Acid free coffee

11 May 2012
Acid free coffee
Most of our readers are likely to have received in the last few months a spam run promoting "acid free coffee" in their inbox, with a link to an american company. This company, which denied having anything to do with it, sells a coffee claimed to be "acid free". But what does that mean?

On one thing we certainly agree: most of the (bad quality) coffee sold in Australia have an excessive level of acidity. This is due to a low quality of the coffee beans and/or to the roasting. Traditionally, Italian coffee is roasted slightly longer than in other countries, to obtain a stronger flavour and reduce acidity. When the coffee is roasted the Italian way, it loose acidity due to the reduction from 7% to 4.5% of chlorogenic acids, and there is an inverse relationship between level of coffee roasting and acidity of the espresso.

That doesn't mean that an excessive roasting is preferable: the skill (or the art...) of a great coffee roaster is to find the perfect balance. If the roasting is excessive, pyridine and phenols make the coffee too bitter, with aftertaste of butter and grass. The level of pyrrole also grow with pH, time and temperature of roasting, and it's beneficial only in minimum quantities, but when in excess bring a medicinal and oily taste to the coffee.

Moreover, the pyrolysis of sugars create an excessive quantity of furan, also cause of bitterness and burnt taste.

If someone still think that roasting is as easy as cooking popcorns, probably now has something to think about, and keep in mind that this is jus a fraction of the substances that are modified when roasting coffee beans...

But I digressed. Back in topic, we at Slitti are very proud of our "acid free coffee", meaning that our coffee has only the required acidity needed to sharpen the flavour, no more than that. If acidity is a problem for you (because an IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome - for example), you can try a lower acidity coffee like Slitti, or even better our decaffeinated coffee, since caffeine is considered one of the trigger of IBS.

But if I were you, I'd stay away from "acid free coffee", thas are described by Mike at in this way:

"Things went downhill quickly once it came to the taste test. It had a chemical/plastic flavor with a hint of medicine gone bad that lingered on my tongue. It was so bad that I thought there was something wrong with my coffee maker. It was indeed smooth and easy on my stomach, but I couldn’t get past the taste. I couldn’t drink a full cup".

Photo: coffee roaster Daniele Slitti

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