Coffee is having a number of acidic compounds that sometimes make our stomach cringe. However, there are a number of ways to get a cup of low acid coffee to avoid upset stomachs. You can pick different coffee beans as well as add some ingredients into the brewing process to reduce the acid. Have a look to find out all the different ways you can get to enjoy your low acid coffee!
Coffee is a drink loved by millions; whether you like to have it as an espresso shot, with milk, without milk or whatever may be your preference. One thing we coffee lovers can agree on is that we are willing to look past all the bad so we can get that experience the hot, delicious, energizing cup of good.
Whether we talk about caffeine that gives us the jitters or the acid that gives us heartburn and tummy problems; coffee drinkers look past it all just so they don’t have to compromise on flavor. As we have learned, those sensitive to caffeine can go for a decaf option, and just like that there is a low acid coffee available for those who have a sensitive stomach. Below, we will discuss anything and everything to do with coffee and acidity so you can pick the low acid coffee that works best for you:
Is Coffee Acidic?
When talking about coffee being acidic, we are not referring to taste but rather the acidic properties of the coffee that land it below neutral on a pH scale. Coffee ranges between 4.7 and 5 on the pH scale; for reference, water is at 7, which is neutral, lemon juice is at 2 and apple juice is at 3. The lower the number on the pH scale, the more acidic the substance is.
Coffee is made up of hundreds of different compounds, out of which some of them are acid. Within these acidic compounds, not all of them affect the body negatively. Some of these acids help enhance the taste of coffee – some making it sweeter while others make it a little tarter; essentially creating a balance in flavor. There is one acidic compound that affects the digestive system and that is Quinic acid.
This acid is produced in the coffee as it degrades, especially over heat. This is the acid that causes heartburn and upset stomachs, but don’t worry – you can still enjoy your morning cup without the dreaded acid reflux by choosing the right type of beans or brewing with some additional ingredients to finally get a cup of low acid coffee!
What Is The Least Acidic Coffee?
Having the least acidic coffee starts with finding the correct bean with the lowest amount of acidic compounds. There are a few different factors that affect the acidity of coffee. Look out for these factors to find the least acidic coffee:
Low Altitude Coffee
Coffee beans that are grown at lower altitudes usually have lower acidity. Higher altitude soils, especially volcanic soils, tend to turn over a more acidic coffee bean.
Arabica coffee beans are not only higher in quality; they are also significantly less acidic than their counterparts. Robusta beans are high in caffeine but lower in quality and very acidic. They are not easy on the stomach for those sensitive to caffeine or acid.
For low acid coffee you, therefore, want to use Arabica beans if possible.
Lighter roasts are described by their fruitiness and brightness specifically because of their highly prominent acidity. These roasts have become popular because of the rise of brewing methods such as pour-over coffee. Go for dark roast coffee to avoid the pronounced acidity in your coffee.
The best combination are lower altitude Arabica beans with a dark roast coffee to enjoy a cup of low acid coffee.
Can You Brew Low Acidic Coffee?
It is possible to brew coffee that’s lower in acid. The first thing you need to keep in mind is the bean. Once you have found a low acid coffee bean through the tips above, you can further reduce the acid in your final cup through the brew process tips below:
Cold brewing your coffee can be a very effective way to reduce the acidity in your coffee. A cold brew coffee has up to 60% less acidic value than hot brewing the same beans!
Adding a splash of milk (What does soy milk in coffee taste like?) or cream can help balance some of the acidity in your coffee. Because milk is closer to neutral on the pH scale, it will help lower the acidity in your coffee. Be careful though, light roasts tend to make milk acidic too, so this method is preferred with darker roasts.
Brew with Eggshells
Eggshells are used to balance acidity in many things, including soil, because of their alkaline properties. They will help neutralize the acidity of your coffee, and will also remove some of the bitter taste. The eggshells work perfectly when you make coffee to result in less acidity.
Simply put some egg shells into the filter with the coffee grounds and brew your coffee as you always do. The difference is that you have a cup of low acid coffee vs coffee with higher levels of acidity.
You want to make sure that the egg shells you use to contain the coffee acidity are clean and have no parts of the egg itself on them. Otherwise, you’ll end up with some added aromas from the egg shells to your coffee which can quickly turn into an undesirable concoction!
Add a Pinch of Salt
Add a small pinch of salt to your ground coffee before your chosen method of brewing. This will help reduce the acidity of your coffee and even make it taste a little sweeter. Don’t overdo it though as you don’t want your coffee to start tasting salty instead of being less acidic.
Is Decaf Coffee Less Acidic Than Regular Coffee?
Though caffeine content has no actual correlation with the acidic properties of coffee, decaf coffee can help keep acid levels in the stomach lower. Caffeine tends to cause your stomach to produce more acid, which can cause heartburn, especially in those who have sensitive stomachs.
In this case, having decaf coffee can be a better option even if the beans themselves have the same acidic content.
What Coffee Is Easiest On The Stomach?
If you have a sensitive stomach, and are specifically sensitive to coffee, but don’t want to give up your delicious morning cup, there are still options for you. The first thing you need to do is get low acid coffee beans. This will be one from low altitude soils, most likely an Arabica strain, and a dark roast of the coffee beans.
If you want to further reduce the strain on your stomach, go for a decaf; this will help reduce the production of acids in your stomach. Next, you want to brew your coffee cold, and with one of the techniques mentioned above. You will have a cup of low acid coffee you can enjoy without the stress of indigestion or stomach problems!
Is Espresso Better for your Stomach Compared to Coffee?
Espressos are misleading in the sense that they are strong, intense cups of coffee but pack a much lighter punch in terms of caffeine and acid. Espressos may seem like they have a high caffeine content because of their bitter, strong taste, but they have a lot less than your average cup. The lowered caffeine content means that they are a lot easier on your stomach than regular coffee like drip (coffee percolator vs drip).
Another reason why espressos are easier on the stomach is that with this coffee brewing method the time to make a cup of espresso is a lot shorter. As a rule of thumb; the shorter the brew times the lighter the coffee on your stomach. Espresso beans are also usually low in acid and dark roasts – What Is the Difference Between Coffee and Espresso?
Is Cold Brew Coffee Less Acidic?
Yes. Cold brew coffee is almost 70% less acidic than hot brewed coffee. This is because the heat from the hot water causes your ground coffee beans to release oils.
The cold brewing method is by using cold water which keeps the oils in the grounds resulting in low acid coffee. You can make cold brew at home by mixing ground coffee (coarse grind) with cold water and let it steep for long periods of time.
These oils are what carry the acidic compounds of coffee; they dissolve in the hot water and give it that bitter taste you are used to. Cold brewing means that there is no release of those oils; your cup of coffee will taste more fruity and coffee-like, not bitter and acidic.
It’s a great way to brew a cup of coffee with low acid. Consider though, that the brewing process takes significantly longer when making cold brew coffee compared to preparing a hot coffee with a drip coffee maker or other methods!
Does Instant Coffee Have Less Acid Than Regular Coffee?
There is no difference between instant coffee or fresh ground coffee in terms of acidity. What you need to find is the correct bean, region, and roast to find a low acid instant coffee. Find a dark roast Arabica from a low elevation region like Brazil or Central America to get the best flavor and lowest acidity in coffee in your final cup.
The only difference you will find in acidity is through the brewing process. Since instant coffee is not brewed in the same way as fresh grounds, you cannot take the extra steps to lower the acidity in coffee as mentioned above during the brewing process. Your best bet is to find instant coffee made from low acid coffee beans that result in a cup of low acid coffee.
Is Folgers Coffee Low Acid?
The original Folgers coffee was not low acid but the company soon realized the growing problem of acidic coffee and stomach problems that were affecting their customers and came out with a version called Simply Smooth marketed to be gentler on stomachs.
It is a mild to medium roast coffee where Folger’s uses coffee beans that are naturally low in acidity and that is mellow in taste and is said to be easier on the stomach as the coffee beans result in low acid coffee.
Does Starbucks Have Low Acid Coffee?
Though Starbucks does not specifically market low acid coffees, they do produce roasts that are naturally low acid and can be purchased. These low acid coffees come in whole coffee beans, ground coffee, and even instant coffee.
Some of their best low acid coffee includes their Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee Pike Place Roast, Starbucks Sumatra Dark Roast Ground Coffee, and Starbucks Espresso Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee. You can ask the baristas at the coffee place to help you find the best low acid coffee option for you.
Can You Drink Coffee When You Have Acid Reflux?
Drinking a regular cup of coffee when you have an upset stomach will just aggravate the situation. Avoid worsening your condition by going for decaffeinated and low acid coffee versions of the drink.
You can go for a decaf dark roast coffee to help you avoid triggering your pyrosis but still getting the beloved taste of coffee in the morning.
An alternative can be to drink cold brewed coffee which is low acid and will not upset your stomach that much.
Acid reflux and other stomach problems can be a hindrance for those who love to drink coffee. There is no need to worry though!
You can avoid these stomach problems by introducing low acid coffee to your life and even adding a few steps to your brewing process, like cold brew, to further soothe the situation.
Suffering from a sensitive stomach does not mean you need to give up your beloved morning cup. Just take the necessary precautions and you will be able to enjoy your favorite beverage without worry and with low acid content to prevent your stomach from getting upset!
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