Coffee, the delicious energy-boosting drink enjoyed daily by millions across the globe. Coffee comes in a bunch of different flavors and forms to suit everyone’s taste and caffeine requirements.
However, when you’re drinking coffee, are you also unknowingly drinking acid?
Coffee is acidic. Coffee typically has a pH of about 5, making it mildly acidic. You can reduce the pH in coffee by mixing in other more acidic ingredients than coffee, choosing light roast coffee beans or methods that quickly brew the coffee like a filter.
Continue reading to understand how acidic coffee is and what this means for your health.
I’ll also examine how you can reduce the acidity in coffee without harming the flavor. By the end of this piece, you’ll gain more insight into how coffee influences your gut health.
How acidic is coffee?
Acidity is measured on the pH scale. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, and a substance’s pH rating indicates whether it’s acidic or alkaline. A pH score below 7 is acidic, and a score above 7 is alkaline. So, where does coffee lie on the pH scale?
Coffee is not very acidic. Coffee typically has a pH rating of about 5, two points below neutral. Other drinks that people enjoy are much more acidic. For instance, orange juice can have a pH rating as low as 3.5. Therefore, coffee is not particularly acidic in comparison.
The acidity of coffee should not be cause for significant concern. Most drinks that you consume, other than water, are acidic as various acids often carry flavor.
Coca-Cola has an acidity rating of about 2.6 on the pH scale, making it far more acidic than coffee.
The exact pH of coffee can vary depending on how it’s brewed and the coffee beans used.
Additionally, a number of factors can influence the acidity of coffee, including the temperature it’s roasted at, how long it brews for, and the other ingredients added to the mixture.
Is all coffee acidic?
There are so many different types of coffee that you can buy. You have a plethora of choices when it comes to finding the right way of enjoying coffee that suits your health and requirements.
So, with all of the options available, surely there are some varieties of coffee that are not acidic?
All coffee is acidic. However, depending on the beans used and their preparations, some coffees are less acidic than others. You can also purchase low-acid coffee beans that are closer to neutral than regular coffee, although even these coffee beans will produce mildly acidic coffee.
See below for some low-acidity coffee beans available to buy on Amazon.
Puroast Low Acid Ground Coffee is an affordable and low acid coffee product. The beans included are suitable for those who suffer from acid reflux and also contain antioxidants that offer health benefits.
On top of this, the dark French roast beans provide excellent flavor.
Healthwise Low Acid Coffee (available on Amazon.com) is a gourmet medium roast coffee bean suitable for those with sensitive stomachs. The product is Kosher certified, and the low acidity levels result in a mild flavor free from bitterness.
The only way to enjoy coffee that’s not acidic is by adding something to the mix that balances the pH and turns the coffee neutral or even alkaline. I’ll go into more details on this later in the article.
Why is coffee acidic?
Coffee is a mild acid that is weaker than many other common drinks like orange juice. However, you likely already know that orange juice is acidic due to the citric acid. But you’re probably unaware of what makes coffee acidic?
Coffee is acidic because it contains a number of acidic compounds. Coffee beans release these acids during the brewing process. Depending on the brewing method, the amount of acids released can vary, and the specific acids included can differ between varieties of coffee beans.
Coffee is a complex substance that contains over 800 different compounds. Not all of these compounds are acidic; only a fraction of the total compounds are. Here are some of the most common acids found in brewed coffee:
You may recognize some of these acids. Citric acid is found in citrus fruits like lemons and oranges. And if you recall biology class in school, you will know that lactic acid is produced in the human body, especially during exercise.
Quinic is one of the acids that give coffee its sour taste. Quinic is produced in the brewing stages, especially if you’re heating the coffee during the brewing.
If you’ve ever left a pot of coffee on the heat for too long and it’s become very bitter, it means the quinic acid levels have increased.
Therefore you likely already consume much of these acids in your diet, or your body is already producing it. So the acids in your coffee are not harmful or dangerous at the doses they exist in your favorite drink.
Can you reduce the acidity of coffee?
Some people have digestion issues or sensitive stomachs and therefore must avoid highly acidic foods. Can these people still enjoy coffee? And if so, are there ways to reduce the acidity levels in coffee without ruining the taste?
You can reduce the acidity of coffee. To make coffee less acidic, choose a brewing method that takes less time, like espresso, or a technique that uses low temperatures, like cold brew coffee. Alternatively, you can add an alkaline substance to the coffee before drinking it to reduce acidity.
One substance that some people add to reduce the acidity in coffee is baking soda. Add about ¼ of a teaspoon of baking soda to your coffee and give it a stir.
This will give the coffee a more neutral pH without having a drastic effect on the flavor.
If you want to learn more about adding baking soda to your coffee, this in-depth article explains everything you need to know, including the correct amounts to use.
Another way to reduce the acidity in your coffee is by choosing darker roast coffee beans as they release fewer acids. Medium and light roast beans produce higher quantities of acids during brewing.
Is black coffee more acidic?
Coffee comes in all shades and forms, from a shot of espresso to a double Frappuccino with whipped cream on top. As a result, you’re most likely wondering whether the type of coffee you enjoy influences the acidity in your coffee.
For instance, is black coffee more acidic than the alternatives?
Black coffee is more acidic than coffee containing milk. Milk is less acidic than coffee, and therefore when you combine the two substances, the overall acidity levels will decrease. If you drink alternative milk like almond or soy milk, it will have the same effect as mixing coffee with dairy.
Dairy milk has a pH score of between 6.7 to 6.9. Therefore dairy milk is only a fraction away from neutral. The reason that milk is marginally acidic is due to the compound lactic acid that’s also present in coffee.
Since milk is very close to neutral, the more milk you add to your coffee, the less acidic it will become. Therefore milk-based coffees like lattes are less acidic than black coffee.
Almond and soy milk both have a pH of 6.0. This is less acidic than coffee and close to the neutral score of 7. However, these kinds of milk are still slightly acidic. Therefore combining them with coffee will not eliminate acidity, only reduce it.
Is more acidic coffee harsher on your stomach?
Different people have different dietary needs and restrictions. Some people can eat spicy food while others can’t, to give an example. So, do the acidity levels in coffee have an impact on how hard it is to digest?
More acidic coffee is harsher on your stomach if you have acid reflux or GERD. If you suffer from these conditions, you should choose coffee that’s more neutral than acidic. This will minimize the ill effects it can have on your stomach.
If you find coffee harsh on your stomach, you can consult a doctor or dietician for more information regarding your symptoms.
Alternatively, you can choose an alternative source of caffeine like tea or matcha, as they may not upset your stomach.
Is coffee good for gut health?
Coffee is good for gut health. Compounds within coffee have been linked to reducing inflammation in your gut. Reduced inflammation can ease some symptoms of discomfort and boost digestive health, thereby improving the health of your gut.
Coffee is anti-inflammatory, and it also helps with bowel movements. The beverage has even been shown to improve gastrointestinal health following certain types of surgery.
Therefore, unless you have a medical condition that stops you from drinking coffee, it will improve your gut health when consumed in moderation.
Coffee can also help ease constipation in some instances. As a result, this will enhance your digestive health and help you to remain comfortable.
Yet, coffee can have adverse effects on your gut health if consumed in excess. However, as long as you stick to the recommended daily allowance, about 4 cups, depending on the type of coffee you drink., you will be fine.
Does coffee cause inflammation?
If you suffer from inflammation, you’ll be all too aware of how many different things can cause it to flare up. This begs the question, does coffee cause or worsen inflammation?
Coffee does not cause inflammation in most people. However, some people may experience increased inflammation after drinking coffee. Coffee has a complex response to the inflammatory response due to the many compounds included in the substance.
Coffee has both proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory properties. However, in most cases, the anti-inflammatory effects are more potent than the proinflammatory ones.
The person consuming the coffee will also have an impact on whether the coffee causes inflammation since different people can process certain compounds much easier than others.
If you feel that coffee is leading to inflammation, consult a medical professional and consider reducing your coffee. If your symptoms of inflammation reduce after drinking less coffee, then it could be the source of the problem.
Can coffee make your joints hurt?
A common affliction that people face is joint pain. Joint pain can come from a variety of sources, including Arthritis, inflammation, injuries, or age.
A wide array of factors can also influence joint pains ranging from diet to the weather. So does coffee worsen joint pain or relieve it?
Coffee can make your joints hurt. In some people, coffee can be proinflammatory and increase pain-inducing inflammation in the joints. On top of this, recent studies have established a link between coffee consumption and the onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
A comprehensive study conducted over the years in Finland showed that those who drank more than 4 cups of coffee regularly had a significant risk of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis.
This is due to a compound that’s commonly found in Rheumatoid Arthritis cases called Rheumatoid Factor.
Rheumatoid Factor is also produced in the body after drinking large quantities of coffee for a prolonged period.
The compound leads to inflammation in the lining of your joints which causes Arthritis – although the exact causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis have not yet been established and no known cure exists.
While coffee can cause joint pain, this is not necessarily always the case. Coffee can reduce inflammation in some people and, in safe doses, won’t lead to Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Only excessive coffee consumption has been shown to cause this ailment.
Coffee is an acidic drink. Nevertheless, coffee is much less acidic than other common drinks like orange juice.
Acids give coffee its distinct bitter taste, and the quantity of acids present varies depending on how the coffee was brewed and how the beans were roasted.
If you are unable to enjoy coffee due to its acidic nature, you can add your choice of milk to reduce the acidity.
Alternatively, you can use a small amount of baking soda to balance the pH and reduce acidity or choose to buy low-acid coffee beans.