Light roast coffee is definitely the new thing. Anyone who has ever tried one might have realized an explosion of fruity notes in your mouth, or maybe a crazy, crisp acidity. So where exactly are these flavors coming from?
Let’s start with the facts. The beans that we roast, grind up and drink are actually the seeds of a cherry, as coffee comes from a fruit!
Once the cherries turn from green to a beautiful, deep red, this means they are ripe and ready to get picked. Picking the cherries when they're fully ripe is extremely important to develop the naturally sweet fruit sugars just like any other fruit. It also develops higher levels of organic and chlorogenic acids which also effects the beans inside. The best coffees also grow in high altitudes with mineral rich soils.
Acidity can come from a high elevation coffees that are carefully picked and processed, and is actually linked to the fruit sugars and high quality, even though the taste is striking because of the fruit sugars when you first try it.
Maybe next time you have a coffee and you taste some acidity, try to concentrate on where in your mouth you feel the acidic taste. If where you feel is on your tongue and/or the inside of your cheeks, you are tasting the acidity of the fruit sugars that had the chance to develop on the plant.
However, if the taste you're feeling gets stuck in your throat and lingers, what you are tasting is bitter coffee (not good). That coffee did not have enough time to develop enough sugars on the tree and may have been picked before it was ripe. The only way to hide those problems would be to roast the beans very dark, as during roasting the sugars caramelize and the coffee gets sweeter. That being said the fruity notes burn out the darker the coffee is. So even though your coffee might not taste acidic any more, it may just be low quality in the first place.
After understanding what exactly acidity in coffee can bring to a cup, we can all truly start to appreciate the lively characteristics in certain coffees and understand that quality definitely plays a factor!