Toby’s Estate explores the art of acidity in coffee

Toby’s Estate

Toby’s Estate prepares to indulge in the complexity of coffee as inhouse Coffee Trainer Linda Maksic explores the art of acidity in coffee.

For those looking to immerse themselves in a vibrant atmosphere where coffee lovers gather to celebrate the unique flavours that acidity brings to the cup, look no further than Toby’s Estate’s Acid Experience. The Sydney-based roaster is providing a platform to discover the nuances and complexities of acidity through interactive tastings, expert-led sessions, and stimulating discussions.

“Toby’s Estate’s sensory events are designed to educate baristas and the coffee keen public in a fun and engaging environment. I think it’s a digestible way to introduce to people why coffee is so unique and complex,” says Toby’s Estate Coffee Trainer Linda Maksic.

“Whether you’re a coffee pro or simply curious about the world of specialty coffee, these events offer a fantastic opportunity to expand your knowledge and challenge your palate. Attendees can connect with fellow coffee enthusiasts, exchange stories, hopefully learn something new, and uncover the secrets behind Toby’s Estate’s exceptional brews.”

Linda held an Acid Experience session on 21 June at Small Change Espresso in Queensland and says the response from attendees was “super positive and very rewarding”.

“I’m really appreciative of the baristas that take the time out of their busy day and choose to spend their downtime with us, so I want to make the sessions as valuable as possible for them,” she says.

“I love the way we train at Toby’s; the curriculum is simple and structured to improve all levels. We have a wealth of knowledge about the specialty coffee industry and the products we produce. What’s really cool about these sessions is that they simplify a complicated topic.”

The Acid Experience focuses on four main types of acidity: citric, malic, phosphoric, and acetic.


Can be described as bright, vibrant, and zesty. This refers to any kind of citrus like acidity that maybe present in the coffee. When we experience citric acid in coffee we are referring to fruits like lemons, limes, oranges and mandarins or grapefruit. Each citrus fruit can be differentiated, and so there can be different expressions of citric acidity. For example, oranges are juicer then lemons, limes are tangy, lemons can be sour and dry.


Unlike citric acid, malic acidity is less as intense initially and is more rounded then citric. When malic acidity is present in coffee, it’s often referred to fruits like apples, plums and peaches and other types of stone fruits. Just like fruits you can have different expressions of malic acid, such as red apples being sweeter and juicer then green, green apples can be crisp, a ripe peach verse a underripe peach all have different expressions of malic acidity.


According to Linda, once you’ve experienced this, you’ll never forget it. Acetic can be described as sharp and intense. It’s what we experience when we taste vinegar, tabasco and even balsamic. This can be both pleasant and unpleasant in coffee. Can be great to promote fruitier flavours or can be more like a vinegary cup of joe.


This is where acidity starts to become complex. Phosphoric can impact the texture and mouthfeel of coffee. When we experience phosphoric it can be like the same texture experience as soft drink, cola and even tonic, it’s a little fizzy yet soft at the same time.

“Each time both [Toby’s Estate Coffee Trainer Michael Rast] and I host this workshop, we find it very enjoyable and love hearing feedback on how interesting the workshop was for people. People, myself included, walk away understanding more about what they like and why they like certain types of coffee, love seeing people connect the dots of their learnings, and for us at Toby’s we get to understand our wholesale customers and consumers more, which is very rewarding,” Linda says.

Toby’s Estate believes acidity is one of the most important attributes when it comes to assessing quality in coffee. Linda says it’s important to the roaster to hold these events to help break down “one of the most complex beverages in the world” and bring some clarity to the definition of the different acids.

“As complex as coffee is we believe a huge contributing factor to that complexity is acidity and from a sensory experience acidity is one of the most important components in coffee. For us at Toby’s, we put a huge emphasis on acidity when assessing coffee and is one the main four characteristics we believe is important in the overall coffee drinking experience,” she says.

“Hosting events like this keeps us engaged and on our toes. We love creating workshops, events, and training that promote engagement and encouragement for people at all levels in their coffee journey.”

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This article appears in the October 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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