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  #1  
Old 04-20-2009, 12:37 PM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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Coffee. Tips for lowering the acid/sour taste/aftertaste

I'm tired of coffee having a "sour" aspect. I want my coffee to taste like hot Haagen Daaz coffee ice cream, not coffee yogurt.

I've been using a french press for years, but I'm wondering if that might be the problem? I'm completely stumped by brands... I can't afford to blow big bucks, but I'm now convinced that it isn't necessary. I used some Yuban last week that came out perfect...but the next day it was icky and every day after that.

So, what are your best tips for the smoothest possible cup o' joe, with no bitterness or sourness? (I also like it strong. Can't stand peewater coffee...yech.)
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  #2  
Old 04-20-2009, 01:20 PM
tr0psn4j tr0psn4j is offline
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Get a medium or darker roast. I can drink the Columbian and French roasts without any sugar or cream.
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  #3  
Old 04-20-2009, 01:24 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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Darker roasts will be bitter. Try some "medium" or "city" roast coffee. If you've been using Italian or French roast, the difference can be striking. As a side benefit, lighter roasts retain more caffeine.

How long are you letting the coffee brew in the press? Don't go any longer than four minutes or you'll be pulling the bitter stuff out of the beans. Try reducing it to three minutes.
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  #4  
Old 04-20-2009, 01:43 PM
The Superhero The Superhero is offline
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Cold brew it. Mix 1/3 cup of coarse-ground coffee with 1.5 cups of water in a jar with a lid, let it sit for 12 hours. Strain it into another container with a coffee filter, mix with water in a 1-to-1 ratio, and keep it in the fridge. When you want hot coffee, pour a cup and stick it in the microwave.

My understanding is that it's the heat from the standard hot-brewing processes (whether drip or perc or French press) that transfers the acids from the beans to the water (and therefore, the final product), and thus a cup of cold-brewed coffee is far less acidic. You still get good, strong coffee flavor, and without the acidity, the smoother and sweeter flavor qualities of the beans will shine through.
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  #5  
Old 04-20-2009, 02:41 PM
Shark Sandwich Shark Sandwich is offline
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Alton Brown has said on his show that people commonly associate strong or "bitter" coffee with using too much coffee, but it actually is caused by people not using enough coffee. He says that if too little coffee is used, the grounds become saturated with water, and instead of dropping just the flavor, they start to extract the bitter acids out of the grounds as well. He recommends 2 tablespoons of grounds for every 6 ounce cup of coffee. These days of Starbucks and travel coffee cups, it seems most people drink coffee in 8 or 10oz servings at a time, and if you're not familiar with measuring your grounds out, you're going to be startled on how much coffee this method uses for say, an 8 cup pot of Joe.

BTW - AB also says that the French press is one of the best way to make the ultimate cup of coffee.
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  #6  
Old 04-20-2009, 03:06 PM
teela brown teela brown is offline
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Buy really good coffee. Find a hippie artisan organic roaster and patronize them. That's where I find my mellow, nutty, chocolatey coffee beans.

I like Blue Bottle in San Francisco.

Last edited by teela brown; 04-20-2009 at 03:06 PM..
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  #7  
Old 04-20-2009, 07:07 PM
stargazer stargazer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Superhero View Post
Cold brew it. Mix 1/3 cup of coarse-ground coffee with 1.5 cups of water in a jar with a lid, let it sit for 12 hours. Strain it into another container with a coffee filter, mix with water in a 1-to-1 ratio, and keep it in the fridge. When you want hot coffee, pour a cup and stick it in the microwave.

My understanding is that it's the heat from the standard hot-brewing processes (whether drip or perc or French press) that transfers the acids from the beans to the water (and therefore, the final product), and thus a cup of cold-brewed coffee is far less acidic. You still get good, strong coffee flavor, and without the acidity, the smoother and sweeter flavor qualities of the beans will shine through.
This is what I came in here to suggest. I use the same ratio as above, but I don't dilute it with water afterward (I doctor my coffee with milk and flavored creamer, etc., each morning). I do it in big batches, though -- I use 6 cups of water and 1-1/3 cups ground coffee. This way, it lasts me 4-5 days. You can adjust the strength to your liking.

You'll never have a smoother cup of coffee, IMO.
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  #8  
Old 04-20-2009, 07:33 PM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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Cold brewing sounds like JUST the ticket! I'll give it a try!

And while we're at it, is it possible to freshen beans that have gone stale? Can they be re-roasted? Man the nasty smell that comes off coffee that's gone past it's prime is a bummer. (And I have such a sensitive palate and schnozz that I consider it past prime pretty fast)
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  #9  
Old 04-20-2009, 07:34 PM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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Also, FYI: I'm talking about a sourness, not bitterness. THere's a difference.
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  #10  
Old 04-20-2009, 07:42 PM
Lightray Lightray is offline
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Miracle Fruit?
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  #11  
Old 04-20-2009, 07:42 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is online now
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I find certain coffee is just sour. I think Dunkin' Donuts is terribly sour, even freshly ground, and no matter how much you use. Look for coffee marked "low acid." Trader Joe's low-acid French Roast is a good choice. I find in general French Roast is less likely to taste acidic.
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  #12  
Old 04-20-2009, 08:37 PM
TooSchoolforCool TooSchoolforCool is offline
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Adding a tiny amount of salt to shitty coffee is supposed to magically cut away a lot of the acidity/sourness. Supposedly has no real effect on really good coffee though.
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  #13  
Old 04-20-2009, 09:11 PM
Nicest of the Damned Nicest of the Damned is offline
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I've heard adding egg shells is supposed to help (you add them to the ground coffee in the filter in case that isn't obvious). My limited experiments didn't seem to produce great results but I will toss it in here. Maybe I just wasn't doing it right. Some discussion of the subject here:

http://www.coffeefaq.com/site/node/51
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  #14  
Old 04-20-2009, 09:23 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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Unfortunately I found out the higher the price the less bitter and / or sour it is.

When I worked for a major hotel chain, we had some coffee vendors come in and we did blind taste tests, the coffees that started at $30/lb and up were unbelievable and drinkable without sugar or milk. But who wants to pay that much.

Basically if you use cream and/or sugar, don't worry about cost, 'cause those will pretty much dilute the coffee. So just adjust the sugar or milk content using artifical sweetners or other kinds of creame.

Chances are if you want your coffee to taste like Haagen Daaz coffee ice cream (and who in their right mind wouldn't ) just work with the additions
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  #15  
Old 04-20-2009, 09:26 PM
Jules Andre Jules Andre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoid View Post
Cold brewing sounds like JUST the ticket! I'll give it a try!

And while we're at it, is it possible to freshen beans that have gone stale? Can they be re-roasted? Man the nasty smell that comes off coffee that's gone past it's prime is a bummer. (And I have such a sensitive palate and schnozz that I consider it past prime pretty fast)
Are you talking about whole bean, or ground coffee? If, by chance, you were talking about ground coffee, it's only good for about a week after being ground. Grind whatever you'll use that day, and no more.

I tried cold-brewing coffee one time and found it absolutely terrible. It tastes pretty much exactly like what you would expect if you brewed Folgers and let it sit in the fridge for a week before drinking it. It was less acidic, so perhaps that's good? I found it tasting rotten. A coworker loved it, but she's a fan of week old Folgers too, so there you go.
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  #16  
Old 04-21-2009, 08:59 AM
mlees mlees is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark Sandwich View Post
Alton Brown has said on his show that people commonly associate strong or "bitter" coffee with using too much coffee, but it actually is caused by people not using enough coffee. He says that if too little coffee is used, the grounds become saturated with water, and instead of dropping just the flavor, they start to extract the bitter acids out of the grounds as well. He recommends 2 tablespoons of grounds for every 6 ounce cup of coffee. These days of Starbucks and travel coffee cups, it seems most people drink coffee in 8 or 10oz servings at a time, and if you're not familiar with measuring your grounds out, you're going to be startled on how much coffee this method uses for say, an 8 cup pot of Joe.

BTW - AB also says that the French press is one of the best way to make the ultimate cup of coffee.
The problem I have with measuring out so much coffee is that the filter basket will become backed up (as the water cannot drain fast enough through so much coffee), and it overflows, making a mess.
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  #17  
Old 04-21-2009, 09:14 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stargazer View Post
This is what I came in here to suggest. I use the same ratio as above, but I don't dilute it with water afterward (I doctor my coffee with milk and flavored creamer, etc., each morning). I do it in big batches, though -- I use 6 cups of water and 1-1/3 cups ground coffee. This way, it lasts me 4-5 days. You can adjust the strength to your liking.

You'll never have a smoother cup of coffee, IMO.
Ah, more converts. Cold-brewed is all we drink. We make enough for several days and drink it iced. I can't imagine going back to hot-brewed.
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  #18  
Old 04-21-2009, 09:19 AM
stargazer stargazer is offline
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Ah, more converts. Cold-brewed is all we drink. We make enough for several days and drink it iced. I can't imagine going back to hot-brewed.
Same here, even in winter, for the last couple of years now. My husband works at Starbucks*, so he drinks hot coffee drinks at work, but at home it's all cold-brewed. He likes his a lot stronger than I do, though!

*this is very convenient for our coffee habit, because he gets a pound of coffee free every week!
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  #19  
Old 04-21-2009, 09:23 AM
Beadalin Beadalin is offline
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Just a wee little dab of vanilla extract helps when you're in a hurry.

I keep intending to try cold brewing, so thanks for the reminder!
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  #20  
Old 04-21-2009, 10:53 AM
tdn tdn is offline
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Originally Posted by Hello Again View Post
I find certain coffee is just sour. I think Dunkin' Donuts is terribly sour, even freshly ground, and no matter how much you use. Look for coffee marked "low acid." Trader Joe's low-acid French Roast is a good choice. I find in general French Roast is less likely to taste acidic.
My results have been -- well, not quite opposite.

The flavor profile that I like is round, nutty, and mellow, if that makes any sense. I bought a bag of preground at DD and it was amazing. Exactly what I was looking for. Then I bought three separate types at TJ's and none of them had the flavor I wanted. I was sorely disappointed. The other day I went back to DD, and bought a bagfull of bitter.

These are all decaf, but I've tried a number of caf types from both places and found them to be disappointing as well.
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  #21  
Old 04-21-2009, 11:18 AM
Wile E Wile E is offline
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Filtering with a paper filter, not metal, is supposed to help remove certain oils that add bitterness as well as increase your cholesterol. When you cold brew you can filter through a paper filter on your second filtering, it takes too long to try to filter through the paper filter when you still have a lot of coffee grounds. Well, that's a lot of "filter" in one sentence.
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  #22  
Old 04-21-2009, 11:31 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Originally Posted by stargazer View Post
Same here, even in winter, for the last couple of years now. My husband works at Starbucks*, so he drinks hot coffee drinks at work, but at home it's all cold-brewed. He likes his a lot stronger than I do, though!

*this is very convenient for our coffee habit, because he gets a pound of coffee free every week!
We make it strong, but drink it with half & half and sweetener, so it's more like a coffee candy bar, I guess. I've found that I don't care for dark roast made this way (espresso only, for me), but medium roast is the bomb. We get an extraordinary pinon roast from a niece in New Mexico, and grind it coarse (as for French press). I generally use about 1-1/3 cups of grounds for about 8 cups (64 oz) of water, which is just about right for coffee:water ratio. It sits on the counter overnight, and I stir it occasionally, if I think of it.

Last edited by Chefguy; 04-21-2009 at 11:31 AM..
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  #23  
Old 04-21-2009, 11:49 AM
TooSchoolforCool TooSchoolforCool is offline
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I assume most people already know this, but just in case, using filtered water (i.e. from a Brita) makes a huge difference over just using tap water.
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  #24  
Old 04-21-2009, 01:49 PM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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Well, I'm slurping some strong cold brew as I write this and I'm a convert!

Next thing to do is try it with a paper filter, I'm just french pressing it today.

The other thing I did was grind my beans VERY fine, to release as much coffee as possible. Seems to have worked, the same amount of coffee superfine cold brew seems stronger than coarser grind hot.

Last edited by Stoid; 04-21-2009 at 01:50 PM..
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  #25  
Old 04-21-2009, 05:29 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoid View Post
Well, I'm slurping some strong cold brew as I write this and I'm a convert!

Next thing to do is try it with a paper filter, I'm just french pressing it today.

The other thing I did was grind my beans VERY fine, to release as much coffee as possible. Seems to have worked, the same amount of coffee superfine cold brew seems stronger than coarser grind hot.
Only problem with fine grind is that you get a lot of suspended solids in your coffee (you can really see them if you add milk) and you'll end up with more "mud" at the bottom of the batch. Perhaps a filter will cure the problem for you.
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  #26  
Old 04-21-2009, 07:15 PM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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I used some cheesecloth for my second cup, caught it all.

Delish!
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  #27  
Old 04-21-2009, 09:09 PM
Uncle Brother Walker Uncle Brother Walker is offline
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Stop drinking coffee.


Seriously, drink tea instead. You don't have to put all that crap in it, and, depending on which brand/blend you choose, you can get a boatload of caffeine as well.

Less crap = less fattening. And less sour.

Oh, and it doesn't stink, either. So there.
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  #28  
Old 04-30-2009, 08:24 AM
tarragon918 tarragon918 is offline
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Thanks to this thread, I am enjoying my coffee again! The tip that worked for me was using more ground coffee per cup. A little background here: I used to like the darker, more full-bodied blends, but lately they'd just been tasting rather nasty to me. I wondered, after reading this thread, if it might not have been an acidic after taste, and saw that several posters suggested adding a bit more ground coffee when making coffee. Lo and behold, that must have been it! Now mind you, I'm not rushing out to try the latest Starbucks (which still tastes nasty to me! LOL) but it really has made a difference in my enjoyment of my morning cuppa java.

So thank you so much!
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