Coffee Acidity Chart: Flavor Profile and Best Beans

Author: Giuseppe Milo, Software engineer and specialty coffee enthusiastAuthor information
About the author
Giuseppe Milo
Since embarking on his software engineering journey in 1997, he has explored the realms of coffee with as much fervor as coding. Moving to Ireland opened up a new world of specialty coffee experimentation for him. Over time, he has tinkered with various coffee machines, mastering the art of crafting specialty brews with both milk and alternative milks, each cup marking a harmonious blend of his twin passions for coding and coffee.

Coffee is a beloved beverage appreciated not just for its ability to wake up the senses but also for its rich, diverse flavor profiles. One of the critical factors contributing to coffee’s taste is its acidity. However, acidity in coffee doesn’t refer to its pH level but to a bright, sparkly quality that elevates the coffee’s taste, making it more vibrant. Coffee acidity is a desirable quality that is often sought by connoisseurs and everyday drinkers alike, with certain beans boasting a higher acidity and, thus, a more lively flavor profile.

The aim of this article is to delve into the world of coffee acidity, exploring how it affects the flavor and which beans offer a higher or lower acidity. We will present a comprehensive Coffee Acidity Chart to guide you through various beans and their acidity levels, helping you find that perfect cup that dances on your palate. Whether you are a fan of a bright, tangy cup of coffee or prefer something smoother and more mellow, understanding coffee acidity will elevate your coffee-drinking experience to new heights.

In the following sections, we will unravel the factors that influence coffee acidity, provide a detailed chart categorizing different coffee beans based on their acidity, and offer recommendations for those looking to explore the vibrant spectrum of flavors that coffee acidity brings to the table. So, brew yourself a fresh cup, and let’s embark on this flavorful journey through the realms of coffee acidity.

Coffee black and white

Understanding Coffee Acidity

Coffee acidity is a term that often surfaces in conversations among coffee enthusiasts and professionals alike. However, it might not mean what most people initially think. Let’s delve into what coffee acidity truly entails and how it’s intricately linked to a coffee’s flavor profile.

What is Coffee Acidity?

When we talk about coffee acidity, we are not referring to the pH level but rather a flavor profile that is bright, crisp, and vivacious. It’s a term used by coffee professionals to describe a range of flavors and sensations that are often associated with certain types of coffee beans. This kind of acidity is highly desirable and is often found in high-quality, freshly roasted coffee beans. It’s that sparkly, tangy quality that can make a coffee taste lively, vibrant, or even wine-like.

Check out the most expensive coffees in the world in our exclusive article.

How is Coffee Acidity Measured?

Measuring coffee acidity is more of a sensory evaluation rather than a scientific measurement. Professional tasters, also known as cuppers, evaluate coffee acidity based on its taste profile. They are looking for a lively, bright taste, often described as sparkly. However, it can also be quantified to some extent by measuring the concentration of certain acids present in coffee, such as citric, malic, and chlorogenic acids, among others.

Acidity and Flavor Profile

Acidity significantly contributes to a coffee’s overall flavor profile. Coffees grown at high altitudes often have a bright, vibrant acidity and are prized for their lively, sparkly flavor. On the other end of the spectrum, coffees with low acidity often have a more mellow, smooth, and rounded flavor.

The acidity of coffee adds a dimension of flavor that can range from a sharp, tangy brightness to a more subtle, delicate zest. This range of flavor is often what makes coffee a beverage of choice for many, offering a spectrum of taste experiences that entice the palate in every sip. The right level of acidity can make a coffee taste fresh, clean, and exhilarating, making it a key factor in the complexity and balance of the brew.

The discussion around coffee acidity is not merely a discourse of taste, but a dive into the nuanced world of coffee flavor profiles. It beckons coffee lovers to explore beyond the usual and venture into the vibrant and varied world of coffee acidity. Through understanding and appreciating coffee acidity, one opens up a realm of flavors, each with its unique note and narrative, enriching the daily ritual of coffee drinking with every bright, sparkly sip.

Factors Influencing Coffee Acidity

The acidity of coffee is a complex characteristic influenced by a myriad of factors from the moment the coffee cherries are plucked from their branches to when the beans are roasted and brewed. Let’s journey through the various factors that play a pivotal role in determining the acidity level of coffee, contributing to its unique and diverse flavor profiles.

Origin of Coffee Beans

The origin of coffee beans is a significant determinant of their acidity level. Beans from different coffee-growing regions around the globe exhibit distinct flavor profiles, including varying levels of acidity. For instance, African coffees, particularly those from Ethiopia and Kenya, are often celebrated for their bright and vibrant acidity. Latin American coffees, especially those from Colombia and Guatemala, also often exhibit a notable level of acidity with a crisp, clean profile.


Altitude plays a crucial role in shaping a coffee’s acidity. Coffee plants grown at higher altitudes tend to produce beans with higher acidity. The cooler temperatures and slower growing conditions at high altitudes allow coffee cherries to mature slowly, leading to a denser bean and a brighter acidity. The nuanced flavors and vibrant acidity associated with high-altitude coffees are often cherished by coffee enthusiasts.

Processing Method

The processing method used to prepare coffee beans post-harvest can significantly impact their acidity. Wet or washed processing, where the coffee cherries are de-pulped and fermented to remove the mucilage before drying, often results in higher perceived acidity. On the other hand, dry or natural processing, where coffee cherries are dried whole, can lead to a lower acidity but a fruitier, more robust flavor.

Roast Level

The roast level too, has a profound impact on a coffee bean’s acidity. Light roasts tend to preserve the natural acidity of the coffee bean, showcasing a bright and tangy flavor profile. As the roast progresses towards a medium or dark roast, the inherent acidity of the beans diminishes, giving way to a more mellow, rich, and bold flavor with the emergence of roastiness.

The interplay of these factors crafts a complex narrative of coffee acidity, each factor contributing its unique note to the symphony of flavors encapsulated in every coffee bean. Understanding these factors not only enriches the coffee-tasting experience but also empowers coffee aficionados to explore and find the beans that resonate with their palate, crafting a coffee experience that is both enriching and exhilarating.

Coffee beans

Coffee Acidity Chart

Delving into the world of coffee acidity unveils a spectrum of flavors that dance on the palate. By categorizing various coffee beans based on their acidity levels, we invite you on a flavorful expedition to discover the unique taste profiles each bean offers. Below is a comprehensive coffee acidity chart that elucidates the diverse range of acidity found in different coffee beans.

High Acidity Coffees

High-acidity coffees are renowned for their bright, vibrant, and often fruity flavors. They tend to have a sparkly, tangy quality that can be exhilarating and refreshing. Here are some coffee beans known for their high acidity:

  • Ethiopian Yirgacheffe: Renowned for its bright acidity and intense, floral, and citrusy flavor profile.
  • Kenyan AA: Celebrated for its sharp acidity and full-bodied, fruity, and wine-like flavors.
  • Guatemalan Antigua: Known for its lively acidity and rich, spicy, and chocolatey flavor profile.
  • Ethiopian Sidamo: Known for its citrus and floral notes with a bright acidity.
  • Kenyan AB: Another prized Kenyan coffee known for its sharp acidity and fruity flavors.
  • Guatemalan Huehuetenango: Known for its bright acidity and full-bodied flavor with spicy notes.

Medium Acidity Coffees

Medium acidity coffees strike a balanced harmony between brightness and smoothness, leading to a nuanced and well-rounded flavor profile. Here are some coffee beans with medium acidity:

  • Colombian Supremo: Appreciated for its balanced acidity, medium body, and nutty caramel flavors.
  • Costa Rican Tarrazu: Known for its medium acidity, full body, and bright, citrusy flavor profile.
  • Hawaiian Kona: Prized for its moderate acidity, rich body, and nutty, chocolatey flavors.
  • Colombian Narino: Known for its balanced acidity and sweet, citrusy flavor profile.
  • Costa Rican La Minita Tarrazu: Noted for its bright acidity and full-bodied, citrusy flavor.
  • Jamaican Blue Mountain: Known for its moderate acidity, smooth body, and complex flavor profile.

Low Acidity Coffees

Low-acidity coffees are cherished for their mellow, smooth, and often creamy or chocolatey flavors. They tend to have a rounded, smooth taste that can be very comforting. Here are some coffee beans with low acidity:

  • Sumatra Mandheling: Known for its low acidity, full body, and earthy, chocolatey flavor profile.
  • Brazilian Santos: Appreciated for its low acidity, medium body, and nutty, sweet flavors.
  • Mexican Chiapas: Recognized for its low to medium acidity, medium body, and chocolatey, nutty flavors.
  • Sumatra Gayo: Noted for its low acidity, full body, and earthy flavors.
  • Brazilian Cerrado: Known for its low acidity and medium body with nutty, chocolatey flavors.
  • Mexican Oaxaca: Known for its low to medium acidity, medium body, and chocolatey, nutty flavors.

Each of these coffee beans tells a unique story of flavor influenced by its acidity level. Exploring different beans from various regions and altitudes can be a delightful journey of discovery, leading to a better understanding and appreciation of the broad spectrum of flavors that coffee offers. Whether you prefer the lively sparkle of high-acidity coffees, the balanced allure of medium-acidity coffees, or the smooth mellowness of low-acidity coffees, the world of coffee acidity holds a treasure trove of taste experiences waiting to be unearthed.

Pairing Acidity with Personal Preference

The beauty of coffee lies in its vast spectrum of flavors, allowing coffee aficionados to find their unique preference within this wide range. Understanding one’s acidity preference can significantly enhance the coffee experience, guiding individuals towards beans that resonate with their palate. In this section, we’ll explore how to pair acidity with personal preference and how brewing methods can impact the perceived acidity of coffee.

Choosing Coffee Beans Based on Acidity Preference

Your personal coffee journey may begin with recognizing your acidity preference. If you revel in a bright, tangy, and lively cup, steering towards high-acidity coffees like Ethiopian Yirgacheffe or Kenyan AA could be gratifying. On the other hand, if you appreciate a more balanced or mellow cup, medium to low acidity coffees like Colombian Supremo or Sumatra Mandheling might be more up your alley.

Exploration is key in discovering your acidity preference. Don’t hesitate to experiment with beans from different origins, as each offers a unique acidity profile that contributes to its overall flavor. Engaging with local roasters or coffee communities can also provide insights and recommendations tailored to your taste preference.

Brewing Methods and Perceived Acidity

The brewing method employed can significantly affect the perceived acidity of coffee. Generally, methods that use a longer extraction time tend to mellow down the acidity, rendering a smoother brew. Here’s how different brewing methods might impact coffee acidity:

  1. Pour-Over: This method often highlights the natural acidity of coffee, rendering a clean and vibrant cup.
  2. Espresso: The quick extraction can intensify the acidity, creating a bold and robust flavor.
  3. Cold Brew: Cold brewing often results in a lower perceived acidity, delivering a smooth, mellow cup.
  4. French Press: The immersion brewing could lead to a balanced acidity, showcasing a rich, full-bodied flavor.
  5. Aeropress: Its versatility allows for experimentation in highlighting or muting acidity based on the grind size, brew time, and pressure applied.

Understanding the influence of brewing methods on acidity can empower you to tailor your coffee experience further. Whether you wish to highlight the bright, tangy notes or prefer a smoother, more rounded brew, experimenting with different brewing techniques could lead you to your perfect cup.

The journey of pairing acidity with personal preference is a personalized expedition into the heart of coffee flavors. By aligning your acidity preference with suitable coffee beans and optimizing the brewing method, you are not just brewing a cup of coffee but crafting a personalized coffee experience that resonates with your palate, making each sip a gratifying encounter.

Africa Coffee

Recommendations for Best Beans

Embarking on a quest to find the perfect coffee bean that aligns with your acidity preference can be an exhilarating journey. While the broad spectrum of coffee flavors offers a vast playground for exploration, having a few recommendations can provide a solid starting point. In this section, we’ll recommend specific coffee beans or brands for each acidity level, guiding you toward a cup that resonates with your taste buds.

High Acidity Coffees

For those who relish a bright, lively cup, high-acidity coffees are the way to go. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from Koffee Kult: This bean is celebrated for its bright acidity and floral, citrusy flavor profile.
  2. Kenyan AA from Volcanica Coffee: Known for its sharp acidity and fruity, wine-like flavors.
  3. Guatemalan Antigua from Coffee Bean Direct: Renowned for its lively acidity and rich, spicy, and chocolatey flavor profile.
  4. Ethiopian Sidamo from Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC: Known for its bright acidity with floral and citrus notes.
  5. Kenyan AB from Volcanica Coffee: Known for its sharp acidity with fruity, berry-like flavors.

Medium Acidity Coffees

If you prefer a balanced cup with a harmonious blend of brightness and smoothness, medium-acidity coffees could be your match. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Colombian Supremo from Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC: Offers a balanced acidity with nutty caramel flavors.
  2. Costa Rican Tarrazu from Coffee Bean Direct: Known for its medium acidity and bright, citrusy flavor profile.
  3. Hawaiian Kona from Volcanica Coffee: Prized for its moderate acidity, rich body, and nutty, chocolatey flavors.
  4. Colombian Narino from Koffee Kult: Known for its balanced acidity and sweet, citrusy flavors.
  5. Costa Rican La Minita Tarrazu from Stumptown Coffee Roasters: Known for its bright acidity and full-bodied, citrusy flavor.

Low Acidity Coffees

For those who enjoy a mellow, smooth cup, low-acidity coffees are the ideal choice. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Sumatra Mandheling from Java Bean Plus: Renowned for its low acidity and earthy, chocolatey flavor profile.
  2. Brazilian Santos from CoffeeAM: Appreciated for its low acidity and nutty, sweet flavors.
  3. Sumatra Gayo from Volcanica Coffee: Known for its low acidity, full body, and earthy flavors.
  4. Brazilian Cerrado from Coffee Bean Direct: Known for its low acidity and medium body with nutty, chocolatey flavors.
  5. Mexican Chiapas from Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC: Known for its low to medium acidity, medium body, and chocolatey, nutty flavors.

These recommendations provide a gateway into the diverse world of coffee acidity. Engaging with local coffee roasters or exploring online coffee retailers can further expand your options, allowing you to discover a plethora of beans that align with your acidity preference. Each coffee bean carries a unique narrative of flavor, waiting to be brewed, savored, and enjoyed. As you venture through different beans and brands, you’re not just searching for a coffee that suits your palate but embarking on a flavorful journey that celebrates the rich tapestry of coffee flavors.


The voyage through the realm of coffee acidity unveils a narrative rich with flavor, culture, and personal preference. Each coffee bean holds within it a unique story of acidity, influenced by its origin, altitude, processing, and roast level, waiting to be discovered and savored. As we navigated through the different factors influencing coffee acidity, the coffee acidity chart, and the diverse brewing methods, a rich panorama of flavors emerged, inviting coffee enthusiasts to delve deeper into this flavorful expedition.

Our exploration doesn’t end here; it merely begins. With every cup of coffee brewed, there lies an opportunity to experience a new shade of acidity, discover a new favorite bean, and craft a coffee experience that resonates with personal taste preferences. The recommendations provided serve as stepping stones into the vast and vibrant world of coffee acidity. Yet, the true essence of this journey lies in personal exploration, in venturing beyond the known, and in embracing the diverse spectrum of flavors that coffee offers.

The essence of coffee is as complex and nuanced as its acidity profile. It’s a daily ritual, a moment of reflection, a celebration of flavor, and a nod to the rich cultural tapestry that accompanies the journey of coffee from bean to cup. As we conclude this exploration of coffee acidity, we invite you to continue this flavorful journey, to experiment with different beans and brewing methods, and to find that perfect balance of acidity that makes your coffee experience truly gratifying. So, brew a cup, savor the flavors, and let the narrative of coffee acidity continue to unfold with each sip.

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