Two billion cups of coffee are consumed every single day! This beloved drink has many features that should be considered when choosing which type to brew. One popular question that comes up often is if coffee is acidic? The short answer to this question is yes, coffee is considered an acidic drink but that is not necessarily a bad thing!
Today, Cozy will explain what is meant when coffee is called an acidic drink, what acids are in coffee as well as some options to lower the acid in your brew. Read on to learn more!
In the market for a low acid coffee? Try Lucy Jo’s Organic Low Acid Dark Roast.
- 1 Acidity In Coffee
- 2 What Causes Coffee to be Acidic?
- 3 Acidity in Coffee versus Tea
- 4 Decaf And Acidity of Coffee
- 5 What does Brightness of a Coffee Mean?
- 6 Tips for Brewing Less Acidic Coffee
- 7 What Kind Of Acid is in Coffee?
- 8 Low Acid Coffee Options
- 9 Cozy’s Conclusion
Acidity In Coffee
What does Acidity Mean?
Acidity is defined as the level of acid in a substance. It is measured based on the pH scale which defines how acidic a solution is on a scale from 0 to 14. Anything that is registered from a 0 to 7 on the scale is considered acidic. Anything that is 7 to 14 on the scale is considered basic.
Basic substances often have a bitter taste whereas acidic substances have a tendency towards sour. You will often find acidic coffees described with terms such as “bright citrus notes”. Interestingly, when you mix an acid and base solution together they will neutralize each other.
How much Acid is in Coffee?
Typically, coffee averages a pH value of 4.85 to 5.10 placing it square in the acidic category. During the coffee brewing process nine acids are released that contribute to the drinks overall flavor profile.
What Causes Coffee to be Acidic?
There are several factors that determine a coffee’s acidity level, specifically the origin of where the coffee is grown, roasting duration, brewing method and size of the ground coffee.
Origin of Coffee
Each location that coffee beans are grown in has a specific soil type that will produce a certain amount of acid in the bean itself. Examples of this appear in coffee blends from higher altitudes or volcanic soils.
Coffee bean type also has an impact on the acidity of the coffee. Arabica beans are known for being naturally less acidic whereas its cousin the Robusta bean is more acidic.
The longer and hotter the coffee beans are roasted the lower the acid level in the ground coffee. Because of this you will find dark roasts typically have less acidity than lighter roasts. If you are looking for a low acid roast there are many options available today such as the popular no acid Tyler’s Coffee.
Brewing method also plays a role in a coffee’s acidity. The less heat you use during the brewing process, the less acidic your drink will be.
Cold-brewed coffee is a popular low acid option that typically has significantly less acidity than hot coffee. In comparison, a cold brew coffee will measure around 6 pH in comparison to hot coffee that comes in at around 4 to 5 pH.
Opting for a fine ground can also affect the acidity in your cup. The smaller you grind your coffee the larger volume of coffee will be used during the brewing process which can result in a more acidic cup.
Acidity in Coffee versus Tea
Ever wonder how much acidity is in coffee versus a cup of tea? This comparison can sometimes be hard to make simply because the acidity of tea will depend on the type of tea you are drinking.
For a comparison point, coffee tends to have the same acidity of many black teas which fall around a 5 on the pH scale. Green teas typically are less acidic than coffee falling on the pH scale in the 7 to 10 range. There are also gentler teas such as chamomile which come in about 6 to 7 on the scale.
Acidity of Coffee Compared to Other Popular Foods
Interestingly, coffee shares a pH with tomatoes, cheese, onions, bananas and bread which all are within the range of 4.5 – 5.5 on the PH scale.
Decaf And Acidity of Coffee
Decaffeinated coffee has close to the same amount of acidity as caffeinated coffee. Something that is good to be aware of is that higher caffeine coffees can have similar effects on the body as higher acid brews. Those who are sensitive to acid should consider drinking a half-caffeine brew such as Stone Street Half Caff Coffee.
What does Brightness of a Coffee Mean?
Using the term acidity to refer to how a coffee tastes can often be confusing because high acidity is often not desirable when it comes to food and beverages.
Acidity in coffee is actually speaking to the coffee bean containing acids that affect the taste of the coffee versus the actual pH level. When a coffee is described as “bright” it is referring to the vibrancy of the brew.
Tips for Brewing Less Acidic Coffee
There are several options you can explore for brewing less acidic coffee, including the following suggestions:
- Opt for Low Acid Coffee Beans
- Brew coffee from lower elevations
- Try Arabica Coffee Beans
- Choose darker roasts
- Pick slow steeped brewing methods such as a French Press
- Invest in lower caffeine blends
- Add milk or cream
- Make it salty
Opt for Low Acid Coffee Beans
There are many low acid coffee beans available on the market. Some low acid coffee beans are naturally created whereas some have compounds added to reduce the acid.
Brew Coffee From Lower Elevations
Coffee that comes from a high altitude location or is grown in volcanic soil is typically more acidic. Almost all coffee producers provide a geographical description of where their coffee originates from. This is an easy way to gauge how acidic a particular roast will be.
Try Arabica Coffee Beans
Arabica coffee beans are typically less acidic than Robusta coffee beans. Opting for an Arabica bean when brewing can be a good way to have a lower acid brew in your cup. As an added bonus, Arabica coffee beans typically result in a tasty, good quality cup of coffee. It’s a win-win!
Choose Darker Roasts
Light and medium roasts are known for being bright, which is another way of noting that a lighter roast will emphasize the acidity of the coffee bean. If you want a less acidic roast your best bet is to opt for a darker roast.
Pick slow steeped brewing methods such as a French Press
A slow-steeped brewing method, such as a French Press, will lower the acidity of your coffee. Steeping ground coffee in cold water can result in coffee that has 60% less acidity than coffee that is brewed with hot water!
The French Press relies on an immersion process to brew the coffee, making it ideal for cold brewing. We highly recommend the Yama Coffee Press if you want to get started with French Press Brewing.
Invest in Lower Caffeine Blends
As mentioned, higher caffeine blends can mimic the side effects of high acid foods. If you are sensitive to acidic foods, it may be worthwhile to invest in a half caffeine or caffeine free blend to ensure you get a coffee that has less acidic effects.
Adding milk or cream to your coffee can help to reduce the acidity in your coffee as dairy will help to balance the pH Level. Just a splash will do the trick!
Make it Salty
Salt can help to neutralize acidity as well as reduce unpleasant side effects such as acid reflux. To use this trick on your cup of coffee you will want to add about ¼ teaspoon of salt to every 6 tablespoons of coffee before you brew.
What Kind Of Acid is in Coffee?
Before the roasting process, coffee beans contain a large number of different acids. Once roasted, some of the acids are removed and some stick around. There are two main acids found in coffee: Chlorogenic and Quinic.
Chlorogenic acids are naturally occurring and function as antioxidants. These acids break down during the roasting process which is why the dark the roast, the lower level of chlorogenic acid there will be. Most lighter roasts have a pronounced acidity in their flavor as result.
Wonder what the breakdown of Chlorogenic acids break down into? If you guessed Quinic Acids you would be right! Quinic acids affect the astringency of the coffee, and can cause that “sour tummy” feeling when drinking coffee. To avoid that feeling you should opt for a light or medium roast coffee.
Low Acid Coffee Options
Treated vs Natural
Reducing the acid in coffee starts with the preparation of the coffee bean. There are several methods that can help to reduce acid such as roasting beans slowly or steaming beans which eliminates their waxy coating and the resulting acidity.
Darker roasts have a lesser amount of chlorogenic acids and higher quinic acid levels while light roasts are the exact opposite. Medium roasts tend to have the most balanced acidity of all coffee options.
Natural factors such as the soil and altitude can result in a coffee bean that is naturally or inadvertently low in acid. Coffee that is naturally low in acid does not need any additional processing to ensure its final state will be lower in acid.
Regions such as Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Sumatra and Guatemala that are known for producing naturally low acid coffee beans.
Although coffee is considered an acidic drink, this does not always mean that is a bad thing. Acidity in coffee can refer to both the pH level of the coffee bean as well as the bright taste that enhances the coffee you are drinking. How acidic a coffee is, is dependent on a lot of factors including origin of the coffee bean to how it is roasted and brewed.
For those who prefer less acidic coffee you will want to go with a dark roast as the longer coffee beans are roasted the lower the acid level will be. Opting for a naturally less acidic coffee bean such as Arabica is a good way to reduce the acid in your cup.
There are also many at home remedies that can be used to decrease the level of acid in your coffee. Popular options include picking slow steeping brewing options, adding dairy to your coffee and even throwing in a pinch of salt into your ground coffee before brewing.
Regardless of what acidity you decide is right for you,we hope you enjoy a cup sometime soon! Cheers!