Believe it or not, a cup of coffee is actually a great way to start your day and jolt your metabolism into action each morning. Drinking a cup of joe in the mornings can even help you to stay more focused throughout the course of the day. Unfortunately, sometimes drinking a cup of coffee can be followed by experiencing feelings of heartburn and acid reflux. Don’t give up that coffee habit just yet though, as there are ways to make your coffee less acidic.
You may not even realize just how acidic your coffee is in the morning. But don’t fret, because despite how bad this may sound, there are several simple ways to lower the acidity of your coffee, some of which you may be able to implement into your life in minutes. Soon, you’ll be able to enjoy your morning cup of joe without having to worry about the uncomfortable side effects of acid.
How Much Acid Is In Coffee?
Well, first of all, it’s important to know just how much acid is in your coffee, to begin with. This isn’t an easy question to answer as the levels of acid in a cup of coffee change based on a number of factors, such as the type of coffee, the region where the coffee was grown, and the style in which it was brewed.
Generally, the acidity ranking of coffee is between 4.8 and 5.10 PH, but it is possible to have brews that rate all the way up to a 1 on the PH scale which is known as being highly acidic. Even if your brew isn’t rated at 1 PH, it is possible to experience discomfort such as acid reflux even when your coffee is rated 5.10 PH.
One of the reasons this can happen is because coffee actually contains a combination of nine different acids which work together to give coffee its unique taste and aroma. Some of these acids have health benefits, and others can cause digestive discomfort. The main acid in coffee that causes problems in the human digestive tract is Quinic acid. Meanwhile, another acid found in coffee, chlorogenic acid, has surprisingly been linked to health benefits in humans, most notable weight loss.
Why Should You Worry About Acid In Your Coffee
For those who experience acid reflux or heartburn, this is probably painful enough that you want to change your diet so that your heartburn goes away. And this is good because if left unchecked, acid reflux can cause permanent damage to your esophagus. This can lead to more pain, as well as very serious conditions such as throat and mouth cancer. And thus, it is essential that when you find yourself experiencing these symptoms, that you cut back on the acid in your diet as soon as possible.
If you are lucky enough not to suffer from a condition like acid reflux, you may be wondering why you should worry about the acid content in your coffee. And this is because consuming foods or beverages with too many acids can cause several health problems in the human body. And even if you don’t notice those symptoms now, you may be causing damage that will be miserable to face in the future.
The main long-term condition which results from consuming too much acid is gastric ulcers. Gastric ulcers are sores that occur on your stomach lining if it is exposed to too much acid. These ulcers can be painful, and if they get to be deep enough, they can eventually cause bleeding in your stomach and even a tear in your stomach wall. This is a life-threatening condition that will require immediate medical attention.
Ways To Reduce The Acid Content Of Your Coffee
Now that you know more about the acid which is hiding in your morning ritual, it’s time to discuss just how you can go about making a change to this. You don’t have to implement all the methods on this list, but using a few of them to lower the acid content in your coffee will do wonders for your digestive system.
Cold-Brew coffee is a method in which coffee is brewed by pouring cold water over the coffee grounds instead of hot water. And surprisingly, this eliminates 70% of a coffee’s acid content. Sounds great right? Well, the only problem with this method is that it is time-consuming. To get the best result with cold brewing coffee, you must soak to coffee grounds overnight in cold water. This means if you think you may want a coffee tomorrow, you better start preparing it tonight.
Use Low Acidity Beans
Coffee companies are aware that several members of society are cutting their coffee intake because of the acid content. And to combat this, several of them have taken steps to produce coffee beans with less acid content. This actually can be done quickly and easily, simply by removing the outer coating of the coffee bean. The only problem with this method is that removing the outer coating also removes some of the well-known coffee smell—which may be an important part of your morning coffee enjoyment ritual.
Arabica Is Better
You probably have that one friend who has tried to convince you to switch from Robusta coffee beans to Arabica coffee beans, and they are right to encourage you to do so. Arabica coffee beans are not only of better quality but also of lower acidity than their Robusta counterparts. Make the switch today, you’ll likely enjoy the taste of the Arabica beans better anyway. The only downside to Arabica beans is that they are lower in caffeine content if you really need that jolt in the morning to get your day started.
Switch To Dark Beans
Continuing on the above statement, the caffeine content is unfortunately directly related to the acid content of coffee. Switch your morning brew to a darker roast, as these darker beans are naturally lower in caffeine and are therefore less acidic as well. This, of course, is easier said than done, especially if you are a lover of light to medium roasts. But if you can make the switch, your stomach will thank you.
Try A New Growing Region
The higher the altitude your coffee is grown at, the more acidic it will be. And if you like coffee grown in volcanic regions, this will cause it to have a higher acid content as well. Next time you are buying coffee, read the label and see what region it’s grown in. If it’s somewhere high up or volcanic, maybe consider trying a new region instead.
How You Brew
Surprisingly, how you brew your morning coffee has a huge effect on its acid content. And you can ensure your coffee is at its lowest acid content possible just by using the correct grounds for the correct brewing styles. For example, drip coffee is best brewed with finely ground beans. And if the beans are coarsely ground, and put in a drip coffee maker, this could result in higher acid content. Also, using a paper filter while brewing has shown to significantly lower acid content when it comes to drip coffee.
Dairy products, such as cream and milk, contain calcium which works wonders when it comes to lowering PH levels of acidic beverages. Of course, if you add cream to your coffee, this will significantly lower its health benefits, which is why it is best to stick with milk. This method will work best for those who drink dark or medium roasts.
You’re probably cringing as you read this, but don’t knock it until you try it! Just like dairy products, eggshells are filled with calcium which can help lower the acidity content of your coffee. Before adding them to your coffee though, make sure you wash all of the egg residues off of them, then add them while your coffee is brewing. You can use a strainer or spoon to remove the shells before the coffee is served and voila, there you have it, less acidic coffee!
Add Baking Soda
Okay, this is another weird one. But remember back in school when you learned that the best way to neutralize an acidic liquid was to use something alkaline? Well, baking soda is an alkaline substance that can neutralize the acid in your coffee. Just be careful not to add too much. Generally, ¼ of a teaspoon is enough for an entire pot of coffee.
You’re probably pretty surprised at the number of substances you can add to your coffee to lower the acidity level. Well, salt is another one of those things. But, when you want to use salt to lower the acidity in your coffee, add it to the grounds before you brew. A don’t add too much otherwise you may change the taste of the coffee. Usually, one pinch of salt is enough for an entire pot.
Brew With Hard Water
Now this one can be a bit more complicated depending on the area you live in. When you brew coffee with soft water it will contain more acid than if you brew it with hard water. This is because hard water contains lots of minerals such as calcium which help lower the acid content of the coffee. Some regions are known to have hard water as their tap water. If you live in an area with hard water, use water right from the faucet to brew your coffee. If you don’t live in an area with hard water, then you’ll probably have to try a different tactic.
Purchase Coffee Tamer
So maybe you’re not a fan of adding weird ingredients like eggshells or baking soda to your coffee, and honestly, you aren’t alone, most people just can’t bring themselves to add these things to their coffee. This led to an invention known as Coffee Tamer which is a powder that can be added to any cup of coffee or tea to lower its acid content. Coffee Tamer contains a combination of potassium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide, and potassium chloride. This method is easy to use and doesn’t change the taste of your coffee, however, that ingredient list doesn’t look so appetizing either.
Check Water Temperature
Coffee is best brewed between 195- and 205-degrees Fahrenheit. And if you brew it at a hotter temperature, this will cause the coffee to brew more quickly and for the beans to release more acid. Water is known to boil at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This means when you boil water for your coffee, just waiting a few minutes, or checking the water temperature with a thermometer, could change the acidity levels of your coffee.
Don’t Leave Your Coffee Sitting
If you’re worried about acid content, then make sure whenever you brew a cup of coffee, that you drink it right away. This is because even when you use the best filters, some coffee grounds escape into the bottom of your coffee cup. And these escapee grounds will continue to brew as the coffee sits there, releasing more acid into your coffee. The same goes for if you keep coffee on a burner being constantly heated. That’s why you’ll be much better off making coffee in small batches and brewing a new cup each time you’d like to drink one.
Just because you are suffering some minor digestive upsets after drinking coffee doesn’t mean that you have to quit your habit. In fact, coffee has a number of health benefits so it is overall better to keep it in your diet. So instead of saying so long to your morning cup of joe, spend some time employing different tactics to lower the level of acidity in your coffee. And if you feel one method doesn’t work, try combing methods, or try a whole new one. And who knows, you may just find you like the way your less-acidic coffee tastes better than your original morning blend!