Sunday, February 19, 2017

Is Sumatran Coffee Acidic?

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If you are searching for naturally high acidic coffees you will probably look to Sumatran blends and single origin coffees as they are commonly found in stores and coffee roasteries all over the place.

In fine coffee tasting circles - the cuppers world - acidity is one of the more commonly agreed on "good things" and about fine coffee. Most gourmet coffee growers pride themselves on producing coffees at higher altitudes with "brighter" or more acidic coffees.

Truth be told I prefer the taste of higher acidity in my coffee but many people do not appreciate the brightness. In fact in the USA there is a big trend for bulk coffee makers to produce coffees that are not all that acidic. They market these coffees as "smooth" and Sumatran coffees tend to cater those people quite nicely - they tend to be less acidic categorically. Of course there are some micro-regions and growers that do produce acidic "bright" coffee but on average the region is not known for high acid.

To Long Didn't Read
Sumatran coffees on average tend to be lower in acidity than other regions of the world. Those Sumatran coffees which are grown at lower altitudes and those that are roasted a bit darker tend to have even lower acidity even within the region.

Related - Is Kona Coffee Good for Espresso?

The Acidity Of Sumatran Coffee as a Region


As I pointed out in my recent post on low acid coffees coffees grown at lower altitudes tend to have lower natural acidity than those grown at higher altitudes. Darker roasts tend to be lower in acidity than lighter roasts. And regionally speaking Sumatran coffee (on average) is some of the lowest acid coffees in the world.

Why is that? - It's on a small island chain in the Indonesian chain. Typically higher elevation regions produce more acidity.

Other interesting characteristics of most Sumatran coffees include the unique flavor profile of the final cup. No matter how you brew a Sumatran chances are great you'll notice the difference in flavor from most other regions right away. They taste earthy - almost like they have a bit of dirt in them... but in a good way.

In some ways the earthiness can be a turnoff but it's such a smooth flavor and weight in the mouth that most people enjoy it for it's uniqueness.

SweetMaria.com has an awesome description of Sumatran coffee if you'd like to learn more about the region and the flavor profile.

Sumatran Coffee is Usually a Good Choice for People on a Low Acid Diet

For those people on low acid diets -- or for those people who have trouble with the stomach upset that sometimes comes from high acid / high caffeine coffee -- a dark roasted Sumatran gourmet coffee will typically deliver a great cup without being too acidic. This blend is not going to be magic, there is still an acidic element to it, it is after all still coffee. To read a bit more on this you may want to see this post on the health benefits of coffee.

If you are really concerned about getting as little acid in your cup of coffee as possible then Puroast might be your next best bet. This company makes a coffee that is significantly lower in acid - 50% less according to their packaging. It's what they do.

You can start by having a look at Puroast's House Blend Drip Grind here or their decaf version here.

For those people who simply love interesting flavors that are complex then the low acidity of Sumatran coffees might be a welcomed treat.

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