Ever had one of those days where the coffee tastes great, but it just doesn't sit well in your stomach? While your hot cup of joe is delicious and might wake you up, it can also make your stomach gurgle and make you uncomfortable or gassy.
This is due to the acidic nature of coffee, and such problems could occur from time to time. Yes, you could resort to not having coffee, but you absolutely don't need to. You're not going to let a little tummy ache get in the way of your morning coffee. Well, what if you could have your coffee and not have problems with acidity?
Read on, and we'll check if coffee is acidic, if so, how acidic it is, the substances that contribute to the acidity of the coffee, and how we can make it less so.
The Acidic Nature Of Coffee
Starting with the basics first, the acidity or alkalinity of a chemical compound is measured on the pH scale. The scale ranges from zero to fourteen. Neutral substances like water have a pH of seven, acidic substances have a pH value lower than seven, and alkaline substances have a pH level higher than seven.
Coffee has a pH level of about 4.85 to 5.10 depending on a variety of factors like the roast, grind, brewing method, etc. So yes, in a nutshell, coffee is indeed acidic, although only moderately. The complete brewing process eventually releases about nine primary acids: chlorogenic, quinic, citric, acetic, lactic, malic, phosphoric, linoleic, and palmitic—the flavor profile changes based on the concentration of each.
Factors That Affect The Acid Levels
There are many variables that affect the acidity of coffee. The four most significant variables are the roast of the coffee bean, the brewing method, the grind size of the coffee, and the location where the coffee cherry was grown.
The temperature and duration of the roasting process are major factors in determining the acidity of coffee. The higher the time and temperature of the roasting process, the lower the amount of chlorogenic acid. Thus, lighter roasts have a higher acidity, while the darker roasts have a lower level of acidity.
Similarly, the brewing process also affects the acidity of the coffee. Brewing methods with a longer duration result in a less acidic beverage. The temperature of the brewing process significantly affects the acidity of the coffee concentrate. Thus, cold brews produce some of the least acidic coffee concentrates, with their longer brewing duration and the lower temperature of the water used. However, if you want a less acidic hot coffee, you can increase brew time by using a French press.
Coming to the ground size. The finer the grind size means, the larger the surface area that is exposed which means a higher amount of acid is extracted in the final concentrate. Therefore, if you want a highly acidic coffee, go for a finer ground. But if you want a more mellow coffee, a coarser grind might be better for you.
And lastly, the altitude of the coffee farm and the soil in which the cherry is grown. Coffee at high altitudes tends to be more acidic. Doubly so for coffee that is grown in volcanic soil. Era Of We can help you out here by giving you the location of the farm and putting you in touch with the farmer so you can ascertain this information for yourself.
Now that we know the variables and factors that affect caffeine's acidity, we can control these variables to give us a less acidic coffee. There are multiple ways to lower the acidity in your coffee. Let's talk about some solutions for those who don't want to compromise on much but still not deal with the stomach issues. Here are some of them.
How To Reduce The Acid Levels In Your Coffee
Ways to reduce the acidity of the coffee without doing anything exotic or adding anything else to your morning coffee can be as simple as choosing dark roasts over light roasts. Drinking coffees made from cold brew concentrate, increasing the brew time by using a French Press, and going for a coarser grind or brewing the coffee at a lower temperature will also do the trick.
Low acid coffee is becoming more common than you would think. There is a growing variety of low acid coffee beans on the market that you can use. Most of these beans are naturally produced in a way that reduces their acid content. At the same time, others may have compounds added to them to ease the acidity.
If you're a consumer of commodity-grade coffee, it's recommended to switch to Arabica beans because they have a considerably lower amount of acid in them than their Robusta counterparts.
While many coffee lovers may not prefer it, you can also add milk or cream to your coffee. Milk is a natural, moderately alkaline substance and can balance out the pH level of your beverage. Although if you're a consumer of soy milk, it is advised not to mix it with light roast coffee since the milk will end up curdling and ruin the whole experience.
Offbeat Hacks To Make Your Coffee Less Acidic
Suppose you find yourself turning your nose up to the methods mentioned above, despair not. We still have a few tricks up our sleeves. Coming to the hacks that border a bit on the bizarre, a good way to reduce the acidity in your coffee is brewing your coffee with eggshells. Yup, you read that right.
Eggshells are naturally alkaline, and they can balance the over-extracted flavor out in the brewing method itself.
And the last method that you may have heard of, but which I personally still find a little weird. Add salt to your coffee grounds before brewing. This method works regardless of the brewing method and can even make your coffee taste a bit sweet. However, this does take a little trial and error to get right, but it'll surely do the trick.