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Thread: How to differentiate Sourness VS Acidity (Ethio Yirg)

  1. #1
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    How to differentiate Sourness VS Acidity (Ethio Yirg)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I know there are tons of terminology between Sourness and Acidity.
    However, in practive, I dont know how to differentiate between the two in my mouth.

    Today I tried my 1-day roasted Ethiopia Yirg (canbt wait). I roasted somehow too light (just after 1st crack finished), not quite even. I got quite strong flora taste and the feel of tea rather than coffee. HOWEVER, also got the taste like lemon (imagine you drink lemon tea that dilute in the water).

    - Is this Sourness or Acidity?
    - Is acidity actually sour? or dry?
    - Is it normal for this bean to taste like dilute lemon tea with flora flavour?

    Cheers,
    Charles

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    Re: How to differentiate Sourness VS Acidity (Ethio Yirg)

    Hi Charles,

    Sounds like you produced a roast similar to a cupping sample.

    The description you give of the Yirg sounds about right. (broadly speaking)

    Wines, red especially, are a great way of undestanding acidity.

    M.


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    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: How to differentiate Sourness VS Acidity (Ethio Yirg)

    Hi Charles, the lighter the roast the more acidity you will get, if you took the roast to first snaps of second crack or into second 10-20 seconds there would be a lot less acidity. As swig said you have roasted close to a cupping style of roast. Use the beans for pourover or plunger and you should get a decent cup ;) :) :)

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    Re: How to differentiate Sourness VS Acidity (Ethio Yirg)

    Thanks everyone.
    I think I should try darker next batch.
    Still cannot differentiate Sourness and Acidity :(

    Charles

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: How to differentiate Sourness VS Acidity (Ethio Yirg)

    Quote Originally Posted by 4348414C45524D4348414954200 link=1281506280/3#3 date=1281587144
    Still cannot differentiate Sourness and Acidity
    Im no expert and there are plenty of CSers who know more about coffee cupping than I ever will.

    To me, acidity is a desirable characteristic in which there is tingle to the tastebuds on the the tongue and the palate. This is more prominent in lightly roasted coffee as others have mentioned. It can also depend on the bean variety (usually the low grown soft bean varieties) and how long after roasting you taste it - acidity tends to reduce over time.

    Sourness is an undesirable quality - a sour aftertaste which I think comes from stale or poorly roasted coffee but I am happy to be corrected here.

    The wine comparison is good as acid in wine is something you can detect on your tongue and palate, whereas sour wine is something that just makes you go bleh and pour it down the sink..

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    Re: How to differentiate Sourness VS Acidity (Ethio Yirg)

    Sourness can also be caused by an espresso machine thats not up to temp.

    Flynns summed it up pretty well though. Acidity is something that makes you smack your lips. Sourness is something that makes you wince.

    Yirg is an interesting beast. My preference is on the darker side. I bought some from St Ali the other day and IMO the roast was a little on the light side. Would have been great in a pour-over, but I had real trouble dialling it in on the espresso machine.

    Caff.

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: How to differentiate Sourness VS Acidity (Ethio Yirg)

    Quote Originally Posted by 0C2E29292A26212A1009262A212B4F0 link=1281506280/5#5 date=1281593829
    Sourness can also be caused by an espresso machine thats not up to temp.
    Yes, thats right. Thanks CF - I had a machine that was running a few degrees below optimum temp and my shots always tasted sour.

    I should clarify, now Ive just had a shot, that acidity is detected around the side of the tip of the tongue as well as the back of the palate. You will now it as a burning/tingling sensation. Sourness seems to drench the palate.

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    Re: How to differentiate Sourness VS Acidity (Ethio Yirg)

    good info to know

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    Re: How to differentiate Sourness VS Acidity (Ethio Yirg)

    Thanks for all advices.

    I am sure mine is sourness :-/ coz it feel like straight lemon tea not a wine dry feeling. Could be too light roasted bean.

    Anyway, if I think it is a cup of TEA, it is just fine ::)

    Charles

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    Re: How to differentiate Sourness VS Acidity (Ethio Yirg)

    Quote Originally Posted by 545F565B52455A545F565E43370 link=1281506280/8#8 date=1281603183

    Anyway, if I think it is a cup of TEA, it is just fine *::)
    I had a laugh!

    As greenman suggested above, use them in a pourover or a plunger. Dont waste em ;)

    Cheers,

    Caff.

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    Re: How to differentiate Sourness VS Acidity (Ethio Yirg)

    its sometimes a fine line between sourness and acidity. Acidity pronounces itself in many different ways (quinic, acetic, citric etc)and isnt always that stinging feeling necessarily. Its hard to describe without tasting two coffees side by side. A random thing that I fall back on when I think of sourness are those Sour Warhead lollies I used to have as a kid. Some things like lemons or grapefruits I find have a sourness to them, but also some great acidity. Suck a lemon and youll see what I mean. Cupped a table of Costa Ricans the other day that had a pronounced malic acidity, tasted like granny smith apples. Dunno if that helps. Its kinda hard to describe. Hope that helps a bit.

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: How to differentiate Sourness VS Acidity (Ethio Yirg)

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Hmmmm, I think that technically acid tastes sour. So they are primarily the same thing.
    Different acids do have different tastes though and getting the balance between acids, flavours, and sugars (and alcohol) is what makes wines lip smacking.

    I suspect its the same with coffee--balance. I dont know if there are different acids in under roasted or under extracted coffee that are unpleasant compared to the fruit acids that reside in the beans or whether it is just a matter of overall quantities.

    Further real technical information will have to come from someone else. While I helped make wine, I only roast and drink coffee.

    Greg



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