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The Scoop on Low Acid Coffee: Is It Worth Trying?

The Scoop on Low Acid Coffee: Is It Worth Trying?

Low acid coffee is normal coffee that has been treated in such a way that it removes the natural acid content of coffee beans. Or the coffee that is naturally low in acid due to the region it’s grown in. This helps people who have GERD or sensitive stomachs to enjoy coffee without any acid reflux or discomfort.

Coffee is one of the most loved beverages around the world due to its caffeine content.

It gives you that instant boost of energy that wakes you up when you don’t feel like leaving bed early in the morning. Plus, it’s all organic. But one predominant feature of coffee is that it’s acidic. You can read about coffee’s acidity in my other article where I talk about it more in-depth.

That’s why there is low acidic coffee available in the market.

In this article we’ll learn everything about low acid coffee and why is it better for your stomach.

So, let’s dive deep into it. 

Are There Low Acid Coffee?

black coffee on top of roasted coffee beans

There is plenty of low acidic coffee available in the market. But there are two kinds of low acid coffee. One that has been treated to be low in acids and the other one that is grown in such a region that makes it less acidic.

Coffee is an organic drink that comes from a plant. The coffee plant is grown all over the world in different regions and produces a variety of various coffees. One of the natural attributes of coffee is that it’s acidic.

Though the pH level of coffee is 4 or 5, which isn’t quite a lot, if someone is habitual of drinking more than 1 cup in a day, that accumulation in the stomach throughout the day can cause discomfort.

The acid and the caffeine combined in the coffee cause laxative effect in our digestive system which can even cause diarrhea or discomfort in the stomach. That’s why there are low acid coffees.

One kind of low acid coffee is that is grown in regions that have lower acid content. These regions include:

  • Brazil
  • Guatemala
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Peru
  • Sumatra, an island in Indonesia

And the other kind is the ones that are treated to reduce their acid content. Some famous brands for low acid coffee include:

  • Lifeboost Coffee Organic Medium Roast
  • Volcanica Low Acid Coffee Blend
  • Java Planet
  • Lucy Jo’s Coffee
  • Tieman’s Fusion Coffee
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What Coffee Does Not Cause Acid Reflux?

Cold brew coffee, low acid coffee, and dark roast coffees all do not cause acid reflux. This is because there is much lesser acid content in each of these, therefore no acid accumulation in the stomach takes place.  

Before discussing what coffee doesn’t cause acid reflux, let’s first discuss what coffee causes acid reflux and the acids present in coffee.

Coffee is naturally high in antioxidants. All of these antioxidants are found in the chlorogenic acid in coffee. This is one of the largest compounds found in coffee.

Raw or unroasted coffee contains a very high concentration of this acid. As the raw coffee starts to get roasted this acid starts to diminish. But the by-product of coffee roasting and chlorogenic acid burning off produces quinic acid. Though chlorogenic acid is not completely diminished, it just gets cooked away and is replaced by quinic acid. 

So, now coming back to what causes acid reflux. Both of these acids trigger acid reflux or people with GERDS get even more acid reflux than normal.

Caffeine is to be blamed as well cause it damages the stomach lining and lets your stomach produce more hydrochloric acid which is responsible for digesting your food in your stomach.  And when all of these acids are present in your stomach, they can cause acidity, severe heartburn, and major acid reflux which can lead to diarrhea, upset stomach, discomfort, and cramps.

a white mugged spilled with dark roasted coffee beans

And now, what coffee does not cause acid reflux?

Coffee with lower acid content will not cause acid reflux. These coffees include cold brew coffee and low acid coffee. Cold brew coffee is a way of making coffee using cold water. Coffee’s like iced coffee, Japanese style iced coffees, and Kyoto cold brew all are cold brews.

Instead of using nearly boiling water, room temperature water or ice is used to brew cold coffee. This results in much lesser acidic coffee with almost no harshness.

Low acid coffee is normal coffee beans that are treated to extract most of the acid out from the coffee. But keep in mind they’re not completely acid-free, but sure have a very lesser amount of acid in them compared to regular coffee. Another kind of coffee that will not cause acid reflux is dark roasted coffee.

You might be familiar with all kinds of roasts. Each kind of roast level produces a different flavor as well as reduces the acid content. The lighter the roast the more acidic it is. The darker the roast the lesser the acid content.

So, in conclusion, if you’re on the lookout for coffee that might not cause acid reflux drink cold brew coffee, low acid coffee, and dark roast coffee.

Here, I’ve made a table on the levels of roast, their respective taste, and their caffeine content for an 8 oz cup.

Roast NameRoast TypeCaffeine in 8 oz cupTaste
Cinnamon Light Roast120 mgAcidic
New EnglandLight Roast100 mgComplex Acidity
AmericanMedium Roast95 mgLittle Sweeter
City Medium Roast90 mgBalanced With Acidity
Full City Dark Roast 88 mgRoasty Flavors
ViennaDark Roast 85 mgBittersweet and Caramel
FrenchDark Roast 80 mgBitter With No Acidity
ItalianDark Roast 80 mgBurnt Notes
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How Do You Make Coffee Less Acidic?

There are several ways to make coffee less acidic by using a dark roast, adding a pinch of salt, brewing coffee with cold water, adding milk or cream, and using a paper filter in your coffee. 

The most convenient way of getting your daily caffeine fix is by drinking coffee. Whether you love a strong americano or a creamy cappuccino, it’s all acidic. And as discussed above, acid accumulation can cause trouble in your digestive tract. One way of having less acidic coffee is by buying low acid coffees.

The other way is to buy coffee grown at a specific location. But if you can’t access one or want to make your already brewed cuppa into a less acidic version here are some ways in which you can achieve that:

Dark Roast Coffee Bean

If you use coffee grounds made from dark roast coffee beans, they are already less in acid content. Because as the roasting proceeds, the acid cooks away. Keep in mind, it isn’t acid-free but comparatively, it’s very little.

Add a Pinch Of Salt

Before grinding your coffee grounds for brewing your coffee at home, you can add a generous pinch of sea salt to your grounds. Then grind it up as per your liking and brew your coffee how you normally would. You see, salt on the pH scale is a base. This means that the addition of salt in coffee will neutralize the acidic effects. Thus creating a less acidic coffee.

Read more about this here.

Cold Water For Brewing

Very hot temperatures tend to extract more acid from the coffee grounds. So, using cold water for brewing coffee like Japanese iced coffee or any cold brew will contain very little acid. And as a bonus, it’s also not very harsh plus tastes quite yummy!

Addition Of Dairy

An at-home remedy for heartburn or acid reflux is cold milk. The same rule applies to coffee. If you’re drinking straight-up coffee, then the splash of cold dairy milk or heavy cream can actually lessen the harshness and the effects of acid in the coffee.

pouring cream into black coffee

Use Paper Filter

When brewing your coffee, the use of a paper filter can reduce the acid content. You see, the paper filter doesn’t let any oils or unwanted coffee compounds pass through. Therefore, eliminating a good amount of the coffee acid.

Lastly, many people recommend adding baking soda to your coffee. It works like salt but I don’t prefer it because it gives an unpleasant aftertaste.

Is Light Roast Coffee Less Acidic?

Light roast coffee is the most acidic among the different roast levels of coffee. This is because it’s only lightly roasted therefore the chlorogenic acid hasn’t dissipated away.

This whole roasting process transforms the coffee into what we’re used to burning away the acid content. Chlorogenic acid is one of the largest compounds and the main acid present in coffee.

Once the raw coffee beans start to roast, this gets converted into quinic acid. But since some get cooked off and the rest converts to quinic acid, the acid content is reduced overall. So this means the darker the roast, the lesser the acid.

Therefore, the lighter roast coffee has a very high content of acid. That even when your brew it, you will taste the sourness coming from the chlorogenic acid.

Is Low Acid Coffee Better For Your Stomach?

Low acid coffee is better for your stomach because it doesn’t irritate your stomach, doesn’t cause excessive acid accumulation in your stomach, has no heartburn, no acidity, and no diarrhea.

Coffee has the potential of giving you the runs. And most people experience this on a daily basis. Though caffeine is also partly responsible for that, the acidic level of coffee is to be blamed as well.

Majorly, coffee’s chlorogenic acid and quinic acid are not a threat to your body. But if you drink two or more cups of coffee in a day, then they can be.

Plus, if you drink coffee on an empty stomach or have a sensitive stomach, then the acid from the coffee can be a problem. It can cause, damage to the lining of your stomach, acid reflux, pains, discomfort, acidity, heartburn, and mild to major diarrhea.  

So, if you think you might be experiencing such effects, coffee can be the contributor.

I found this amazing video to watch on exactly this.

a lovely insight

What Do I Think?

Coffee in general is very acidic. Drinking one or two cups throughout the day shouldn’t be a problem. But if you consume multiple cups throughout the day then this acid can lead to acid reflux and heartburns.

Low acid coffee is coffee that is treated to reduce the acid content. But if you can’t find one, choose a coffee grown at lower elevations cause they tend to have less acid. Or if you already have coffee at home the addition of salt or dairy like milk or cream can help calm down the acidic levels of coffee.

Plus, brew your coffee from dark roast coffee beans or make cold brew at home. This way you can omit most of the acid.

Other Article

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