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How to Make Coffee Less Acidic

Is coffee acidic? And is it the reason why I get nasty acid reflux every day?

Yes, coffee contains some acids that play a crucial role in its flavor. Unfortunately, some of these acids can cause heartburn in some coffee lovers. Numerous studies tell that coffee can cause your lower esophageal sphincter to relax. And this can increase the likelihood of you getting heartburns as it gives an opening for acid in the stomach to go back up to the esophagus.

In the U.S. alone, over 15 million Americans get heartburns every day. Therefore, avoiding your favorite drink should not be the only solution for avoiding acid reflux. After all, there are numerous ways to reduce the acidic levels of your cup of Joe without it affecting your health.

So if you want to know how to make coffee less acidic, please read on…

What Makes Coffee Acidic?

coffee latte with coffee beans and coffee grounds

When talking about the acidity of your cup of coffee, we are not referring to its sour taste. In fact, the sour taste can be the outcome of a poor extraction process. Instead, we are talking about its pH level, which is normally about 5. The pH of the lighter roast is about 4.7. Coffee grounds contain more than 850 compounds that contribute to your favorite beverage’s unique aroma and taste.

As it is brewed, coffee releases about nine major acids. Some of these acids include palmitic, linoleic, acetic, quinic, chlorogenic, citric, malic, and lactic. These acids play a vital role in the acidity level as well as the unique flavor of the cup of coffee.

Variation in Acidity

There are a number of factors that play a key role in the acidic level of your coffee, and some of them are:

  • The Manner of Roasting

The roasting temperature and duration affect your coffee’s acidity level. A study conducted by Joon-Kwan Moon et al. confirmed that the hotter and longer the coffee beans are roasted, the lower the chlorogenic acid content. In addition, this study suggested that lighter roast has a higher acidity level than darker roasts.

  • Cold Brew or Hot Brew

Many studies confirm that cold-brewed coffee is less acidic than the ones prepared using hot water. Brewing time also affects the acidity of the beverage, with shorter brewing time creating a more acidic cup of coffee.

  • Coffee Grinding

Coffee ground size also plays a major role in the acidity of your beverage. Because bigger grounds have a smaller surface area relative to volume, less acid is extracted during the brewing process. This means that you can expect to produce more acidic coffee when you use finer grounds.

Are All Coffee Grounds Highly Acidic?

coffee beans and coffee grounds

There are measures you can take to ensure that you drink less acidic coffee. And in some cases, you won’t have to even worry about altering the brewing procedure. After all, there are lots of roasted and ground beans that you can choose that are naturally less acidic.

1. Coffee From Certain Parts of Asia and South America Are Less Acidic

There are numerous types of coffee from different parts of the world that vary in acidity level. Therefore, selecting the right option can guarantee you a less acidic beverage. In fact, to lower the acidic level of their products, some manufacturers process their beans with solvent or steam.

On the other hand, some coffee beans are naturally less acidic, thanks to the place where they were planted. For example, the ones from the Caribbean, India, Brazil, Hawaii, and Sumatra are less acidic.

2. Dark Roast Coffee Beans

Out of all the three varieties of roast coffee, the dark ones have minimal acidity. These dark roasts experience many chemical changes that lower their acidity during roasting. The roasting process is known to remove the acids, so the more it’s roasted, the less acidic the coffee will be. Medium and lighter roasts cause your stomach lining to secrete more acid than the darker ones.

3. Coarsely Ground Beans

Finely ground beans are the best option for people who prefer over-extracting their coffee beans. Unfortunately, this also means that they extract more acid resulting in a highly acidic beverage. Therefore, to lower the acidity of your drink, you should opt for coarsely ground coffee.

How to Make Your Coffee Less Acidic

pouring brewed coffee in a glass

There are numerous proven methods that can help you lower your beverage’s acidity levels. Some of these methods include:

1. Cold Brewing Coffee

As aforementioned, the brewing temperature and duration also play a major role in the acidity level. Therefore, another ideal option for making the coffee less acidic is by cold-brewing your cup of Joe. Cold-brewing is an effective method that will leave you with a sweet cup of coffee, but you have to be very patient. When cold-brewing your coffee, you should do the following:

Determine the Amount of Coffee You Plan to Brew

The ratio of cold water to ground coffee varies, depending on a person’s preference. But a great place to start is ¾ of grounds for eight cups of water. Start by measuring the right quantities and pouring your coffee in a fine mesh bag. Secure the coffee in the mesh bag to prevent the grounded beans from pouring.

Insert the Coffee in a Pitcher With the Right Amount of Water

Add the 4 cups of water to the pitcher before inserting the coffee in it. You can also add coffee into the pitcher instead of using a mesh bag.

Store the Pitcher in the Refrigerator

The cold brewing process lasts for more than 12 hours; therefore, you should be very patient. For excellent results, you can experiment with numerous brewing times. You can start with the recommended 12 hours before increasing the brewing time to get the right flavor.

Remove the Mixture From the Fridge

Once you find the perfect flavor, you can remove the pitcher from your refrigerator and get rid of the coffee. Make sure you squeeze the mesh bag to extract the caffeine flavors before throwing them away. If you added coffee directly, you could sieve the mixture.

Dilute the Highly Concentrated Coffee With Cold, Warm or Hot Water

The brewed caffeine solution is highly concentrated; therefore, try and dilute it before drinking it. The amount of water used to dilute the brewed drink will depend on your preference. If you prefer a cold beverage, you can add cold water or even add some ice cubes.

Unlike hot-brewed coffee, cold brew doesn’t go stale even when refrigerated for over 2 weeks. So you can store the remaining concentrate in the refrigerator and enjoy it the next morning. This means that you can brew more than enough coffee for a week and store it in your fridge.

2. Brew Your Cup of Coffee Grounds With Eggshells

Another proven solution for lowering the acidity level in coffee is brewing with eggshells. Eggshells contain alkaline calcium, which can neutralize the acids in coffee.

MIX Water, Eggshells, and Water in a Pan and Boil

Add some crushed eggshells to the right amount of water and ground coffee in a pan. Place the pan on the burner and turn it on, and allow the mixture to boil for a few minutes. Cover the pan partially as you wait for it to start boiling.

As soon as it starts boiling, you can lower the heat and cover the pan. Let it simmer for about seven minutes and allow the eggshells more time to react with the acid in the coffee ground.

Let the Mixture Stand for 2 Minutes

After the simmering process, you can switch off the burner and remove the pan. Let the pan stand for a couple of minutes as the grounds settle.

Strain the Solution

After the coffee has settled, you can strain the mixture into a jug using a fine-mesh sieve. And then serve the coffee while warm.

3. Add Acid Reducer

Another effective method for lowering the acid level in your coffee is by adding an acid reducer. Acid reducers are inexpensive, and they can neutralize some acids in coffee. They will work perfectly without affecting the flavor of your beverage. And if you pick a high-quality product, it can lower the acidity level by about 90%, making sure that you don’t suffer from acid refluxes.

4. Use Salt, Baking Soda, or Milk

There are other methods to lower the acid level of coffee. One common method is adding milk. Milk can easily lower the acidic level within seconds, but darker roasts will require a larger amount of milk.

You can also use a pinch of salt or baking soda to reduce the acidity of coffee. Salt can improve the taste of your coffee, but be careful when using it as too much salt can alter the taste of your coffee.

Final Thoughts

Irrespective of how you prepare your coffee, your beverage will have some level of acidity. Unfortunately, the high acidic level can harm some people. For example, high acidic levels are known to cause heartburn in some coffee lovers. Fortunately, not all types of coffee beans have high acidity levels. Some varieties of coffee are naturally less acidic, like the ones from the Caribbean and Hawaii. So, it will be best to opt for these types of coffee beans instead of the highly acidic roasts.

There are numerous effective ways that can help you make coffee less acidic. But one of the simplest and most effective methods that people have used for decades is adding creamer or milk. The calcium in milk can neutralize the acidity in coffee, reducing the likelihood of getting heartburns. The brewing process also plays a key role in bringing down the acidity of coffee.

All of the methods mentioned above will help you enjoy a cup of coffee without worrying about the bad effects of acidity. Choose the method that works best for you, and carry on with your love for coffee.

Avatar for Giada Nizzoli

Born in Italy but currently brewing from the UK, Giada is a highly-caffeinated coffee expert with a soft spot for espressos. She worked in cafés for years and has recently fallen in love with the practical Kalita Wave (just don’t tell her Italian moka pot!).

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