All You Need to Know About Acidity and Coffee


Coffee is arguably one of the most popular beverages in the world.

The rising popularity of coffee is attributed to its ability to provide a unique, powerful boost that lasts long.

The other reason is that most coffee styles are accentuated by a robust caffeinated flavor loved by many.

However, there is increasing worry among many about whether this revered drink contains harmful acidic content. The matter is primarily attributed to new scientific evidence, which suggests that foods containing high acidity levels may be a recipe for worsening health problems.

Such problems may include heartburn, hyper-acidity, and acidic reflux.

Let us take a little time to learn about the primary components of coffee and determine whether the beverage’s acidic qualities can be managed successfully.

How the Experts Determine Acidity Levels in Your Coffee

Generally, the level of acidity in a substance is determined using the pH Scale. Here, there is a determination of how basic or acidic a liquid solution is. A pH scale typically ranges between 0 and 14.

Any solution which registers a pH scale ranging between 0 to 6.9 is considered acidic. A pH of 7.0 is deemed neutral, while anything falling between 7.1 to 14 is classified as basic.

With an average pH value of between 4.85 and 5.10, most coffee varieties are considered intrinsically acidic.

Generally, pure coffee contains different types of acids. Green coffee consists of good acids and harmful acids. Some of the acids may be removed during the roasting process, while others can’t. Because it is impossible to eradicate acid levels in coffee, coffee enthusiasts should strive to find the right balance in acidity, aroma, and body components.

Get This Right; Acidity is Not Always a Bad Signal

To most people, the word “acid” raises eyebrows, especially when it comes to food. However, acidity is deemed a highly desirable attribute in the coffee world when seeking the best quality.

Indeed, it is undeniable that the natural acid in coffee may be a significant cause of discomfort to some. This is usually characterized by a burning sensation, either in the esophagus or stomach.

Happily, there are a few things that we can do to reduce these harmful acid levels.

Factors that Contribute to High Acidity Levels in Coffee

Several factors are directly responsible for high acidity in coffee. Among these factors are the brewing methods used, the coffee grind’s fineness, and the roasting duration.

Brewing Method

The method used in brewing coffee undoubtedly plays a significant role in determining acidity levels. For instance, cold-brewed coffee has a lower acidity level compared to hot coffee. The time taken in brewing is also closely associated with the level of acidity. On the other hand, longer brewing is likely to result in less acidic coffee; a shorter brewing duration is likely to result in highly acidic coffee.

Size of the Grind

The larger the grind’s size, the smaller the surface area is exposed to relative volume. A larger ground means that less acid will be extracted during the brewing. Therefore using a bigger grind may result in less acidic coffee.

The reverse is also true.

Duration of Roasting

The method used in roasting coffee is a significant determinant of acidity level. There is a very close relationship between roasting span and acidity. Coffee beans that have been roasted for a longer period typically exhibit lower acidic levels.

The Main Types of Acids You May Find in Your Coffee

Coffee contains different types of acids. Some of these acids may positively impact the beverage, while other acids have adverse effects on coffee quality.

Topping the list is citric acid, which is found in Arabica coffee. This type of coffee is usually grown in areas with higher altitudes. Citric acid is essentially the same acid found in citrus fruits. It is primarily responsible for the light fruity flavors in Arabica coffee.

Next on the queue is the fruitier, tastier chromogenic acid. This acid is a major casualty of the coffee roasting process since it can get completely lost. As a result, the darker varieties of beans are richer and more savory.

This is particularly true if the acid is lost during the roasting process.

The Most Common Acids in Coffee

Quinic Acid

This acid is common in darker roasts and coffee that has stayed unprocessed for a long period. Quinic acid has conclusively been confirmed as responsible for most stomach issues associated with drinking coffee. However, on a positive note, this acid has a rich dark flavor that many enthusiasts of this variety love to enjoy.

Acetic Acid

Another acid that is related to the late processing of coffee is acetic acid. Coffee grains that feature this type of acid have a strange vinegar-like taste with a sharp, unpleasant smell.

Nevertheless, if you consume coffee with low acetic acid levels, you are sure to savor piquant and pleasant flavors.

Tartaric Acid

Similarly, tartaric acid is the primary reason for sour coffee tastes, mostly if used in large quantities. However, if you use a smaller amount, it can produce a highly popular, grape-like, or winey flavor.

Malic Acid

Malic acid is also common in coffee. Associated with hints of stone fruit, it bears a flavor that is closely similar to the taste of apple or pears in coffee drinks.

Malic acid is common in almost all varieties of coffee.

Phosphoric Acid

Phosphoric acid is probably the tastiest variety of these acids. Most acids have tangy and bitter flavors, but phosphoric acid can change a sour-tasting citrus flavor to transform into sweeter mango or grapefruit-like taste.

Safely Enjoy the Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Coffee

Research has revealed that regular coffee drinking results in an 11% risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study attributes this fact to ingredients in coffee that are likely to affect hormones actively involved in body metabolism.

On the contrary, studies involving thousands of coffee drinkers have shown that people who take many coffee cups daily have a lower risk of stroke. Experts in heart diseases have attributed this phenomenon to the many benefits that result from the effects of coffee on the blood vessels.

The experts claim that coffee typically keeps blood vessels flexible and healthy and has even been proven to reduce the life-threatening risk of atherosclerosis, a major heart attack trigger.

The high levels of antioxidants prevalent in coffee are also known to prevent oxidative damage that results from cancer. Consequently, some studies have confirmed a relatively lower risk of liver cancer among regular coffee drinkers.

No wonder coffee drinking has also been associated with a longer lifespan. Recent research has revealed that people who regularly take coffee are less likely to die prematurely than their non-drinking counterparts.

The study, which involved about 208,000 adults, showed that certain acids found in coffee help fight inflammation, a significant cause of old age-related complications.

By slowing down metabolic reactions in the body, coffee has been credited with promoting a longer lifespan.

Shun the Negative Effects of Coffee Drinking

Doctors continue to warn people to avoid over-drinking and over-dependence on coffee. Indeed, too much coffee drinking has been associated with an increase in stunted growth and heart diseases.

Also worrying is that some can fall into a severe addiction, meaning they may become tolerant of high caffeine levels, resulting in an intense craving for coffee. Moreover, the possibility that coffee drinking can seriously damage the human digestive tract is a genuine cause for worry.

This can result in undesirables like heartburn, ulcers, and related ailments.

The above factors are a result of studies conducted decades ago. The studies revealed that heart diseases and mortality rates were extremely high among coffee drinkers than non-drinkers. However, these studies have been faulted for ignoring other factors responsible for poor health, including alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking.

Overall, such findings have resulted in a renewed love for the coffee.

Studies have shown little or no connection between the caffeine in coffee and other heart-related complications like heart attack, stroke, or irregular heartbeat.

The Experts’ Recommendation on How Much Coffee You Should Drink

Like overeating, too much coffee may result in problems, especially in the digestive tract.

Experts advise that you can take one cup of coffee per day. However, drinking up to a maximum of four mugs is still fine.

As you savor your cup of coffee, be keen to stick to these boundaries. All in all, taking a moderate amount of coffee is still considered one of the healthiest things you can ever do.

Take These Steps to Reduce Harmful Acidity in Your Coffee

Here are some excellent suggestions on what you need to do to tame the acid levels in coffee.

Use Low Acid Coffee Varieties

There is a rising demand for low acid coffee beans. These types of coffee beans are produced naturally in a way that ensures that acidic levels are inhibited. Others contain additional complements to aid in taming the burn.

Try Arabica Coffee

This variety contains relatively low levels of acid. Enjoy a greater starting point for lower acidity by using Arabica beans for a quality, delicious coffee drink.

Drink Coffee Grown in Low Altitude Areas

Coffee grown in tropical lying regions tend to be less acidic. The next time you buy coffee from a quality establishment, discreetly inquire about the altitude in which the coffee is grown.

Take Coffee Grown in Different Regions

Each region tends to produce coffee with unique characteristics. For example, Kenya is known for a high acidic coffee, while Brazil prides itself on low acidic coffee.

Learn to Enjoy Cold Coffee

Cold brewed coffee has a lower level of acidity than any other type of coffee. To get coffee that is over 70% less acidic, ensure that you do the brewing in cold water rather than hot water; this extracts flavors from the beans.

Be sure to get more rounded and less bitter coffee at the end.

 Add Milk or Cream

Another method of reducing the acidity of your coffee is to add milk or cream.

Since the milk is alkaline, it helps to balance out the PH level. However, this method is limited to lightly roasted beans, which blend perfectly well with soy milk.

To tone down the acid levels in your coffee, consider adding milk or a splash of cream.

Make Use of Eggshells

Eggshells are known to have high alkalinity content. If you add eggshells to your coffee, it helps to tame acidity and balance things, including reducing exaggerated or bitter flavors.

Before crushing the eggs, do a thorough rinsing.

You can then add the eggs safely to the coffee beans.

Final Thoughts: Acidity and Coffee

Many coffee varieties are generally acidic. The presence of acids in coffee may be insignificant for some coffee enthusiasts. However, if you have a medical condition such as acid reflux and IBS, it is advisable to exercise restraint when taking coffee.

Thus, if you must take coffee, take note of these suggested methods to reduce acidity levels. Yes, this guarantees that you will happily continue to enjoy your favorite coffee cup in a safe environment.

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