Coffee in its nature is an acidic substance and the acids are what gives the drink its unique flavors. Coffee with more sweet tones tastes less acidic than more bitter coffee flavors, but all coffee is acidic overall.
What About that Acidic Taste?
Some people simply find the taste or flavor of many coffees to be too bitter and have acidic overtones, so when they talk about low acid coffee, they are simply looking for a roast or brand which doesn’t have that type of taste.
For this issue, it’s worth trying out different roasts and strengths of coffee and perhaps sweetening the flavor with cream or milk and sugar, until you can find that perfect cup of coffee that tastes good to you.
If it’s just about the acidic flavor, then a coffee with a lower pH level won’t make any difference. It’s not about the actual acid levels, but the taste of the coffee, so it will just be a case of finding coffee that you like.
What if Coffee Gives Me Stomach Problems?
As an acidic substance, there is a chance that coffee can cause stomach problems for people who are sensitive to acid and this is when switching to a low acid coffee could be beneficial for your health, and to allow you to continue to enjoy coffee.
So if you have any kind of gastric issue and find yourself suffering from acid reflux, or heartburn, or other discomforts after drinking your favorite cup of coffee, it might be worth looking into moving to a low acid coffee instead.
There are many different foods that can cause gastric issues, however, so you might need to look at your diet overall and get advice from a doctor or nutritionist for advice, before assuming it’s your coffee, just in case it’s another cause.
However, if you have decided to look for low acid coffee the good news is that there are several options on the market. It’s important to understand that within the coffee, it tends to be chlorogenic acids that cause the issues, but these aren’t picked up in the pH level, so you can’t tell by that alone if coffee is low acid.
There is a general view that coffee grown at lower altitudes tends to have a lower acidic level and the countries which produce the lower acidic level coffees are generally thought to be Nicaragua, Brazil, and Sumatra.
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So, if you look out for coffees from these countries you are in with a good chance of finding one that is a low acid coffee. Other issues which are thought to affect a coffee’s acidity include the way the beans are processed and those which are processed more naturally tend to be lower in acidity.
According to some studies, acidity level can also be impacted by the way your coffee is brewed even with the conventional coffee maker, and they showed that the method which produced the lowest acidity of coffee overall was using a French Press.
What About Cold Brew Coffee?
Again, studies have proven that cold brew coffee has around the same acidic level as normal coffee, so it is not a low acid coffee. Some believe it is, but that may be to do with how it tastes. A cold brew certainly tastes far less acidic or bitter than some hot coffees, but this is not related to the pH levels.
There is a belief that darker roasted coffee is generally less acidic because the roasting process gets rid of the acids, however, there is not much scientific evidence to back up this claim so it might be a case of trial and error when it comes to drinking different roasts.
However, one study did find that dark roasts contain more of a particular compound which seems to help block the stomach from producing acid, so this might be why darker roasted coffees cause fewer stomach upsets.
Darker roasted coffees can contain double the amount of this compound, compared with lighter coffees so while they are not necessarily low acid coffees, they might be better for people with sensitive stomachs for this reason.
What About if I Drink Milky Coffee?
One way to lower the acidity in the coffee you are drinking is to add milk as it balances out the pH level. If you drink lattes or you like a flat white or any other type of milky coffee like cappuccino, then the chances are that your coffee is low acid coffee due to that fact.
When it comes to low acid coffees, if it’s about the acidic taste of the coffee, rather than the effect on your stomach, it might be a case of trying out different brands, blends, and roasts until you find one that hits the spot.
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You could always visit a coffee roaster and talk to them for their advice on which type of coffee might suit your tastebuds, or you might want to think about adding milk or other sweeteners to reduce that acidic taste.
However, if it’s about gastric issues and the impact of coffee on your stomach and you want to stop having to reach for medication every time you drink one, then that’s a completely different story and you might need to seek advice.
Again, you can try talking to an independent coffee house and asking them what they would recommend as they are experts in all the different types of coffee and what different roasts and brewing methods involve.
It might be as simple as changing your roast and the way you brew your coffee, or it might be that the only way you can drink coffee without upsetting your stomach is by opting for one that is made with milk.
There are low acid coffees out there and the belief that coffees from lower altitude countries are likely to be lower in acid, however, it will really come down to trial and error to find out which ones have an impact on your stomach, and which don’t.