Quick Answer: Coffee is acidic!
In fact, there are nine major acids that contribute to the unique flavor of coffee which are released during the brewing process.
And these are the major acids found in coffee from lowest to highest:
So, a cup of coffee has an average pH value of 4.85 to 5.10 which is indeed considered acidic based on the pH scale.
There are several factors at play when it comes to the acidity level of coffee such as roasting, brewing, and ground size.
For the nitty-gritty details about the acidity level of your cup of coffee, keep reading!
Is Coffee Acid or Base?
Coffee is undoubtedly acidic!
The pH scale shows that this beverage is within the acidity level. It is considered slightly acidic and also less acidic than coffee, beer, and soda.
Coffee contains chlorogenic acid, tannins, and polyphenols which are all acidic properties. Plus, the brewing process releases nine major acids which add up to its acidity level.
Here’s a trick that I have learned to measure the acidity of my coffee:
Get a litmus paper and dip it in your cup of coffee. If it turns red, then your coffee is acidic!
Go ahead. Try it!
How Can I Make My Coffee Less Acidic?
The good thing is, coffee acidity can be reduced following these techniques:
- Go for cold brew instead of hot coffee.
- Use lower temp when brewing your coffee.
- Change to coarser grind.
- Brew your coffee longer.
- Go for dark roast.
But don’t overreact about coffee acidity because some of the acids in coffee are actually healthy for some people. For example, the chlorogenic acid in coffee, which makes the beverage taste bitter, can help you lose weight.
Watch this short clip to learn ways on how to reduce the acidity of coffee.
Is Black Coffee Acidic?
Yes, black coffee is technically acidic but not by much!
Black coffee has a pH level of 5 to 5.03 which is slightly acidic. To put it into perspective, black coffee and banana have similar pH levels.
So, to test how acidic other varieties of coffee are, I have done my experiment using a pH digital meter. And voila, here are the results!
|Types of Coffee||pH Level|
|Coffee with 2% Milk||6.20|
|Costa Rica Dark||4.90|
|Costa Rica Light||4.90|
Whichever type of coffee you prefer, I suggest you watch out for its pH level to avoid stomach irritations.
Is Coffee Alkaline?
No, coffee is not alkaline.
Alkali is a type of strong base and alkaline substance tends to have a pH higher than 7. Any substance with pH level that are below 7 are considered acidic and those with pH higher than 7 are considered alkaline or basic.
So, based on its pH value, coffee isn’t alkaline but slightly acidic.
For reference, here’s a list of natural alkaline drinks:
- pure water
- raw milk (both cow and goat)
- unsweetened tea (including herbal and green tea)
- natural or unsweetened fruits and vegetable juices with negative potential renal acid loads
If you’re curious to know the benefits of an alkaline diet, check out this study.
Is Coffee Bad for Acid Reflux?
Yes, coffee is bad for acid reflux.
Coffee is one of the most common triggers of acid reflux but it will only happen if you drink too much of it.
As per the US Food and Drug Administration guidelines, 400 mg caffeine per day is within the limit of safe consumption. That means going past 400 mg may lead to acid reflux, heartburns, and other caffeine-related symptoms.
Coffee heartburns or acid reflux happens when the muscle that connects to the stomach and esophagus is relaxed creating an opening for stomach acid that comes up to your esophagus. Gross!
I’m really sensitive to acidity and based on experience, cold-pressed coffee is the best way to have the least amount of acidity.
Here are other ways to avoid acid reflux:
- Choose low acid coffee.
- Choose shade-grown coffee.
- Add a dash of salt to your coffee.
- Go for cold brewed coffee.
- Use acid reducers.
What Drink is Good for Acid Reflux?
If you think you’re suffering from acid reflux due to drinking coffee, here are a few beverages that can help relieve it:
- skim milk
- plant-based milk
- fruit juice
- coconut water
- herbal tea
What Does Acidic Coffee Taste Like?
Acidic coffee tastes harsh and sour especially when over-roasted and brewed incorrectly.
This is the reason why there are guides on how to correctly roast and brew certain types of coffee. Baristas pay close attention to these to get the best out of the natural flavor of the beans without compromising the acidity of the mix.
Coffee beans should be brewed enough to extract all the good flavors out of it and make a balanced cup with just the right amount of acidity.
So, make sure to brew your coffee properly!
Why is Coffee Acidic But Bitter?
The topic of why acidic coffee tastes bitter has been the subject of different researches for coffee and it has proven to be a question that is not so easy to answer.
Since even researchers are having a hard time finding answers for this, alternatives are presented to balance out the bitter taste of coffee instead of having that harsh lingering taste.
The bitterness of the coffee can also be attributed to the impact of chlorogenic acids present in coffee beans. Also, how the beans are roasted affect how bitter tasting the coffee would get.
The following factors affect the bitter taste in your coffee:
- brewing method
- water temperature
Take note of these things when preparing your coffee or when deciding what coffee to get from the market.
Is Decaf Coffee Acidic?
Decaf coffee is acidic too but it is a better option if your stomach is sensitive to acid content.
The reason is, caffeine generates more acid in your stomach leading to heartburns and acid reflux. So, if you’re suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), decaf coffee is definitely a better choice.
I prefer decaf that goes through the mountain water process because it removes the caffeine safely without the use of harsh chemicals.
Moreover, here are my top picks for the best decaf coffee:
- Costa Rica Tarrazu Decaf Coffee
- Lion Gold Roast Decaf
- Organic Sumatra Swiss Water Decaf
- Organic Black Knight Decaf
- No Fun Jo Organic Decaf
I guarantee these are all really good and you won’t regret using any of them!
Is Coffee Acidity Bad for Teeth?
Coffee acidity is bad for your teeth because the acids in this beverage may erode the tooth enamel.
Enamel covers the outer surface of your teeth and is also the hardest substance in the human body. The acids found in food and liquids that you consume are the main causes of enamel erosion.
So, the outer layer of the enamel degrades over time if you consume acidic food and liquids. And that’s how you get bad teeth from drinking too much coffee!
However, one way to prevent it from happening is to make sure you clean your teeth properly after drinking coffee or any acidic drink.
The Bottom Line
So, coffee is indeed acidic in nature, or slightly acidic to be precise!
Your cup of coffee is loaded with various acidic properties which contribute to its unique flavor.
All the acids found in coffee can be both healthy and unhealthy for you. And they also make your coffee taste nice!
Moreover, not all acids can cause acidity and heartburn. So, rest your worries because the acidity level of coffee is not that bad at all.
Still, you should consume this beverage in moderation to avoid acid reflux, heartburns, caffeine overdose, and other health complications.
If you’re really sensitive to acid, I recommend going for cold brew or decaf coffee because they are slightly acidic in nature.
Of course, don’t forget to make your coffee less acidic and brush your teeth after!