Coffee is one of the most delightful beverages in the world. Whether as a morning pick-up or a mid-noon drink, coffee makes our daily routines bearable and active. Most importantly, this drink becomes a life-saver when dealing with regular headaches or migraines.
However, being a coffee lover and having a sensitive stomach is never a good combination. Every type of coffee is acidic, resulting in conditions like acid reflux and indigestion in people with sensitive stomachs.
However, that doesn’t mean you should stop consuming coffee at all. Instead, you can start consuming in moderate amounts after thoroughly understanding the acidity levels in coffee.
In this post, we will explain how acidic coffee is and all the necessary information for coffee lovers to enjoy this delicious beverage safely. Keep reading, and make sure to stick to the end!
How Acidic Is Coffee?
Coffee is undoubtedly one of the most-consumed drinks in the world. However, some people still have to resist their temptations because of the presence of acidity in coffee.
First, let’s quickly go through what acidity means. The acidity of coffee is usually measured on the pH scale, ranging from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, below 7 is acidic, and above 7 is alkaline.
Now, the pH level of coffee ranges from 4.5 to 6 but usually lies at 5 on the scale. The level also depends on the type of coffee beans, the roasting processes, and the brewing method. Hence, coffee is considered to be mildly or moderately acidic.
Why Does Coffee Acidity Matter?
Coffee acidity is not entirely bad. In fact, it solely enhances the flavor profile of coffee. However, too much acidity can cause several health problems, especially for people with sensitive stomachs and poor digestion.
Here are some negative health effects of consuming highly acidic foods and coffee:
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Acid Reflux
- Gastric Ulcers
- Weakness in Bones
- Damage to Teeth
Therefore, it’s essential to keep acidity levels in mind while drinking coffee to avoid possible adverse effects.
Is Every Type of Coffee Acidic?
There are different types of coffee beverages people can enjoy; dark roasts, milk-based coffee, cold brew coffee, Brazilian beans, and much more. All the coffee types are acidic. However, some types can be less acidic than others due to their bean types, roasting processes, and other factors.
Coffee Nutritional Profile: At A Glance
Despite being mildly or moderately acidic, coffee comes with several health benefits and nutrients too. A single-serve brewed black coffee with no additives is a great source of magnesium, potassium, and proteins. Moreover, coffee contains the ideal least amount of fats, carbohydrates, and calories.
To give you a better understanding, here is a complete nutritional profile of a single cup of plain black coffee:
One single-serve coffee contains approximately 0.3 grams of protein. However, you can increase this amount of protein with the help of additives like milk, cream, etc.
A plain black hot brewed coffee contains 2.4 calories, which is an ideal amount for fitness and health freaks. Still, you can add more calories to the drink with the help of sugar, milk, whipped cream, chocolate or maple syrups, and other additives.
A single-serve plain black coffee with no flavorings or other additives is free from carbs. If you are on a carb-free diet, consuming plain coffee in a moderate amount would be the best option.
Apart from carbs, plain black coffee is also free from fats. However, adding sugar, milk, cream, and other seasonings to coffee beverages can add fats too.
Vitamins and Minerals
Coffee is a great and convenient source of essential vitamins and minerals. A single-serve plain coffee contains 4.8 mg sodium, 118 mg potassium, 4.7 mcg of folate, 7.2 mg magnesium, 6.2 mg choline, 0.1 mg manganese, and 7.1 mg phosphorus.
Why Does Coffee Contains Acid?
Now coming to the most important question; why is coffee acidic? Well, the answer to this question is pretty simple. Coffee contains organic acids, naturally present in raw coffee beans. Some of the common organic acids present in coffee beans are:
Chlorogenic acids are the most common types found in acidic drinks and food items. Despite being acids, they are natural antioxidants and very beneficial for the immune system. Moreover, they are also beneficial for weight loss and balanced blood pressure.
Quinic acids start growing in coffee after the extraction of chlorogenic acids. This acid is solely responsible for stomach problems like indigestion and acid reflux after drinking coffee. Quinic acid is most commonly found in dark roasts.
Though the taste of phosphoric acids is sweet and pleasant, they can cause severe irritation and gut problems for some people. However, this type of acid is only found in some types of coffee beans, not all.
Can Acidic Coffee Cause Stomach Problems?
Every individual has a different body type.. Some people can tolerate spices and lactose, while some are intolerant to these two things. Similarly, some people can chug several cups of coffee in a day without any problems. But for some, acidic coffee can cause severe stomach problems.
For example, people with IBS (Irritable bowel Syndrome), GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), and other stomach-related conditions should keep their coffee consumption in check. If you still find coffee irritating your stomach after limiting consumption, try to opt for alternatives like decaf, tea, and other drink options.
However, keep in mind that coffee is not always bad for your gut health. It contains anti-inflammatory properties while being good for a balanced bowel movement, only if consumed in the right amount. It also helps in curing headaches and fatigue.
So, the key point here is keeping your consumption in check. Always consume coffee moderately to avoid adverse effects. If you ask us, we would recommend sticking to 3 to 4 cups a day, nothing more than that.
How to Reduce the Acidity of Coffee?
Though coffees are naturally acidic, there are several ways to reduce and minimize the acidity levels in your coffee beverages. Without making wasting any time, let’s dive into those ways!
Brew Arabica Beans
I think we all know there are two types of coffee beans; Arabica and Robusta beans. Arabica beans are more flavorful and less acidic than Robusta beans. If you want to cut down on acidity, Arabica coffee should be your only choice.
Choose Low Acid Coffee
Thanks to the countless high-quality coffee brands in the market, we have a variety of coffee bean options to choose from. Brands like Lifeboost Coffee, Volcanica Coffee, Starbucks, and more produce a wide range of low-acid coffee beans for people with sensitive stomachs.
Add Cream or Milk
Adding whipped cream or milk to your coffee will excellently balance and neutralize the pH levels. You can use any type of cream you prefer. For milk-based coffees, we would prefer to opt for almond or soy milk.
Salt is a well-known ingredient to balance out acidity levels in food items and beverages. Mix a pinch of salt in the coffee grounds before brewing and see the magic happen.
Opt for Cold Brew Coffee
The cold brewing method is one of the most convenient and effective ways to reduce acidity by up to 50%. All you need to do is mix your coffee grounds in cold water and keep the mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours. You can also purchase a cold-brew coffee maker if money is not a problem.
Opt for Lighter Roasts
Light roast coffee beans are always less acidic than medium and darker roasts. If your stomach is acting up because of the coffee acidity, make lighter roasts your best friends.
Adding sugar to your coffee can increase the acidity levels in the beverages. Try to avoid adding sweeteners to your coffee if you have an upset stomach.
What Coffee Drinks Are Least Acidic?
Here are some least acidic coffee drink options to keep your stomach and gut health in top-notch condition:
- Chicory or Mushroom Coffee Blends: Mushrooms are well-known to reduce inflammation, and chicory is a natural antioxidant. These new coffee blends in the market are low in acidity and worth trying.
- Espresso Beans: Since the brewing process and time for espresso is shorter, espresso drinks tend to be less acidic than other coffee types.
- Brazilian Beans: Beans grown in South America, mainly in Brazil are known to be less acidic than other origins.
Coffee is acidic and lies between 4.5 to 5 on the pH scale. However, you can still enjoy this energizing and delicious drink without upsetting your gut health.
You can take several steps to reduce acidity in your coffee beverages. If you have a sensitive stomach and suffer from IBS, GERD, or indigestion, it’s best to reduce your coffee intake. You can also opt for the cold brew method to reduce the acidity in coffee beans. Ideally, people with gastrointestinal issues should not drink more than three cups of coffee in a day.
Moreover, you can also opt for low-acidic coffee beans or other alternatives like matcha or green tea. You can also try and add salt, baking soda, cream, or milk to your coffee to bring down the acidity levels. Also, remember to stick to Arabica beans only as they are less acidic than Robusta beans.
Is coffee with milk acidic?
No, adding milk to coffee can take the pH level to 6, making it less acidic.
What foods neutralize coffee acid?
Adding salt and baking soda to coffee can neutralize the acidity level. You can also add milk or cream.
Is decaf coffee less acidic?
Yes, caffeinated coffee beverages are usually less acidic than regular coffee drinks.
Does Starbucks have low-acid coffee?
Starbucks is a well-known name in the coffee world. Luckily, the brand offers plenty of low-acid coffee options for sensitive coffee drinkers. From Chai Tea to Nitro brew, you’ll find several delicious options.
Is French roast coffee less acidic?
Yes, the french roasting process makes coffee less acidic because of the dark and charred notes.
What roast of coffee is the least acidic?
Dark-roasted coffee options are the least acidic ones. Dark roast coffee is stomach friendly because the method extracts the stomach acid-producing chemical from the coffee beans.
Does cinnamon reduce acid in coffee?
Cinnamon is a natural antioxidant, antacid, and anti-inflammatory herb. Hence, adding a little bit of cinnamon to coffee can bring down its acidity levels.