Is Coffee Acidic? 10 Great Tips for Achieving The Ideal Balance In Your Brew

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter
Is Coffee Acidic

Is Coffee Acidic? Absolutely, coffee does contain acids, and they play a significant role in shaping its flavor profile. The acids found in Arabica coffee contribute to its rich and multifaceted taste, influencing aspects like sweetness, bitterness, and overall brightness.

However, beyond flavor, the acidity in coffee can also impact health, with both positive and negative effects. For instance, individuals prone to heartburn or those dealing with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease may experience exacerbated symptoms from acidic coffee. Conversely, coffee’s chlorogenic acids boast potent antioxidant properties, linked to various health benefits.

This article delves into these aspects and more, providing insights into coffee acidity, its effects on health, and strategies for managing it. Keep reading to discover a comprehensive overview of the acidity in coffee and how it can be harnessed to enhance your coffee experience.

Let’s start with a brief overview of pH. Acidity is measured using the pH scale:

  • A pH of 7 is considered neutral, like pure distilled water.
  • A pH between 0 and 7 indicates acidity, with lower numbers indicating higher acidity.
  • A pH between 7 and 14 indicates alkalinity, with higher numbers indicating higher alkalinity.

It’s important to note that the pH scale is logarithmic, meaning that a difference of one unit represents a tenfold difference in acidity.

Now, regarding the pH of coffee:

Is Coffee Acidic? Coffee typically falls around a pH of 5, although there can be some variation. Factors such as the coffee’s origin, variety, processing method, roast level, and brewing technique can all influence its acidity. Lighter roast coffees grown at higher altitudes tend to be more acidic, with pH values potentially as low as 4.5. Conversely, darker roasts grown at lower elevations may have a pH as high as 6.5.

Here are some examples of drinks with varying pH levels:
  1. Highly acidic drinks include orange juice (pH around 3), tomato juice (pH around 4), and Coca-Cola (pH around 2.6).
  2. On the more basic side, we have milk (pH around 6.6), almond milk (pH around 7.4), and, of course, water.

    IS COFFEE ACIDIC? Acidity plays a pivotal role in shaping the flavor profile of coffee, often lending descriptors such as bright, tangy, fruity, or lively. It primarily originates from two types of acids found in coffee beans – organic acids and chlorogenic acids – constituting approximately 11% of a green coffee bean and 6% of a roasted one.

    Acid in Coffee

    Is Coffee Acidic? Remarkably, there are 38 distinct organic acids present in coffee. Among these, citric, malic, and quinic acids predominate in green coffee, while formic, acetic, glycolic, and lactic acids are more prevalent in roasted beans.

    Certain acids, like phosphoric and malic acids, contribute to the perceived sweetness of coffee. Conversely, acids such as citric and acetic, while adding a desirable tartness in moderate amounts, can lead to an unpleasantly sour taste if present in excess. Achieving the right balance of acidity is crucial for crafting an exceptional cup of coffee.

    Acidity can either enhance or disrupt the balance of flavors in a cup of coffee. When acidity is excessively pronounced and veers towards sourness, it often results in an unfavorable taste that many find unappealing. Conversely, a lack of acidity can lead to a flat and uninspiring coffee experience.

    While chlorogenic acids may not significantly impact coffee flavor, they play a crucial role in its health benefits. Serving as antioxidants, chlorogenic acids are responsible for making brewed coffee a primary source of antioxidants in the American diet.

    However, during the roasting process or when coffee is left on a hot plate, chlorogenic acids undergo degradation, transforming into quinic and caffeic acids. Quinic acid, particularly in elevated concentrations, imparts a bitter or astringent taste to coffee. The familiar stale flavor associated with old coffee often stems from the presence of quinic acid. One simple solution to mitigate this issue is to opt for an insulated coffee carafe and forego the use of a warmer.

    Coffee and Health

    Coffee acids can have both positive and negative effects on your health. Let’s delve into the details, starting with the benefits.

    Is Coffee Acidic? Chlorogenic acids, present in coffee, are antioxidants associated with various health advantages. These include potential roles in preventing or managing certain cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hepatic steatosis. Additionally, they have been linked to aiding in weight loss and addressing clinical obesity.

    But what about the potential drawbacks of acidic coffee on health?

    Is Coffee Acidic? While some individuals may experience discomfort after consuming coffee, often attributing it to its acidity, evidence suggests that this assumption might not be entirely accurate. Instead, it’s more likely that the culprit is caffeine, particularly for those with conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn, or acid reflux.

    Caffeine has been demonstrated to weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, leading to the backward flow of stomach contents. Moreover, it stimulates the production of stomach acids, irrespective of its own acidity level. Therefore, if you’re prone to acid reflux, it might be worthwhile to consider switching to one of our recommended decaffeinated coffees before worrying about the pH level of your coffee.

    Research suggests that acidic coffee can potentially harm tooth enamel, particularly with regular consumption. This can result in heightened risks of cavities, tooth decay, and tooth discoloration. Given that tooth enamel naturally thins over time, the impact of coffee on dental health may become more pronounced as you age.

    It’s essential to consider the relative impact of various factors. For instance, while acidic coffee can contribute to enamel erosion, heavily sweetened coffee poses a more significant risk to dental health due to its sugar content.

    10 Tips To Reduce Acidity Of Coffee

    1.Exploring the market

    Consider exploring the market for low-acid coffee beans, which are either naturally cultivated to reduce acidity or treated with compounds to mitigate acidity levels. Online resources can guide you to reputable brands offering such options.

    2.Opt for Arabica beans

    Renowned for their lower acidity compared to their robust Robusta counterparts. Prioritizing Arabica beans can serve as a foundational step toward achieving a less acidic brew, particularly if you’re already inclined toward high-quality coffee.

    3. Consider Altitude and Soil composition

    Take note of the altitude and soil conditions in which the coffee beans were cultivated. Beans grown at higher altitudes and in volcanic soil tend to exhibit higher acidity levels. While this information may not always be readily available, reputable coffee suppliers should possess this knowledge and readily provide it upon inquiry.

    4. Explore various growing Coffee regions

    Different coffee-growing regions yield beans with distinct flavor profiles, including acidity levels. For instance, coffees from Kenya often feature fruity and acidic notes, while those from Brazil and Sumatra tend to be less acidic. Exploring beans from different regions can offer insights into acidity variations.

    5. Pay attention to the roasts levels

    Is Coffee Acidic? Roast levels significantly impact coffee acidity. Lighter roasts accentuate acidity, with descriptors like “bright” or hints of citrus often associated with malic acid. Conversely, darker roasts, such as Espresso or French roasts, tend to have lower acidity levels and may be preferable if you seek a less acidic brew.

    6. Ensure Proper Extraction

    Achieving optimal extraction is crucial for controlling acidity levels in your brew. Under-extracted coffee, resulting from inadequate grind size or brew time, tends to taste sour. Experiment with grind size and brewing methods to find the ideal extraction balance for your preferences.

    7. Add Milk

    Adding milk or cream to your coffee can help offset acidity levels, providing a smoother taste experience. However, keep in mind that lighter roasts may not blend as effectively with milk, particularly soy milk, which can curdle in acidic coffee.

    Consider brewing your coffee with eggshells to mellow its acidity. This unconventional method can help mitigate the sharpness of a black coffee, offering a unique way to achieve a smoother flavor profile.

    8.Use Eggshells

    Eggshells possess alkaline properties, which can effectively counterbalance the natural acidity present in coffee, thereby mitigating any bitterness or over-extracted flavors.

    9.Add Salt

    Adding a pinch of salt to your coffee grounds before brewing is a well-known technique that can significantly reduce acidity and enhance sweetness. However, it’s crucial to exercise restraint and avoid over-salting, as excessive saltiness can compromise the flavor profile.

    10.Brew it cold

    Cold brewing offers a compelling solution for minimizing acidity in coffee, with cold-steeped coffee boasting up to 60% less acidity compared to its hot-brewed counterpart. This method is straightforward and effective, making it an appealing option for those seeking a less acidic brew.


    Is Coffee Acidic? While acidity is inherent to coffee, selecting low-acid beans and employing appropriate brewing methods are pivotal factors in achieving a smoother, more balanced cup. Experimenting with these tips can help you tailor your coffee experience to your preferences while minimizing acidity.