Coffee is a delicious drink that should be celebrated by all. Unfortunately, some poor individuals can’t enjoy coffee like the rest of us. People with sensitive stomachs can find that the acidity of coffee leads to unpleasant side effects like gastric reflux, nausea, IBS symptoms, and more.
The good news is, there are ways to reduce the acidity in coffee and this offsets the unpleasant symptoms. The first, very simple thing to consider is the darkness of the coffee roast.
All coffee beans are roasted before they are ground up and brewed in water to make the delicious cup of coffee we all know and love. If the coffee beans are roasted longer or at hotter temperatures to give a darker roast then this helps make the coffee less acidic.
Alongside roast levels, the brew method, and many other factors can influence how acidic your cup of joe turns out so read on to find out how you can lessen that acidic burn.
What Is Dark Roast Coffee
Before we jump right in, let’s first consider what causes coffee beans to be classified as a dark roast?
Dark roast coffee is made when the coffee beans are roasted at a higher temperature or for a longer period of time. The more intense heat darkens the coffee beans and causes them to crack and release more oils. This gives a more intense flavor and richer notes of burnt caramel, dark chocolate, and woody undertones.
Dark vs Light Roast
Lighter roast coffee beans sound like they may be gentler on the stomach but surprisingly, they actually tend to contain more acid. This is because the coffee beans themselves are inherently acidic so a gentler roast preserves this.
Darker roasts using more heat and a longer roast time helps break down the acids so when you go to brew your java the coffee is lower in acid.
What Causes Acidity In Coffee
Coffee beans are acidic by nature. When they are brewed into the liquid coffee we know and love, the solution is acidic with a pH value somewhere between 4.8 and 5.1. This is due to the release of chlorogenic acid as the coffee is brewing and this is affected by several brew factors.
The brew method used can have an impact on the coffee’s acid levels. Cold-brew is typically a lot lower in acid and espresso tends to be much higher. It seems to relate to the brew time and temperature where a long, slow infusion using cool water lessens the acid components and a fast, hotter brew may increase these acid levels.
Finer ground coffee tends to release more acid than coarsely ground options. This is due to the overall surface area of the coffee as when it’s finely ground, the large surface area allows more acidic components to dissolve into the beverage. Coarser grind settings give a lower, overall surface area and can result in a less acidic cup of java.
The longer the coffee bean is roasted, the fewer acids remain when it comes to the brewing stage. This is also true for hotter temperatures used when roasting. This means that darker roasts of coffee actually tend to be less acidic than lighter roasts.
How Does The Acid Affect You
Consuming acidic drinks can have adverse effects on certain individuals. Acid reflux, gastric ulcers, and IBS are all conditions that may be worsened by coffee consumption. These issues lead some people to avoid drinking coffee.
Although there’s no way to eliminate acid in coffee, drinking a darker roast cold brew or french press can help minimize these side effects.
How To Make Coffee Less Acidic
Following these simple steps can help you to brew a coffee that’s low in acid and kinder on your stomach.
- Choose a darker roast coffee beans
- Set the coffee grinder to the coarsest setting
- Steep the coffee in cold water for up to 24 hours
- Strain away the grounds
- Top up with cold water until desired taste is achieved
Another option is you can heat up the cold brew coffee and enjoy it warm.
How To Minimise Coffees Adverse Effects
Drinking black coffee on an empty stomach, although it tastes delicious, can be a recipe for disaster. To minimize the harshness of coffee, enjoy it with a splash of milk as this can balance it out. Lattes and other specialty drinks can also be a good option for a smoother cup of java. Nut-based milks can be especially good at this.
Another option is you can try sprinkling a small amount of baking soda in your coffee as this is alkaline. This helps increase the pH so will lower acid levels in the coffee. Go cautiously with this method as it can quickly turn the coffee gritty and bitter.
For some people, the adverse effects they experience from coffee are actually not due to the acidity at all but are due to the caffeine content. Try a decaf blend and you may find that all your issues are solved.
Eating something beforehand or enjoying your coffee with your breakfast is another thing that can help. Lining your stomach with food helps dampen the impact of the acidic coffee and can help you feel better overall.
Low Acid Coffee
Some coffee beans contain less acid than others and when these beans are selected and carefully processed they you can end up with a low acid coffee. Some coffee brands have a low acid option which is great news if you have a sensitive stomach. There are many options out there like this Puroast Low Acid Ground Coffee (*not affiliate*) so have a browse and you’re bound to find an option that sits well with you.
Although coffee is acidic, a darker roast is not the reason for this. Choosing a darker roast, coarser grind, and slower brew method can all help to minimize adverse effects. There are lots of ways to enjoy coffee and minimize the acidity and I hope this article has helped highlight this.
I wish you all a smooth and tasty coffee brewing experience.