Is Coffee Acidic or Basic?

By Ann Hills / 5 years ago
Colorful pH scale

Do you ever wonder if coffee is acidic or basic? Well, the answer is yes. Some people who are the acidic wonder if coffee is bad for their health. They switch to decaf so that their stomach will not react to caffeine.

Research shows that a reasonable amount of caffeine is harmless for most people. But if you are suffering from acid reflux, you might reconsider switching to decaf since it does not have caffeine and has less acid compared to regular coffee.

Acid Levels in Caffeinated and Decaf Coffee

Stomach Acid

Coffee both has acid and makes acid. The brew already has some amount of acid. However, your stomach also generates acid because of drinking the coffee.

In the latter situation, caffeine is to be blamed because it allows your stomach to produce more acid.

However, there are also other ingredients of coffee which fuel stomach acid. Individuals who have acid reflux, a condition where the acids in your stomach go back up into your esophagus, should think twice about drinking coffee.

Different Studies

In the June 1997 issue of the “Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics Journal,” a study at Munich's Hospital Bogenhausen had discovered that patients suffered less gastroesophageal reflux when they switched to decaffeinated coffee.

However, there is some research which contradicts these claims. Some researchers argue it depends on the type of bean from which the coffee is produced.

Acid and Flavor

There are oils and acids which are found in coffee beans. There are two common types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta.

Robusta beans are cheaper and less popular to coffee manufacturers. They are usually combined with Arabica to have a better flavor. Most decaf coffees contain Robusta beans.

Aside from the combination of Robusta and Arabica, the taste of the coffee is due to the organic acids in the coffee bean such as quinic, malic, acetic, citric and formic acids.

The acid content is related to the maturity of the coffee bean when harvested, and the time of roasting. The longer the roasting, the lower the acid content.

A study was made by Dionex, part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, which separated the anions (negatively charged ions) in regular and decaf coffee. They discovered higher amounts of all acids in normal compared to decaffeinated coffee.

Caffeine Doses

Some individuals are insensitive to the acid in coffee, but they are sensitive to caffeine. According to Medline Plus, many people can drink up to 200 milligrams of caffeine every day but suffer no effects.

However, even small doses of caffeine can lead to irritability, sleep problems and stomach aches for sensitive people. Those who are extra-sensitive to caffeine should remember that decaf coffee still has some small amount of caffeine.

A typical 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee has about 75 milligrams of caffeine while decaf coffee has between 8 and 14 milligrams.

How to Reduce Acid in Coffee

You can minimize the acid in your coffee by using cold-brewing coffee. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Fill a fine mesh food grade bag with ground coffee

Step 1 Fill a fine mesh food grade bag with ground coffee

Put ground coffee in a fine mesh bag. Get a fine mesh bag, which is often used for creating nut milk, and put 4 ½ ounces of ground coffee in the bag.

If a mesh bag is not available, you can combine the ground coffee with water in the next step. But, you will need to use a strainer to remove the coffee grounds after you chill it.

Pour it through a fine-mesh sieve before combining the concentrate with water.

Step 2: Put the bag in a pitcher and pour some water

Step 2: Put the bag in a pitcher and pour some water.

When the coffee is secure in the mesh bag, put it in the bottom of a 2-quart pitcher. Put some cold water in the pitcher until the brim. For better flavor, use filtered water.

Step 3: Chill the pitcher overnight

Step 3 Chill the pitcher overnight

Once you have put coffee in the pitcher and it’s full of water, chill it in the refrigerator. The coffee will have to brew for at least 12 hours.

You may want to try with different brew times to see the best results. Begin with 12 hours, and change times until you’re satisfied with the taste.

Step 4: Remove the bag from the pitcher

Step 4: Remove the bag from the pitcher

After brewing the coffee for around 12 hours, remove the pitcher out of the refrigerator. Pull the mesh bag with the coffee out of the water, and squeeze it over the pitcher to extract all of the coffee flavors before throwing the grounds.

Be sure to clean the mesh bag carefully, so you can use it next time to brew coffee.

Step 5: Combine coffee concentrate with hot water

Step 5: Combine coffee concentrate with hot water

Mix the coffee concentrate with hot water. The liquid in the pitcher will be an extremely concentrated form of coffee, so you have to dilute it with water. Combine 1 part of the coffee concentrate with 1 part of hot water for a cup of hot coffee.

Coffee that is made through cold brew is 67% less acidic compared to coffee made with hot brew. You can also combine the coffee concentrate with cold water and put ice if you like iced coffee.

Step 6: Put the leftover concentrate in the refrigerator

Step 6: Put the leftover concentrate in the refrigerator

If you don’t use up all of the coffee concentrates, you can store it in the fridge. Compared to hot brewed coffee, it won’t get spoiled so you can still drink it up to two weeks.

Even if you’re acidic, you can still enjoy drinking coffee by switching to decaf or by using cold-brew coffee. It’s very easy to make at home.Now, it is your turn. We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or in our Facebook Page.

About the author

Ann Hills

My name is Ann Hills and I am a food blogger and a yoga teacher. When I was a child, I often got around my mother and watched her cooking in our kitchen. My mom always says to me that: “Kitchen is the heart of any home”. I strongly believe in her saying that’s reason why I prefer spending my money to make my home better than other stuff.

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