Is Coffee Acidic? A Valid Question for Coffee Lovers

Last Update: March 26, 2021
Drinking coffee is popular, but it can also have some effects on the body, but is coffee acidic? Read about coffee acidity and what you can do about it.

With your colleagues, you pull out a chair in your favorite coffee shop and order a cup of coffee. Your work has been terrible. There are a lot of documents that you have to finish. You are stressed out! You need energy, and you have been relying on your coffee maker for an extended time.

Before, you used to drink the brew only during the mornings. But as of late, you have been chugging coffees regularly. Worse, you have been experiencing reflux and tummy aches. Yet, midway into sipping your favorite blend, you hesitate. A thought comes through your head – is coffee acidic?

What are the Benefits of Acidity?

According to Samin Nosrat, author of the bestseller book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, you need to balance these four elements. These four elements should complement one another in cooking. One, salt is said to enhance flavor. Two, fat provides texture to the food. Also, this element gives flavor too. Three, acid is said to brighten and balance the food. And lastly, the addition of heat determines the ultimate texture of the food.

Nosrat further says that recipes don’t encourage you to use your senses. Following black and white is not gratifying. You can never be your own when you follow recipe books. She went on to say that these four elements can be your compass, even if you don’t have any other tools.

Coffee may not seem like various ingredients put together. But in a way, good coffee has balanced these four elements too. To illustrate, adding salt to coffees may block bitterness. Coffee also has oils that provide a full-bodied taste. When coffee is roasted, it brings out the desirable acids in the coffee. And the acidity is where coffee gets more interesting.

Acids found in coffee are said to make coffees bright. A dark roast with a unique chocolatey taste is said to be bright. Further, a coffee with a fruity taste is said to be bright as well. Aside from the taste of coffee itself, coffee is said to be bright when it has a unique flavor that stands out. Bright is also a term best described for a roast with desirable acidity.

Is Coffee Acidic or Alkaline?

Coffee and acidity are related. Your favorite cup of roast beans, whether dark roast or medium, contains chlorogenic acid, quinic acids, citric acids, and acetic acids. After drying and milling the beans, a cupper evaluates the quality of the beans. This process is oft-repeated to bring about the desired blend of the coffee. Now, it’s onto the roasting process. It is essential to roast coffee because this is where you get all the healthy goodness in your cup.

Coffee has dozens of benefits. This popular drink reduces the risk of diseases like Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, other inflammatory diseases, cancer, and heart diseases. The antioxidants found in coffee are also said to reduce damage in smokers and heavy drinkers. Moreso, coffee improves concentration. It can even lower cholesterol levels as well as aid blood circulation.

Coffee has different acid levels. These are chlorogenic acid and quinic acid, which induce antioxidants. The acidity in your cup of coffee is broken down during the process of coffee roast. Studies show that antioxidants may decrease the risk of cancer. This illness has one of the highest mortality rates around the world. For females, higher consumption of caffeinated beverages may reduce the risk of breast cancer. Such risk is reduced because antioxidants may protect bodies from free radicals. Studies show that a high concentration of free radicals leads to a higher risk of cancer, diabetes, and dementia. Free radicals, according to studies, may also make you more prone to cardiovascular diseases.

Roasting is where the magic happens. And another important acid brought about by roast is citric acid. Citric acid is a less known acid but is linked to enhanced nutrient absorption. Oranges, lemons, and berries are rich in citric acid. Citric acid is said to protect against bacteria. It is also linked to skin diseases like acne, sun spots, and an oily face. Furthermore, citric acid is said to protect nerve cells as well.

This is where the coffee bean Robusta variety may be most helpful! Other coffee bean types also contain these acids. Try the best coffee beans brand of this variety. Such a coffee bean under the Robusta variety has more of an antioxidant effect than the more popular Arabica type.

How to Make Less Acidic Coffee

Caffeine does not add to coffee acidity, nor does it take away acid in coffee. A coffee bean having less caffeine does not necessarily mean that your coffee ph is more basic or more alkaline. However, caffeine is said to relax the muscle connecting the esophagus with the stomach. The acid stomach contents will then creep up to your throat, and you may feel that sour taste in your mouth. Now, the question is, how acidic is coffee? 

How do you make coffee less acidic?

Yes, you can make lower coffee’s acidity! With several illnesses associated with drinking coffee, here are some tips on making it with lower acidity.

Cold Brewing Method

On the one hand, when you brew coffee using hot water, acidity will be extracted. When water is cold, on the other hand, lesser natural acidity is expected. Your problem would now be how to pull out most of your coffee’s soul in a cold brew. This is one thing that you would want to extract fully. Why not try the French Press? The best coffee for cold brew is steeped for 12 to 24 hours in your refrigerator. Trust me; you have not tasted cold brew coffee this good!

Low-acid coffee beans

Balance. This is where good coffee comes from. Robusta has a lower acidity than the Arabica variety. Also, the Robusta variety is more bitter, has more caffeine, and has less sugar. Having an earthy or rubbery taste, the Robusta variety is said to be an acquired taste. However, drinking brew from the Robusta kind will keep you energized even for the whole day.

Milk or Cream

Some dairy products like cream or milk may lessen the acidity of coffee. It is even said to neutralize the pH of the coffee. Not only does this lead to an amazing cup of latte or cappuccino, but adding milk may be kinder to your stomach as well. Milk is linked to healthy bones and teeth. Also, it can be a source of energy in addition to your brew. As a source of potassium, milk helps maintain normal blood pressure. It contains niacin as well, which helps process sugars and fatty acids.

Add Alkaline Water

Instead of regular drinking water, you can use alkaline water instead. You can replace parts of regular water with alkaline water. Alkaline coffee is said to boost the immune system. Better yet, because of fewer side effects brought about by increased acidity of regular brew, alkaline coffee provides energy to coffee drinkers to last you the day. 

Acidity: The pH of Coffee

Is coffee acidic or basic? There is a similarity between a banana and a coffee. Other than you may indulge in either of them after a meal, a banana and coffee are similar in the sense that they both have similar pH. This may sound surprising for most, especially with a banana. Such fruit does not even taste the acidity, but believe it or not, and a banana has the same coffee acidity as a black brew.

What is the pH Level of Coffee?

With a pH of 5, both banana and coffee contain acidity. The ph of coffee is 5. Since the median value is 7, anything below it is deemed to be acidic. Similarly, anything above seven is considered alkaline. To give a clear picture, vinegar has a pH of 3, and baking soda has a pH of 9. But why does coffee lead to hyperacidity? Perhaps the answer is simpler than it actually is – coffee tastes better than a banana. This is true for most people. We see coffee shops almost everywhere. But do you see a banana shop? A banana shop – just the place where you would want to eat a selection of bananas and do your research. This may not be your thing.

The more coffee you drink, the more acidity is in your stomach. Remember that your stomach has a pH level of 1.5 to 3.5. After drinking cups of coffee, your stomach will become more acidic. Since caffeine is a bowel irritant, you may experience more frequent visits to the bathroom.

Another illness heartburn from coffee. With an increased level of caffeine, the muscle that connects your stomach with your esophagus relaxes. If this muscle relaxes, stomach acid would easily come up, causing a burning sensation. Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, is generally not life-threatening. The problem is when you may mistake other illnesses for heartburn.

What Kind of Coffee is the Least Acidic?

Despite the different flavors and kinds of milk or cream that you may mix in your coffee, do you ever feel that coffee almost tastes the same? This is because you may be tasting the same variety of beans over and over again. You may be tasting the Arabica variety, a major type of coffee bean used in Starbucks. Now’s your chance to make your coffee experience different – try the Robusta! 

Of all the coffee beans, the Robusta variety is the least acidic. You may look at Robusta as the least relevant because of its resilience to pests and plant diseases, plus its rubbery taste, but it is the most interesting. This kind of coffee bean is also the cheapest of the lot because of its high adaptability to weather and soil conditions. Compared to Arabica, Robusta is perfect for persons who love cream and sugar.

The Robusta is known for its rubbery taste. But do you know that the Robusta grown with a rubbery taste is a low-grade product of this variety? Some farmers take advantage of Robusta's resilience against pests that they plant this resilient variety in substandard conditions.

Nevertheless, Robusta is the most ideal in making iced coffee. Its earthy, grainy, and nutty flavor leads to a full-bodied coffee. This plant is immune to pests and diseases. As a tip, it is said that Robusta is best tasted at the back of the palate. The back palate is where you can taste the bitter tastes of Robusta, coincidentally at its best.

Though Arabica is the variety of coffee beans that most coffee shops use, the Robusta is unique in a way that you can taste some chocolate overtones! There is also a nutty taste that some coffee drinkers can taste.  

The question – is coffee acidic, is very critical. Coffee has acidity, yes. If you are drinking jugs of coffee and have been diagnosed with an illness directly related to drinking coffee, then you should be concerned. When taken in moderation, most things are relatively safe, so does all things considered in the extreme are relatively unsafe. Nevertheless, if you are in a relatively safe zone, then the benefits of drinking coffee far outweigh the risks.

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