Coffee acidity has always been a much-discussed topic in the world of Joe. Several coffee buffs are often found hunting ‘is coffee acidic’ or the ‘pH of Coffee’. They have fear of their coffee favoritism because of the beverage’s ‘probably’ acidic nature. But…is coffee harsh to your digestive system, or the reality differs from the era-old beliefs? This post reveals the truth!
With 1200 flavor components, coffee is the most complex food known to humankind. Except for red wine with 450 chemical compounds, nothing else is even considered coffee’s nearest competitor. While roasting, the different chemicals burn away, and others change, which adds more to the natural complexity of joe.
Ironically, this acts as both a blessing and a curse to the coffee industry – while on the one hand, you hold a stunning range of products, on the other hand, you tame the volatile compounds that put you into doubt – is drinking coffee worth it?
Now, talking about the coffee connoisseurs, they can’t imagine their life without the caffeine kick they get from coffee – what about them? If people smoke knowing that it’s deadly, leaving the habit of drinking coffee just because of a few downsides of the beverage stands nearly next to impossible, isn’t it?
Hang on! Coffee is not a killer; in fact, it does little to no harm to your health. So, no need to bang your head thinking of putting yourself out of coffee love. All you need to do is know a little more about the slightly adverse side of your favorite-most beverage to avoid even the slightest potential health risks after consuming your cuppa joe.
The main concern with coffee lies in its acidity, and here we are with today’s post to supply you with the appropriate knowledge related to coffee acidity. Read on!
Is Coffee Acidic – A Straightforward Answer
Though coffee is judged on how its different components are merged beautifully using the art of roasting to form a cohesive structure of flavor which we call ‘character, the acidity level in your cup still contributes to the debate. Is coffee acidic? Let’s find out!
To understand the acidity factor of coffee, it’s essential to gain some idea about the anatomy of the term ‘acidity.’ Typically, acidity is determined with the pH scales, which specifies how acidic a water-based solution is. Ranging from 0-14, this scale registers any solution acidic if it stands anywhere between 0-7. On the other hand, 7-14 is considered basic.
Now getting straight to the point, most coffee varieties are acidic as they have an average pH value of 4.85 to 5.10. It’s the brewing process that releases nine major acids that are considered the primary contributors to coffee’s out-of-the-box flavor profile. The following table describes the nine major acids in coffees, including their concentration.
Variations in Acidity
Indeed, the chart given above has helped you develop an idea about the presence of acid in coffee but hold on, what if I say that it’s just a glance. In fact, it’s an incomplete one! The relationship between acidity and coffee goes far beyond the reality shown in this chart – let’s crack the secret now!
The Method of Roasting and Acidity
One of the most vital aspects that helps determine the acidity in coffee is its roasting method. The roasting duration and temperature both play a significant role in determining the acidity of coffee. A study from BBC states that the longer and hotter coffee beans are roasted, the lower their chlorogenic acid levels are. Therefore, you can say that the lighter roasts are higher in acidity while the darker ones are lower.
The Art of Brewing and Acidity
The brewing method also affects the acidity of coffee. For example, the cold-brewed coffee variants are pretty lower in acidity if compared to hot coffees. In addition, brewing time also plays a vital role. To clarify, a shorter duration of brewing results in brightly acidic beverages, while a moderate duration guarantees a less acidic cup.
The Size of the Grounds and Acidity
The size of the coffee grounds somehow affects the acidity. Smaller grounds require greater surface area exposure as per the volume, which may lead to more acid extraction while brewing. To keep it simple, you can say that a finer grind produces a more acidic cup of coffee.
Know the Culprit – It’s the Stomach Acids (NOT the coffee acids)
Now you have already developed an idea about how the relationship between coffee and acidity is defined, and after knowing all this, the question that probably has started bothering you is, “should I worry about the acidity factor?” Well…you shouldn’t!
The key fact is that you should always keep in mind that the acid in the coffee is not the culprit; instead, it’s the acid in your stomach that plays all the game. When you drink coffee, it may somehow increase stomach acid, but that never means you will surely have indigestion.
A 2016 study found that drinking coffee led to increased stomach acids in 75% of coffee drinkers, but it didn’t cause any intestinal problems for them. So, drinking coffee is mostly safe for your intestine.
Tips to Remember if you are still Worried
If you are among those who have a little bit of obsession with digestion-related issues, here are a few tips to ensure you don’t get affected by the acidity factor of coffee. Of course, they nowhere include suggestions like omit coffee or sacrifice your coffee love!
- A lot of low acid coffee variants are available in the market. They are flavorful and delectable. Don’t mind relying on them. These low acid coffee variants are smooth, mild, and delicious.
- Pick up a darker roast! A lot of studies have evidenced the fact that dark roast coffee variants contain a balance of chemicals that produce fewer stomach acids. Besides, dark roast variants contain higher amounts of a chemical compound called NMP, and they have lower amounts of chlorogenic acids. This ratio prevents the stomach from producing more acid, ensuring lesser heartburn.
- Milk is helpful as well! When you add milk to your coffee, some of its proteins like α-Casein, β-casein, κ-casein, α-lactalbumin, β-lactoglobulin bind to CGAs. This prevents the surge in stomach acid, and the probable reason behind the same is that when CGA is bound by a protein, it can’t be easily absorbed by your body. (Learn about the pH level of Milk as well)
- You can also consider getting double fermented or unroasted coffee to avoid the acidity attack.
Finally, it’s all about agreeing on the hard fact – what works for you is meant for you! Sensitivity to coffee is a highly personal subject. While broad recommendations of scientific studies ensure that drinking coffee is utterly safe, some genetic factors may also influence a person’s reaction to the beverage.
If you can’t imagine yourself without cuppa joe, but acuity bothers you, simply switch to darker roasts, low-acid, double fermented, or green coffee as they are easier on your digestive system. You need to be clear about another factor that decaffeination has nothing to do with acidity, and here we have talked only about acidity.
So, spare caffeine, and don’t blame it illogically for giving your heartburn. Follow the simple formula – darker roasts/ low-acid coffee + milk = lesser acidity. Brew your cup sincerely and enjoy sipping delectable coffee day in and day out.
Moral of the story: Say no to acidity… not to coffee!