Is Coffee Acidic Or Basic? – All You Need To Know

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As many of you know, coffee is often touted for its caffeine content. But what about the acidity? Is coffee acidic or basic? What does this mean for your morning cup of joe? How do different brewing methods influence the acidity of your brew? This blog post will explore these questions and more! Scroll down for details!

Is Coffee Acidic or Basic?

Coffee is acidic. In fact, the pH scale ranges 0 – 14, with any value registering seven or above considered basic. Acidic solutions have been shown experimentally in studies by other scientists to be more bitter than their normal counterparts and cause chemical changes within our bodies when consumed!

Acidic compounds are released during the brewing process of coffee. These acids give this beverage a unique flavor and pH level, which ranges from 4.85 –  5.10 PH. Caffeinated drinks are more acidic than they seem. 

Coffee has a pH balance of five and is situated right in the middle on this scale. You might not know this, but adding water to your coffee will make it weaker.

Coffee is a mild drink for most people, but if you’re sensitive to caffeine or have an allergy, it’s best not to consume the caffeinated varieties. For those who find themselves unable to enjoy coffee without experiencing stomach distress and other negative effects from its acids (like bananas), there exist decaf coffees that will suit them just fine!

On the other hand, is coffee an acid or a base?

Bases have pH levels higher than seven, and coffee has been found to have a piddling level of five!

What Types of Acid Does Coffee Contain?

Acids in coffee include the nine major, listed based on lowest to highest concentration: palmitic, linoleic, phosphoric, malic, lactic, acetic, citric, quinic, and chlorogenic.

Palmitic acid

Palmitic acid is a type of fatty acid found in many foods, and it’s an important part of storing energy. This saturated fat can be found within meats like beef or pork as well dairy products such as butter from cows’ milk. These all contain this compound too!

Note: Coffee is a beverage that can be enjoyed in moderation. It contains some beneficial properties, such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances, which may prevent chronic diseases like heart disease or type II diabetes mellitus – even when you add cream!

Linoleic acid

Linoleic acid is a type of unsaturated fatty acid that can help reduce cholesterol levels, improve heart health and blood pressure. It’s found in many different foods like sunflower oil (including other oils), soybean oil, seeds, and nuts, to name just some!

Phosphoric acid

In addition to being a major ingredient for making dentin, this acid helps your teeth and bones as well. It can be found in meat like pork or even chicken eggs!

Malic acid

Malic acid is the key to a healthier you! It helps your body to get rid of dead skin, and saliva production increases. Fruits like apricots, pears, cherries, or plums contain this powerful acid. 

Lactic acid

Lactic acid is a by-product of fermented foods such as yogurt and pickles. It helps break down lactose, which makes these items easier for your body to digest!

Acetic acid

Acetic acid is a naturally occurring organic compound found in many foods and condiments. It has been used for centuries to preserve food, kill bacteria, prevent inflammation or corrosion of metal containers – even sterilize surgical instruments!

Citric acid

Citric acid is an amazing substance. Not only does it have the ability to kill harmful bacteria, but citric acid also preserves food! Found in grapefruits, lemons, oranges, and limes.

Quinic acid

Quinic acid is a powerful antioxidant that can help fight off the effects of aging. It has anti-neuroinflammatory properties, so it’s best enjoyed by people who are looking for protection from inflammation in their bodies or brains! Quinine comes mostly from apples but also some other fruits such as peaches and apples.

Chlorogenic acid

Chlorogenic acid is an important compound that helps to reduce the absorption of carbohydrates and lower the sugar level in your blood. It’s found in potatoes, apples (including Fuji), eggplants, and carrots.

What Factors Affect The Acidity Content In Coffee?

The Coffee Origin

Not all coffee is created equal. You want to make sure you purchase beans that have been grown in a way, so they contain the least amount of acid. Low-acid coffees are those that come from nonvolcanic or lower elevation areas, while high-acidity levels tend to occur with volcanic soils and higher elevations.

Some of the most delicious coffee can be found at high altitudes. Coffee grown in Ethiopia, for example, is naturally more acidic.

Roasting Process

As the beans are roasted, their content changes and this can affect acidity. Roasted beans will get darker and less acidic if you roast them for a long time. 

  • Blonde coffee beans have a higher acidity level than more roasted coffee. This results in the unique taste and aroma of light roast, which is perfect for people who want an easygoing environment with less caffeine intake or those sensitive to its effects on their stomachs!
  • With medium roasts, you get a light brown coffee with a medium acidity level.
  • The longer you roast a coffee bean, the darker it will be. The lowest acid levels can be found in dark roasted coffees as well – providing them with their unique flavor profiles that make people love drinking these types!

Ground Size

In addition to the type of beans you use, grinding also impacts acid levels. Coarse coffee grinds result in a weaker brew. Finely ground beans will give you the best cup of joe with more flavor and stronger acidity. Grinding your beans can reduce the amount of acid in them, as the beans turn into a rougher texture instead of a powdery one.

Brewing Process

Cold-brewed coffee is lower in acidity than its hot counterpart. This phenomenon has been linked to the brewing process. It also explains why cold brews have a sweeter flavor and more appealing aroma as well as a smoother finish compared to other types of joe such as espresso or French press.

From brew time to serving temperature, there are many factors that influence the overall acidity of your drink. Specifically, a shorter duration results in more acidic drinks.

How To Make Coffee Less Acidic?

Use Low-Acidic Coffee Beans To Make Coffee

These days, there is a plethora of low-acid coffee available. Some brands treat their beans with care and attention so they can maintain the natural flavor, while other types have been altered to be less acidic but still full-bodied enough for your taste buds!

A coffee’s acidity is a measure of its flavor and can affect how we perceive taste. Some brands use different methods to reduce this, like getting rid of part or all the “waxy” layer before roasting the beans. These coffees may still be full-flavored but less acidic than normal varieties, which makes it easier on your tongue!

The drawback of this method is that when you remove the outer layer from your coffee beans, their aroma will be affected as well. This means they won’t have as much flavor and fragrance in them to give off those wonderful smells we all love so much.

Use Cold Brewing

Some people prefer to drink cold brew coffee, and for a good reason. Cold-brewed drinks are less acidic than traditional hot brewed beverages because of the lack of acid in freshly boiled water used during the preparation process.

Cold brewing coffee is a great alternative to regular boiled methods. It removes the natural acids from your morning cup with less acid, so you can enjoy it for longer periods of time without feeling any stomach pains or discomfort.

Regulate The Hotness Of The Water

When you’re in a hurry, sometimes the last thing on your mind is brewing coffee. You might use warm water to make acidic beverages that are not great for your stomach or heart! To reduce this effect of excess acidity, take time out and control how hot the temperature gets.

If you want a full-bodied, rich cup of coffee with little acidity, then be sure not to heat your water above 180 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Add Salt or Baking Soda

When you add salt to your coffee grounds, the acidity in the brew is reduced. Often this helps reduce bitterness or flavor that causes an issue with reflux – but be careful! Adding too much will make flavors flat instead of creamy as desired.

When baking soda is added to coffee, it neutralizes the acids in order for you to drink less acidic beverages. Just remember to use the right amount for a good taste and prevent any unpleasant effects from sodium bicarbonate’s alkaline pH of 9!

Add Milk Or Cream

Add a touch of cream to your coffee for an extra layer on top. This is also another method that will work towards reducing the acidity in it, as dairy products obtain calcium that has been proven as being able to help balance out pH levels. Thus, lessening its sour taste!

Use Dark Roast Coffee

The acidity in coffee can have a strong effect on how your stomach feels after drinking, so you might want to avoid light roast if it upsets the balance. The dark roast will neutralize these acids and give off less of an acidic punch for those who are sensitive or don’t enjoy their drinks, changing flavor drastically when taken straight down!

Brew Coffee with Hard Water

Hard water has a higher concentration of calcium and magnesium than soft, this type of water tends to make for better coffee because they’re less acidic. Meanwhile, coffee made with soft water that contains high levels of sodium will be more acidic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Coffee Acidity Affect Your Health?

You might think that the acids in coffee are all it has to offer, but there’s much more. Coffee also contains essential nutrients and antioxidants, which can improve your health overall!

Coffee has many health benefits, and it’s a common misconception that drinking coffee will make you feel jittery. In fact, caffeine can help increase physical performance as well as energy levels by helping your body burn fat cells faster! 

But some people might pause before reaching for their next cup if they suffer from certain medical conditions, such as GERD,  Acid reflux, gastric ulcers, and IBS.

How Do You Measure The Acidity Or Basicity Of Coffee?

Litmus paper is an excellent way to test if your coffee is acidic or not; you can test it by dipping some of these papers in the coffee. If red, then this means that’s what happens with an acidity indicator – acids turn things red!

Meanwhile, a coffee’s acidity level is measured by how it tastes. The more acidic the bean, the sweeter and less bitter that flavor will be in your cup of joe or brew.

Why Does Coffee Taste Bitter When It Is Acidic?

Coffee beans are classified by their roast style. A light-roasted coffee bean will have lower bitterness and higher acidity than a darker roasted one, but both can still pack some pretty serious caffeine!

The longer and hotter it is roasted, the greater the variety of bitter compounds that will be generated due to breaking down acids.

Conclusion

So, is coffee acidic or basic? As you can see, coffee is not basic or acidic enough to be considered either. However, it does contain acids that are both strong and mild. This complexity in the acid content of coffee makes it hard for us to just give a one-size-fits-all answer about whether or not your drink is too acidic! 

If you want to make sure your cup stays on the less acidic side of things, try adding some milk (or creamer) – this will help cut down on any bitterness from over brewing. Another option would be using filtered water instead of tap water when brewing your morning joe. Both these options should help balance out those intense flavors while also reducing how much caffeine ends up in each sip!

Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California, Berkeley. And then, I finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). ugvermont.com is a website that I dedicate my whole heart to sharing all knowledge related to coffee. Read more