Too much of anything is too much, and coffee is the same. Although it’s the nation’s favorite hot drink, once you’ve had too much, your body will start to tell you. One of the biggest complaints of too much coffee is acid reflux, with the National Institutes of Health claiming that over 40% of all adults suffer from it in the US. Unfortunately, people jump to conclusions and blame caffeine as the primary culprit of acid reflux. However, we should take a look at whether acid-free coffee brands exist, and which ones are the best. Also, we’ll answer the question of - is decaf coffee less acidic? And does instant coffee heartburn happen in the same way?
What Is Coffee Acidity?
Before we jump into the best brands, let’s take a look at what coffee acidity is. Acidity in coffee is a desirable taste that is completely natural. Typically, top-of-the-range arabica beans are extremely acidic but still fall short of their robusta opponent. When coffee critics talk about coffee having undertones of watermelon, citric, or plum flavors, they are discussing the acid content of the coffee. You may be asking yourself why you’d want a coffee tasting like fruit. The truth is that it doesn’t, the coffee connoisseurs simply use fruits as a point of reference to measure acidity in coffee. If you want to find out more about this, you should check out the Coffee Taster's Flavor Wheel.
Different Types of Acidity
When it comes to the types of acid found in coffee, you can break it down into two - quinic acid and chlorogenic acid. Interestingly, the chlorogenic acid levels in coffee are what makes the drink classified as a healthy drink. The level of acids in the coffee will depend on your taste and choice of the coffee bean. Typically, when a bean goes through the roasting process, the acid is cooked away. Therefore, the acidic level of your coffee will depend entirely on the roaster. As you might guess, the darker the roast, the less chlorogenic acids are in there. When you’re tasting your next cup of coffee, you should compare these acids to the tastes of salt - the saltier the coffee, the more acidic it is.
We’ve spoken a lot about chlorogenic acid and forgot to mention quinic acid. Essentially, as mentioned previously, when we roast coffee, the chlorogenic acids die down. During this process, they change state and become quinic acid. This is the acid we want to avoid in our cups because it can make us feel sick. Typically, you will taste the quinic acid with a sour taste. When coffee is old or left in the heat for too long, you will start to notice this taste. Although quinic acid can make us sick, chlorogenic acid can impact us in high doses. Here comes the art of coffee making - roasters need to get the exact balance of these acids right.
Other Acid Sources
Although there’s the acid in coffee, it’s not the only source you need to consider. When you pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee, you need to think about the alkaline level in the water. If you learned anything in high school chemistry, you’d know that acids react with alkalis. Ideally, you want your water to balance out at 7 on the PH scale to have no impact on the flavor of coffee, which comes in at around 5 on the PH scale. If you’ve got low-quality water, you will find that your coffee has a more sour taste.
The next acid source to consider is our bodies, which have their own make-up of chemicals. However, there are plenty of factors that can cause an imbalance in our own system. Which, in turn, can have a detrimental impact on the taste of our coffee. When you add all of this together, it can trigger acid reflux in us. If you’re trying to minimize acidity in your coffee, you should aim for a medium roast, which would balance out the chemical reactions.
If you’re looking for a brand of coffee with science to back up their 70% less acidic claim, Puroast Coffee is the choice for you. They’ve been around for some time now and were complimented highly on how well their coffee sat in the stomach. They claim to take time in their entire process, with great attention to detail. If you look through a bag of their coffee, you will notice that the roast is medium but there are darker beans thrown into the mix. Perhaps this mix of beans is how they counterbalance the acidic levels.
Although the general public doesn’t know the exact reason why their coffee has such a low acidic level, it’s safe to bet that it’s because of the location of the beans. They come from Venezuela, which is notorious for housing low-acidic coffee companies. Despite the popularity of Venezuelan coffee, they only account for 1% of all coffee. This means that you can count on Puroast Coffee being unique.
Spirit Animal IHCAFE-90 & Lemira
This company makes great coffee while giving back to Honduran farmers. Their entire brand mission is to raise the quality of life for each farmer. Although they’re only a young company, birthing in 2020, they are making a huge impact amongst coffee fanatics. Once you receive your bag of coffee and put a brew on, you will notice that there’s a delicious taste of berries and honey. Once brewed, the coffee is smooth and has undertones of brown sugar and raisins inside. The beans are completely natural and medium roasted, which means you get the best of both worlds in terms of acid levels.
Java Planet is a hero within the organic process community and is heavily involved with the promotion of living healthily. They have a variety of blends ranging from low acidic regular coffee and decaf coffee. Their beans usually originate from Colombia, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. If you want to, you can buy pre-roasted beans and have a go at the process yourself. However, by doing that, you’re taking away from the true beauty of the brand.
Volcanica Low Acid Coffee
Volcanica couldn’t choose just one location to source their low-acidic beans. Instead, they use beans from all around the world which are low in acid content. However, their typical destinations are Sumatra and Brazil. So yes, if you’re asking yourself “is Sumatra coffee low acid?”, you’ve just found your answer. When choosing their beans, they go for low-altitude beans and they roast them for a long time. If you manage to get your hands on this low acidic coffee, you will find hints of chocolate, tangerine, and nuts. Luckily, you can save yourself time with Volcanica because they offer pre-ground beans as well as whole beans. Also, the more you buy, the cheaper the coffee becomes.
Lucy Jo’s Coffee
Coming mostly from Brazil and Sumatra, Lucy Jo’s Coffee roasts up a variety of different blends to tantalize your taste buds. Unsurprisingly, their Sumatra dark roasted coffee tastes the best, with undertones of almond and chocolate. The reason it’s low in acid content is that Sumatra beans are grown at one of the lowest elevations. No matter what your ideal coffee is, you’ll find a blend to satisfy your taste at Lucy Jo’s Coffee.
Life Boost Organic
If you’re on the search for a low acid content coffee, you should stop your search at Life Boost Organic. This coffee draws its beans from Nicaragua, which helps them grow in low humidity where no microbes and toxins can sneak in. Although they have three different roasts, it’s the lighter one that tastes the best because it holds more of a fruity flavor. If you’re looking to almost eradicate the acid levels, then you should look towards the dark roast. As well as having low levels of toxins and tasting great, this brand comes from a single farm, which means it’s unique. There’s no surprise that this awesome brand of coffee sells out.
Healthwise is unique because they claim that their coffee sits at 6.18 on the PH scale, which is almost neutral. Due to the intense flavor, Healthwise encourages people to use a little less water in their brew. This coffee does have a small downside, in that the flavor can come across weak. However, if you need to add a dash more coffee into the mix, you can easily solve this problem. That being said, a flavor sacrifice is a small price to pay if you suffer regularly from acid reflux.
Coffee is an incredible drink that contains natural acids. The acid content of the beans is influenced by where they are grown, how they are roasted, and how they are brewed. Unfortunately, because of the acid level of coffee, some people suffer from acid reflux. Fortunately, these sufferers don’t need to suffer in silence. If you pledge allegiance to one of the brands above, you can say goodbye to acid reflux.