If you have ever looked forward to your favorite morning coffee only to be greeted by something similar to sucking on a lemon then read on, knowing how to make coffee less acidic may seem non essential, until it happens to you.
When you know why it happens, how it occurs, you can quickly adjust accordingly and prevent ever being greeted by a sour coffee first thing in the morning. No thank you.
Understanding Coffee Acidity
You may be a veteran coffee drinker but have you ever stopped to consider the acidity in coffee beans or even if low acid coffee beans would be a better option for you considering the high levels of acidity in some coffee? Perhaps its time to make healthier coffee drinking choices.
In this article we will discuss the acidity in coffee beans, why coffee taste sour, should you use hot water or cold, or is it just your decaf coffee brewing method you have all wrong?
To make coffee less acidic you don't need an overly expensive piece of coffee making equipment or need to start your low acid coffee brand, a few minor tweaks and you will be enjoying low acid coffee in no time.
Natural Acids in Coffee
In nature, just as all living organisms play an integral role as intermediate compounds in the metabolic rates of plants, citric acid is as important. In green coffee (regular beans that have not gone through a roasting process yet) malic and quinic acid, along with citric acid, contribute a significant portion of coffees acid content. This in turn constitutes the development of the perceived acidity in coffee.
There are essentially nine major acids in coffee ranging from the highest concentration to the lowest.
Chlorogenic acid & Quinic
Citric & Acetic
Lactic & Malic
Phosphoric & Linoleic
Chlorogenic Acid and PH Scale
Based on its pKa Chlorogenic acid is a weak basic compound. They are esters that form between quinic and caffeic acids.
Choosing The Right Coffee Beans
Is one better than the other, well, this depends on your personal preference. Each is bespoke in its own way and bring something to the table, see below for some of the uses, differences, and what makes each better over the other.
Dark Roast Vs. Light Roast
Dark roast coffee - One of the best sources of natural antioxidants and which helps to fight off free radicals that cause cellular damage. The deep, somewhat moody color of the beans comes from these antioxidants.
Light roast coffee - They yield higher concentrations of chlorogenic acid , these acids protect against damage of human cells.
Low-Acid Coffee Varieties
It doesn't need to be a mission or be overly effortful to create a coffee drink that is less acidic to achieve your morning caffeine jolt, a few simple tweaks and edits to your regular drinking routine and you can enjoy the perks of coffee while maintaining good health practices, here's how;
Dark Roast - They contain fewer stomach acid producing compounds.
Espresso Beans - With a shortened brewing time needed for espresso less acid tends to filter into your cup of coffee.
Cold brew - Cold brew steeps for anywhere from 12-24 hours in the refrigerator. This prolonged steeping time creates less acid and less bitterness.
Low acid coffee brands - Check our selection of coffee beans for blends that offer low acidity beans.
Mushroom or Chicory Coffee blends - The benefits of mushrooms alone are vast, but one highly sought after remedy for eating mushrooms and chicory are their effect to reduce inflammation within the body.
Less Acidic Coffee: Optimized Brewing Methods
Cold Brew Technique
The downside to cold brew coffee is the brew time, other than that the cold brew method produces a significantly less acidic coffee beverage when compared to hot coffee. Cold brew coffee (cold brewing) has also shown to be easier on the stomach and is digested more easily because it is a less acidic coffee.
If you want to make extract flavor of your cold brew coffee that much more less coffee acidic you could try the following;
Use dark roast coffee beans which have the least acid content when weighed up against their light or medium roasts family members.
Add milk or ice to essentially dilute the cold brew coffee as water is a neutral ingredient it reduces the natural acidity in coffee.
Cream is a great addition to reduce coffee acidity, and if you are on a certain eating plan such as Keto or Paleo you could use soy milk or almond milk as a plant-based dairy alternative without affecting the coffee flavor.
Paper Filter Instead Of Metal Filters
Paper filters trap the oils naturally present in coffee beans, therefore when you pour your cup of coffee, the acidity from the extracted coffee remains behind.
A brewing method like the Chemex or pour-over traps the oils during the extraction process, whereas brewing coffee in a French press with a paper filter, it reduce acidity in coffee before it reaches your cup.
Many coffee brewing machines or equipment have permanent metal filters which can let through larger coffee beans particles than you may like for a particular brew.
If you have a metal filter, rather than buying a whole new coffee making accessory consider adding the paper filter into the metal filter for a cleaner tasting coffee with a smoother mouthfeel.
Adjusting Brew Time and Temperature
So many of us don't realize that hot water directly impacts coffee acidity. This is because hot water releases oils that are not dissolved in cold water or the lower temperatures.
The changes you taste in your coffee ultimately comes from the difference in temperature while brewing coffee.
The oils in extracted coffee are full of acidic compounds that lead to an acidic cup of coffee. The hotter the water the more efficiently the extraction process occurs, whereas cold water won't yield in an extraction process.
Stop Letting Your Coffee Sit In A Thermos
Too often people think they are doing a good thing by brewing a large pot of coffee and letting it sit for ages in the a thermos, when unfortunately, the very thing we are trying to prevent begins to happen.
The coffee goes bad.
As it begins to lose its flavor it turns to a sour and bitter taste, and you end up with a wasted pot of brewed coffee. Albeit that it keeps the coffee hot, who wants hot or iced coffee that tastes terrible?
French Press and Coarser Grind
If you are using a French press then a coarsely ground coffee beans blend is your best option.
Medium roasted coffee beans or dark roast coffee beans are most suitable for this brewed coffee method, and even more so if you are someone who enjoys adding a splash of milk to their java.
The dark and medium roast coffee beans perfectly compliment a creamy almond milk flavor profile with their deep, rich and chocolaty essence.
Natural Remedies to Reduce Acidity
Adding Baking Soda
As little as a 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda during the brewing coffee process or after, will make your coffee less acidic, it neutralizes the acidity in coffee making it easier on the stomach and essentially preventing the dreaded acid reflux symptoms.
Baking soda is considered an alkaline with a Ph scale of 8. When you add baking soda to your morning drink it creates a smoother, perfectly balanced coffee that is less acidic.
Sodium bicarbonate also aids in eliminating heartburn, prevents acid reflux, and tones down existing stomach acid.
Now coffee drinkers can enjoy low acid coffee brews and not feel like they are missing out on their beloved coffee taste.
Just like baking soda, egg shells are an alkaline based chemical reaction element and act as acid reducers for a less acidic brew. You can add the egg shells in as you prepare hot brewing coffee for the morning to make coffee less acidic too.
Simply mix the shells in with the ground coffee before brewing and come back to a bitter-free hot coffee just the way you like it to kickstart the day.
When you add egg shells to coffee grounds when making coffee the white of the eggs extract the bitter flavor from ground coffee beans while enhancing the caffeine. The shells clarify the coffee causing the coffee grounds to separate from the water.
Use An Acid Reducer
Adding something as quick and easy as milk or cream, fridge staples, will help with the acidity in coffee.
Not only are these two ingredients highly cost-effective when time is of the essence or you need a quick fix, but allow people who are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy products and prone to acid reflux to still enjoy drinking coffee.
Does coffee taste better when it is brewed with hard water or soft water? When you prepare coffee this is not always the first thing you think about, but if you want a better tasting cup of coffee it could be a new consideration to look into.
Soft Water Vs. Hard Water
You may well have heard about limescale and mineral build up when making coffee and the damage it can cause to coffee making equipment, but it can also affect the taste of your coffee.
If you live in a hard water area then making java will result in higher levels of caffeine being extracted as the caffeine essentially 'sticks' the minerals.
Hard water does however have a higher concentration of Sodium bicarbonate which tends to enhance the bitter flavors present in coffee.
While soft water is not that much better studies do show that hard water is better for making coffee with overall better extraction results with a more well-rounded coffee flavor.
Soft water, as you may have guessed, extracts less caffeine from the coffee but does have a higher concentration of Sodium as a result of being processed through the soft water processing stages.
Coffee made with soft water has a mundane, somewhat lackluster flavor profile and often, irrespective of the brew time with people hoping a longer brew time will add more flavor, the taste just is not there.
Temperature for Brewing
For optimal extraction during the coffee making process ideally your brewer should maintain a temperature between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cold water creates flat, under-extracted coffee unless you are cold brewing, while very hot coffee from water that is too hot will significantly reduce the taste quality.
If you do keep the temperature optimal but don't necessarily want to drink it all now rather than keeping it on a warmer plate opt for an insulated coffee carafe that won't affect the taste or quality.
Health Implications of Acidic Coffee
Coffee is a naturally acidic drink, but the acidity level varies and depends on the types of coffee beans you're using and the brewing method. While often all people do is try to reduce acidity in their coffee but part of the acidic coffee taste is what makes it so delicious.
Unfortunately, the old saying rings true that too much of a good thing can quickly end up becoming a bad thing and that's where the coffee acid can take a toll on our bodies.
Acid Reflux and Heartburn
The terms heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are often used interchangeably but in fact they mean different things;
Heartburn - The feeling of acid reflux is known as heartburn.
Acid reflux - This reflux is the backflow of stomach contents into the throat (esophagus).
GERD - Gastroesophageal reflux is another word for Acid reflux but is a more severe and longer lasting disease where continuous symptoms more than likely result in additional complications.
People who experience any of these symptoms but who love dark roast coffee might consider cold brewing using low acid dark roast coffee beans. Cold brewing the ground coffee yields a lower caffeine content in the final product, which is easier on the stomach and throat, and overall a great way to make your coffee less acidic.
It only makes sense that the more acidic coffee you consume without considering alternatives the longer your health issues will persist, when it is such a simple fix.
If everything suddenly seems overwhelming, and it can be when you are learning how to better your health but then the tricky jargon tends to get in the way and confuse you from all angles, at least try one simple step.
Next time you are at the shops, opt for low acidic coffee beans for your morning cuppa to naturally reduce acidity in your diet. This way you can see if any changes occur and then delve a little further as you feel comfortable.
Coffee and Sensitive Stomachs
The most common negative effect of caffeine on the digestive tract is gastrointestinal distress and stomach irritation.
Some people who live with this effect enjoy coffee so much that they rather rely on acid reducers for their drinks rather than make quick changes to their routine, but this cannot go on for very long without serious health implications popping up.
And not to be confused into thinking that dark roasted coffee has more caffeine or acid than light roast coffee or the lighter roasts, they have pretty similar amounts and the differences come in the roasting process and the amount the ground coffee spends in the water.
How To Make Your Coffee Less Acidic: Give Them A Try!
You may not realize it but coffee, while a naturally acidic drink, has a lower acetic rating than everyday drinks such as orange juice. Yes, you heard it here.
Overall, the flavor profiles, the sour or bitterness, comes from the roasting and brewing styles methods, or techniques used, and ultimately affects the final coffee taste.
Take your time exploring the wonderful world of coffee, experiment in the kitchen, and create a personalized brew to enjoy every day and live the life you deserve to life, one delicious sip at a time.