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This question is difficult to google because of the overwhelming amount of people looking for less acidic coffee, but...

My (very cheap) 4-cup Cuisinart drip-style coffee maker (like the kind you'd find in a hotel) fits the bill for me in most ways: size, ease of use and cleanup, simplicity. I've had more involved ways of making coffee in my life and noticed the joy slip away when I have to work for 30 minutes just to have a nice hot cup before my brain is even awake enough to know the difference.

I only buy light and medium roast single-origin coffees from regions like Guatemala and Ethiopia because they seem to correspond to brighter (read: more acidic) and more fruity flavors, and I grind it myself, albeit with a blade grinder, so I'm fairly certain the beans aren't to blame. Also use a 1:17 by weight ratio of coffee to tap water.

I'm interested to know why the coffee I'm making is so muted compared to the other extraction methods I'm used to (pour over, Aeropress, french press). The cup that comes out of this machine is the opposite of bright and citrusy; more like muddy. It's not terrible, but if I add a pinch of citric acid, it certainly brightens up (though there's no accompanying fruity/citrusy smell).

Is it my grinder, extraction method, or coffee maker? Or maybe something else?

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  • "My coffee isn't acidic enough?" You do realize that you have come to a place dedicated to helping people make the best coffee possible (less acidic or rather well balanced) and asked how to make crappy coffee. This begs the question: Have you ever had a really GOOD cup of coffee? Perhaps your definition of ACIDIC is different ? What about "acidity" in coffee do think is desirable?
    – Alaska Man
    Dec 28 '20 at 18:15
  • Hmm, maybe my use of acidic means "too acidic" to you? For example, orange juice is both acidic AND desirable. I expect a good cup to have a pleasantly tangy, juicy (both synonyms for acidic in this case), yet rich flavor, reminiscent of dark chocolate. There's nothing wrong with acidity, unless there is too little or too much! Dec 28 '20 at 21:20
  • All the brewing methods mentioned on the OP should use a different grind setting than a drip maker. You also didn't mention what filters you use in your various brewing methods. A third variable here is water temperature, which you control with manual methods but don't with the new brewer. All that said, one thing you should know is that the manual brew methods you've mentioned are universally regarded as "better" than drip in terms of the coffee they produce. Just some things to think about here.
    – R Mac
    Dec 29 '20 at 17:50
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When brewing with 'batch' brew methods, you will always lose some of the nuance and clarity. And the quality of batch brewing machines mostly comes down to the heating element. The best ones I have personally used in cafes and at home is the Technivorm Moccamaster. However if you want to keep using your current machine there are few things you can keep in mind. My first thought is that your quality of grind may produce a lot of fines, leading to a muddy grind even at a coarser setting, however for a batch brew you can go finer than french press. There are also several kinds of acidity that can be present in coffee (chlorogenic, quinic, citric, acetic, lactic, malic, phosphoric, linoleic, and palmitic). It may be you're missing the more lemony or berry notes, which will be easier to taste if it's a natural processed coffee or a variation of honey processed over a fully washed. It could also be age. If a coffee is too fresh, a lot of the flavors get muddled together. If it's too old, the flavor is dry and papery. I personally wait a full week after the roast date before brewing anything. And I recommend only buying coffee that has a roast date on the bag. Hope that helps.

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To add to cabmeurer's answer, I think a big reason for the lower levels of acidity in your drip coffee when compared with other methods (pour-over, Aeropress, etc.) comes down to temperature. This post shows the results of sticking a temperature probe below the shower screen in a Cuisinart drip coffee machine similar to the one you have: when the water tank is filled with cold (15°C) tap water, the resulting brew is made with water that is 88°C or colder. Meanwhile, the brew temperature of a pour-over or Aeropress made with water fresh off the boil will be much higher, closer to 95°C. Brewing at higher temperatures might be what allows you to get more of the acidity you desire.

Luckily, that same post shows that using hot (45°C) tap water to fill the water tank of the drip machine can help to increase its brewing temperature. With cold water in the tank, it takes a full 6 minutes for the water leaving the shower screen to reach 88°C; with hot tap water instead it takes just 1 minute, and the brew temperature eventually reaches 95°C. Still maybe not as hot as other brewing methods, but perhaps an improvement on what you've got at the moment. Good luck!

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