Why Is Hipster Coffee Sour?

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If you are looking for a hipster coffee shop serving high-quality and unique coffees in your town, you want to read this! The taste of the trendy coffee everyone is talking about might surprise you first, it might come across as sour to most coffee lovers. But why is hipster coffee sour?

Hipster coffee is sour because of the selection of beans and the roasting process. Third-generation coffee shops lightly roast their coffee beans to achieve premium coffee flavor.

Hipster coffee is not made with dark-roasted coffee beans. Both coffee roasters and hipster coffee drinkers associate sour taste with premium third-wave coffee, which has fueled this specialty trend.

Why Is Hipster Coffee Sour?

Before we get into the details, let’s uncover what hipster coffee is. This will be helpful even if you have already come across and visited hipster coffee shops in your town.

What Is Hipster Coffee?

49th parallel coffee roaster ethiopia beriti

You can think of Hipster coffee as a java drink that is not conventional or mainstream and is part of the latest third wave of coffee.

If a local coffee shop offers a unique style of coffee that is somewhat different from Dunkin’ or Starbucks, then it might be a hipster coffee shop. The hipster coffee at these specialty stores has a bright flavor with distinct floral notes. You will most likely find it sour when you take the first sip due to its preparation.

Not all hipster coffees are sour, though. Many specialty coffees taste great without a hint of sourness, and sometimes, even regular coffee can be sour. This sourness is mainly due to inadequate extraction and poor preparation of the coffee. This is poorly brewed coffee, which you should never drink.

You can compare the acidity of a hipster coffee with that of a regular coffee. The former is supposed to taste like it, but the latter is undesirable and often not good for the taste buds. As far as coffee goes, we’ve seen three waves of coffee. Each wave has brought something unique to coffee lovers.

Hipster coffee shops are part of the third wave of the coffee phenomenon. The third wave of coffee is so big that you can find these shops in virtually every town and major location.

Although third-wave coffee is a big deal, the debate over coffee acidity is still ongoing. Traditional coffee drinkers are not fans of this coffee. Although the number of those who love this coffee is growing every day, we still haven’t answered the question.

What Makes Hipster Coffee Sour?

The Coffee Roast

Light roasted coffee beans

We’ve already mentioned that hipster coffee shops like to roast their coffee beans lightly. A lightly roasted and ground coffee bean has a more complex flavor because it retains much of the acids found in the coffee bean.

Coffee beans contain chlorogenic acid, citric acid, lactic acid, phosphoric acid, etc. Lightly roasted coffee beans retain many of these acids in the beans, resulting in a complex flavor profile. Anything below medium roast can be considered a light roast. The light roast of the coffee beans is why your coffee has an acidic note.

Each coffee house uses different methods to find the right light roast level for its coffee beans. For some, the light roast is slightly below medium, while it is well below medium roast for others.

Many specialized roasters would discard anything roasted at medium or above. From this, we can conclude that lightly roasted coffee beans are one of the main reasons for the sour taste of your coffee.


The support that hipster coffee receives from its consumers is enormous. For every coffee lover who hates the idea of bitter coffee, there’s one who can’t end their day without trying their local artisanal coffee with a touch of acidity.

This consumer demand has led to the trend of acidic coffees continuing to grow. This trend is only getting stronger and won’t be losing steam anytime soon.

The Coffee Shops

Every specialty coffee shop takes pride in the coffee it serves.

If acidity is associated with a top-notch coffee, these coffee makers want their coffee to taste just as good. Coffee has other complex flavors besides acidity, but often people love or hate their coffee because of the acidity.

Some places even go so far as to serve under-extracted coffee. This usually doesn’t work well because lightly extracted coffee is not of the best quality by any imagination.

Only a few specialty coffee shops know that a top-quality coffee doesn’t have to be bitter. They choose to add acidity to the coffee of their own free will and not because of peer pressure.

Premium Branding

Any coffee with a premium label will have some acidity. That’s because acidity is desired and often expected in premium coffees. Most high-end coffee shops will offer you a hipster version of sour coffee. Many elements in coffee contribute to that sour taste and rich aroma.

If you have ever tried green coffee, you will know that the acidity is very high and can create a sour taste. Those who like to drink green coffee like it because of this flavor profile, which favors the preparation of green coffee.

Other factors

In addition to these factors, other factors contribute to the sour taste of your local coffee.

Some random factors can be under extraction of the coffee, incorrect water temperature, or inappropriate coffee to water ratio.

Why Is Hipster Coffee So Popular

Hipster coffee is trendy, and it’s here to stay. If you’re looking for a new type of coffee, it’s not a bad idea to try a local specialty coffee.

Local coffee shops specializing in hipster coffee take care of every step of the coffee brewing. From roasting the beans to the brewing process, they’ve mastered every aspect. One of the main reasons people love hipster coffee is that each coffee is different and has a unique flavor profile.

One specialty coffee shop may serve you a premium sour coffee, while another may offer a completely different coffee drink made from the same beans with no sourness. For some reason, people have associated sour with premium. This reason has also led coffee manufacturers to make their coffee more bitter, which is a big trend.

You have to realize that a time when you drink sour specialty coffee makes the dark roasts taste pretty bad. If you’re a fan of dark roast coffee, it seems to have a softness to it.

Hipster Coffee vs Regular Coffee

Comparing hipster coffee to regular coffee will give you a good idea of how acidic hipster coffee can be. Regular coffee is not sour if it is made well. Regular coffee becomes sour when too few roasted beans are used, or the coffee is under-extracted.

While under roasted coffee beans are preferable, under extracting coffee is a mistake you should not repeat. So let’s talk about hipster coffee. The sour taste of hipster coffee is intentional. The acidity of their coffee is relatively high because the coffee beans are only lightly roasted depending on the coffee roaster.

If you compare a regular coffee to a hipster coffee, you’ll notice that the latter is overly acidic. You may even wonder what this nasty drink is all about.

But as with black coffee, most hipster coffees and their sour notes are a matter of taste. You have to crave the sour taste to enjoy them. There’s nothing wrong with preferring one coffee over another. But we should agree that there is no right or wrong coffee, only different preferences.

How Can You Avoid Making Sour Coffee

French press coffee maker
Image Credit: Microgen, Shutterstock

If you don’t fancy sour hipster coffee and want to tone down the sourness, we have some tips that will help you lower your coffee’s acidity.

Use Darker Coffee Beans

Medium roasted coffee beans on a table

If you do this, you can likely avoid sour-tasting coffee. Don’t choose lightly roasted coffee beans and go with a medium or a dark roast instead.

These two roasts extract most of the acidity from the coffee beans, so they make a less bitter coffee when they are perfectly extracted.

Medium roasted coffee beans are ideal for pour-over coffee, drip coffee, and other brewing methods. Darker roasts are great for Moka Pot, Espresso Machine, Cold Brewing, French press, and other methods.

Brewing Process and Extraction

The best way to avoid acidity in your coffee is to avoid under-extraction.

Brew your coffee beans (medium or dark roast) for the right amount of time. Do not stop the brewing process before it is finished. This can lead to the sour taste you despise.

It is also important not to delay the brewing process longer than necessary. This could lead to over-extraction and make your coffee bitter.

Extraction time is different for each brewing method, so make sure you extract your coffee correctly.

Add Milk or Cream

You can add additives like hot milk or cream to your coffee to offset the acidity of the coffee. You could also use delicious vegan milk such as oat milk.

Sugar can also be added to reduce the sour notes of the coffee drink. Some people love to add cocoa to enhance the flavor of the coffee.

Water Temperature

Espresso machine brewing a double espresso

Water temperature plays an important role in coffee extraction. If the water is not hot enough, the coffee will not be extracted sufficiently and will taste sour.

The water temperature needs to be between 195 and 205 degrees for extraction. If you think that the water is not hot enough, heat it more and be sure to extract the coffee grounds as much as possible.

Coffee to Water Ratio

The ratio of coffee to water needs to be perfect for the brewing technique you choose. When extracting your coffee, your coffee has most likely gone sour if you have more water.

If you add more water, you can compensate by adding more coffee to the mix. The finished extract will taste much better and not be sour. Any java lover will agree that a weak coffee is worse than a bitter coffee. So it would help if you had perfect the ratio of coffee to water.

Bottom Line On Why Is Hipster Coffee Sour

There you have it! Hipster coffee is sour, floral, and fruity tasting and a popular choice that can make it a great addition to any coffee shop.

Lighter roasts have their merits, and these can give you more delicate floral notes and a very different coffee experience compared to medium-roasted and dark-roasted coffee drinks.