabicas or those from Kenya or Ethiopia IS possile with caeful selection of Indonesian Arabicas. It is difficult to pick up all of these flavors at once in a shot- but we have worked on the blend so the balance of the espresso characters mentioned willcut through milk and be apparent on the pallete.

In my opinion we here anyway, have to work on the premisis that the espresso shots we pull are most likly going to be drunk as flatwhites, lattes or cappuccinos. Good acidity on a single or double shot also will in part leave a pleasant, tingling, fleeting, lingering memory of the shot on the tastebuds near the back of the tongue.
No pun intended, but what does acid taste like? Is it the little taste of citrus I taste in some espressos?
Not really, its more of a "dryness", I think like the feeling on your tongue after you have consumed some pleasant alcoholic drink- like champagne for instance. Citric, as in the form of citric acid, is one of the natural flavors that may, or may not, be present in all roasted coffees=- depending on degree of the roast. I like a wee bit of evident citric in my blending. I guess the term "acidity" is pretty much over discriptive when we are talking about coffee eh?

N. Freeman said:
No pun intended, but what does acid taste like? Is it the little taste of citrus I taste in some espressos?
N. Freeman said:
No pun intended, but what does acid taste like? Is it the little taste of citrus I taste in some espressos?

Acid is sour, one of the 5 primary tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. Like salt, it has no smell or aroma... I don't think it has a flavor of its own, but it contributes to your perception of taste and flavor. I think of acid as being less of a flavor and more of a sensation. It is often described as brightness or sharpness. Things taste a little dull when it is lacking. A little bit adds life, too much makes things unpalatable.

It occurs naturally in citrus, so may cause you to think of citrus when you experience it, however it does not always taste citrus-y. Pour a glass of water, hold your nose, and take a sip... now add a couple of drops of a neutral vinegar and repeat (with nose plugged). Ignore any smells that get past and focus on the sensation in your mouth. That is acid.

To me, an appropriate amount of acid is essential to almost everything that is meant to have complex flavor. Manipulating levels of acid in your drinks and the things you cook is a key to making stuff taste better.

I hope this helps.

Thanks! I tried the vinegar and I now understand what is meant by an acidic taste. I have experienced it before but didn't know what is was or how to describe it.

N Freeman

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