Why Is My Espresso Too Acidic?

Something has definitely gone wrong when you find your espresso sour. It’s just too acidic at this point. But is there any way to fix it?

What do you fix espresso too acidic?

You should adjust your grind size to slightly a coarser size to have less acidity in your espresso. Adjust the brewing temperature to slightly higher to keep it from getting acidic. Make sure that the espresso is not overextracting. Using a darker roast or a blend of coffee beans can help as they have lower acidity. 

This just goes over the cause of acidity in your espresso. More details on the effects and countermeasures can be found right in this article. 

What Does Acidic Espresso Taste Like

Acidic espresso has a distinct flavor that is characterized by sharp acidity and tangy taste. It can be described as having citrusy or fruity notes, which are enhanced by the concentrated nature of the espresso.

What Does Acidic Espresso Taste Like
Source: totalcoffeebase.com

Some people compare the taste of acidic espresso to the zing feeling you get in your mouth when you eat a lemon. This sharp, tangy sensation can be a desirable trait in espresso. That is  when it is balanced with other flavor elements such as sweetness and bitterness.

In comparison to normal espresso, acidic espresso has a sharper and more pronounced tangy flavor. While normal espresso may have some acidity, it is usually balanced with other flavors such as bitterness and sweetness. 

In contrast, acidic espresso puts more emphasis on its fruity and citrusy notes, with acidity being the dominant flavor element. Some people enjoy acidic espresso for its vibrant and refreshing taste. Meanwhile, others may prefer the more balanced taste of normal espresso.

Why is My Espresso Too Acidic 

Your espresso might be acidic due to these reasons: 


Over-extraction can make espresso too acidic.

The water dissolves both desirable and undesirable compounds from the coffee grounds during the brewing process. When the coffee is over-extracted, it leads to an increased extraction of unwanted acidic compounds. And that causes the espresso to taste overly sour and unpleasant.

During the brewing process, water extracts a range of compounds, including acids. When the coffee is brewed for too long, the coffee grounds are in contact with the water for an extended period. As a result, the water extracts more compounds, including acids, that contribute to the sourness and unpleasant taste of the espresso.


When coffee is under-extracted, it means that not enough desirable compounds, including acidity, were extracted from the coffee grounds. 

This can happen if the water is not in contact with the coffee for long enough. Or if the water temperature is too low. As a result, the espresso can taste sour and lack the balanced flavor profile that a well-extracted espresso should have.

Grind Size:

Grind size can make espressos too acidic when it is too fine. When the coffee is ground too fine, it increases the surface area of the coffee particles. 

As we discussed earlier, when the water comes into contact with the coffee, it dissolves both desirable and undesirable compounds. That includes acids. 

A finer grind size leads to more extraction of these compounds, resulting in an overly acidic and unpleasant taste in the espresso.

Roast Level:

The roasting process plays a crucial role in developing the flavor profile of coffee. And it also affects the acidity level. 

During the roasting process, the heat breaks down the chlorogenic acids found in coffee beans. It does so in roughly equal quantities of caffein and quinic acids.

Lighter roasts retain more of the natural acids found in coffee beans, resulting in higher acidity levels. Lighter roasts are roasted for a shorter period of time. Hence the chlorogenic acids in the coffee beans are not fully broken down, leading to higher acidity levels in the coffee. 

Brewing Time:

The brewing time plays a critical role in the extraction process, and the longer the brewing time, the more coffee is extracted. This increased extraction means that more acidic compounds are extracted from the coffee. This results in a higher acidity level in the espresso.

As we have already discussed, how over-extraction of coffee results in increased extraction of unwanted acidic compounds. 

Water Temperature: 

As mentioned before, water temperature plays affects the brewing and extraction process.  Therefore, controlling the water temperature is crucial in achieving the desired taste profile of espresso.

The temperature of the water used in making espressos directly affects the extraction of the coffee, including the acidic compounds. Lower water temperature slows down the extraction process. This results in lower extraction of desirable compounds and higher extraction of unwanted acidic compounds. 

In contrast, higher water temperature speeds up the extraction process, leading to more extraction of both desirable and undesirable compounds.

Why Are Espressos Acidic? 

Since espresso can be made with any kind of coffee, the acidity in espresso will vary depending on the roast. Lighter roasts are more acidic since darker roasts tend to hide the bean’s natural acidity.

But espresso shots are generally more acidic than regular coffee due to the concentrated nature of the drink. Espresso shots are made by forcing hot water through a compacted puck of finely ground coffee at high pressure. 

It results in a highly concentrated and intense flavor profile. This high-pressure extraction process can lead to a higher concentration of acids in the final product.

So what about espresso acidity vs coffee? In comparison, regular coffee is typically brewed with a longer contact time between water and coffee grounds. Thus making a lower concentration of acids. Additionally, the brewing method used for regular coffee is typically less intense than the high-pressure extraction used in espresso.

Why Are Espressos Acidic
Source: coffeeatdawn.co

There is also cold brew vs espresso acidity. Cold brew is generally less acidic than espresso or regular coffee. This is because cold brew is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period of time, usually 12 to 24 hours. The slow extraction process of cold brew results in a lower concentration of acids and a smoother, less acidic taste.

Here’s a coffee acidity chart to give you an idea

Coffee Acidity(ph)
Costa Rica Light 4.90
Costa Rica Dark 4.90
Kenya Light 4.90
Iced Coffee 5.23
Kenya Dark  5.30
Cold Brew 5.42
Coffee with 2% Milk 6.20

How To Make Espresso Less Acidic

Making your espresso less acidic has to be done via a culmination of different techniques. 

Choosing The Right Recipe: 

Different espresso recipes have varying levels of acidity. For instance, a ristretto shot, which has a shorter extraction time, tends to be less acidic. And a lungo shot, which is extracted for a longer time. 

Choosing the right recipe that suits your taste can help reduce the acidity of your espresso. Even pouring the espresso before the milk can affect the acidity, so follow the correct recipe. 

Choosing The Right Beans: 

The type of coffee beans used in making espresso can also affect its acidity. Arabica beans tend to be less acidic than Robusta beans. Additionally, choosing beans that are grown at lower altitudes and have a milder flavor can also help reduce acidity.

How many coffee beans you put in the espresso also has importance. Different types of beans need to be added in different amounts.

Here is a table showing the acidity level of different beans:

Low Acidic Beans

Medium Acidic Beans

High Acidic Beans

  • Brazilian beans
  • Sumatran beans
  • Guatemalan beans
  • Nicaraguan beans
  • Colombian beans
  • Costa Rican beans
  • Kenyan beans
  • Ethiopian beans
  • Tanzanian beans
  • Yemeni beans
  • Rwandan beans
  • Papua New Guinean beans

Choosing The Right Grind: 

The correct grind size reduces espresso acidity. Espresso requires delicate, consistent grinding. A coarse ground under-extracts, giving a sour and acidic taste. Meanwhile, a fine grind over-extracts, producing a bitter and burnt taste.

A high-quality burr grinder lets you precisely adjust the grind size to get the right grind. Burr grinders consistently ground coffee beans to the precise espresso grind size.

The grind size depends on the beans, roast level, and brewing process. Thus, you must try different grind sizes until you discover one that makes a balanced, smooth espresso.

So having a good coffee maker is really important. If you’re new into coffee making, then there are plenty of good coffee makers for students

As previously mentioned, grind size affects extraction, which affects espresso acidity. Fine grinding extracts more unwanted chemicals, making the flavor more acidic. Thus, the appropriate grind size makes espresso less acidic and more pleasurable.

Correcting The Brewing Time:

As discussed earlier, brewing time can have a significant impact on the acidity of your espresso. Over brewing your espresso can result in a sour and acidic taste. On the other hand, under-brewing can result in a flat and weak flavor.

To ensure the proper brewing time, it is essential to invest in a quality espresso machine. The machine should be able to accurately control the brewing process. This will allow you to adjust the brewing time and ensure a consistent and optimal flavor.

Additionally, it is essential to monitor the brewing time when making espresso manually. Typically, a brewing time of 25-30 seconds is recommended for a standard shot of espresso.

If you find your espresso to be too acidic, try reducing the brewing time by a few seconds and see if that makes a difference.

Using a Coffee Filter:

Using a coffee filter can help reduce the acidity of espresso by removing some of the unwanted compounds that contribute to acidity.

Adjusting The Roast Level:

The roast level of the coffee beans can also affect the acidity of the espresso. Darker roasts tend to have less acidity than lighter roasts. That is because the roasting process breaks down the acids in the beans. 

Therefore, adjusting the roast level to a darker roast can help reduce acidity.

Maintaining The Water Temperature: 

As previously mentioned, the water temperature used in brewing espresso can also affect its acidity. Using water that is too hot can result in over-extraction, leading to increased acidity. 

On the other hand, using water that is too cold can result in under-extraction. This can also make the espresso more acidic. Maintaining the water temperature within the optimal range can help reduce acidity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is espresso high in acidity?

Espresso is not typically considered high in acidity compared to regular coffee, but its acidity level can vary depending on factors such as bean type, brewing method, and roast level.

Is Espresso less acidic than coffee?

Espresso is generally less acidic than regular coffee due to a shorter brewing time, higher brewing pressure, and darker roast. However, acidity levels can still vary depending on factors such as bean type, brewing method, and roast level.

Which is healthier coffee or espresso?

Both coffee and espresso can have health benefits in moderation, such as improved cognitive function and decreased risk of some diseases. The healthiness of either drink depends on factors such as preparation method and additives, as well as individual tolerance to caffeine.


And with that we know so much more about your espresso too acidic. Now you know what’s causing the acidity, and how you can control it. 

Hopefully, your coffee tastes better than ever now. Good luck!