Coffee is a great drink. It’s hugely popular, and it gives many people the extra boost they need to get going in the morning. There’s pretty much a coffee drink out there for everyone. Unless you suffer from acid reflux or heartburn. Since coffee contains acids, it can wreak havoc on those people who suffer from these conditions. But there is hope! If you’ve wondered how to make coffee less acidic, then keep reading for solutions.
Coffee naturally contains acids
The way we measure acidity is by the pH scale. It runs from 0 to 14, 0 being the most acidic. Coffee falls at a 5, which is pretty high, though not as high as some fruit juices or even some sodas. The issue with coffee is that the caffeine in the coffee combined with the acidity raises the acid content of your stomach, creating heartburn.
But coffee is naturally acidic, and that’s what gives the tart, bright jolt that many coffee drinkers love. Not to mention, the natural acids contain the health-boosting antioxidants that can make some drinks a healthy choice. Which is why it can be so disappointing for those people who can’t handle the acidity that coffee dishes out.
Low Acid Coffee
There are some options, though, for those people who want their coffee but not the acidity. Some coffee brands do have low acid coffee. These come about in a few ways: if the waxy outer shell of the bean is removed before it is roasted, it can help reduce the acidity level. And roasting some beans slower, at a lower temperature, and even interrupting the roasting process are all ways that low acid coffee can be created.
Unfortunately, these methods do have downsides.
If you’re someone who desperately wants the pleasing scent of fresh coffee in the morning, then perhaps a low acid coffee isn’t for you. You don’t need to do any specific tricks to lower the acidity and simply can go for a dark roast coffee. That’s because the darker the roast of the beans, the less acid they contain. This is why darker roasts tend to be more bitter while lighter roasts are brighter. It’s the acidity that causes that brightness. If you’re looking for an easier way to get less acidic coffee, try a darker roast and see if it’s enough to give you relief. But if you’re someone who prefers a medium or lighter roast, this may not be a great option for you or your palate.
Where the coffee grows
Another fun fact about coffee beans is that where they’re grown, matters. Just like grapes used to make wine, the values and flavors of coffee beans vary depending on the location they’re grown, the soil, the weather and temperature, and growing conditions.
One of the most interesting facts about coffee beans grown at lower elevations is that they naturally contain less acid.
Grind Size & Extraction
How you prepare your coffee can have a big difference in the acidity level of your coffee as well. The longer you brew your coffee, the more time it has for the acid to extract into the drink, so if you’re suffering, try reducing the brewing time of your coffee and see if it helps.
Grind size of the beans can make a difference, too, though there are some arguments about this. Some people say that a fine grind allows more acids to accumulate, making for higher acidity, but others say the opposite is true: that a coarse grind slows down the rate of coffee extraction, which means more acidity. Either way, if you suffer from too much acidity or sourness, try changing the grind of your beans to coarser or finer and see if it makes a difference for you and your stomach.
But if none of the above methods make a difference for you, there are some other tips and tricks you can try to help reduce the acid content of your coffee. Specifically, there are things you can add to your coffee when brewing or when drinking. Things you can add to your grounds when brewing to lower the acidity can include:
- Acid reducers: These are store-bought additives that come in brand names such as Coffee Tamer and others
- Baking soda: Baking soda naturally reduces acids and is a staple most people already have in their home
- Almond milk: Adding almond milk to your coffee can help fight the acid
- Eggshells: Eggshells have long been a weapon used in brewing less acidic coffee. It’s a tried and true method
- Pinch of salt: A pinch of salt in the grounds can help counteract not only the acid but also chlorine from your tap water
If you’ve been wondering how to brew coffee to make it less acidic, well, one of the other methods you could rely on is cold brewing instead of the usual drip coffee brewing. Cold brewing involves using a coarse grind and letting it sit in a jar with water in your refrigerator overnight, or for at least 12 hours. Cold brewing, since it uses cold water, creates a drink that is less bitter and more rounded, and also up to 70% less acidic.
But it’s important to know that while cold brewing may be the solution for many people needing less acidic coffee, cold-brewed coffee also has fewer antioxidants, and therefore less of a health boost than hot brewed coffee has.
Hopefully, your questions about how to make the coffee taste less acidic have been answered. While high acid coffee may wreak havoc on some drinkers’ digestive systems, there are a lot of tricks and options you can try to see if it makes a difference for you. Whether you choose a darker roast, include additives to your beverage, or even try cold brewing, there’s probably something in this list that will let you enjoy your coffee without worrying about the burn of reflux.