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Why Is Coffee Acidic?

Coffee is a popular beverage, and it is here to stay.

However, some coffee drinkers are unsure whether coffee is acidic and how that may affect their health.

Coffee is indeed branded as an acidic beverage.

However, coffee has a PH of about five, meaning that it is less acidic than other drinks such as beer and orange juice.

Therefore, when talking about acidity in coffee, it’s not about its PH level.

Read on to learn more about this topic.

Acid vs. Acidity

The acidity of a substance is determined using the PH scale.

Any solution with a PH of 0 to 7 is categorized as acidic, while that with a PH of 7 to 14 is regarded as basic.

Coffee varieties have PH values that range between 4.85 and 5.10.

Coffee is acidic in nature.

Unfortunately, the mention of the word ‘acid’ in most foods raises eyebrows, but this may not be the case with coffee.

Instead, acidity is considered an important component of how coffee tastes.

When talking about “acidity,” coffee experts refer to the presence of certain acids that determine the taste of coffee.

Acidity is regarded as a desirable quality in coffee. Hence, the term is used to refer to a flavor note.

Types of Acids in Coffee

Coffee has a PH value of about 5, meaning that it is slightly acidic.

Coffee acids have different concentrations that enable them to have different impacts on the flavor of the coffee.

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Here are some of the acids in coffee.

Chlorogenic acids

Chlorogenic acids break down during the roasting process.

Consequently, the levels of this acid reduce the longer and darker the coffee is roasted.

Therefore, lighter roasted coffees may be regarded as more acidic in their flavor than those roasted for an extended period.

Chlorogenic acids are antioxidants.

The robusta type of coffee has a higher concentration of this acid than Arabica.

When the coffee is still green, it has more concentration of this acid than aids the other plants.

Quinic acids

Quinic acids are formed when chlorogenic acids degrade during the roasting.

This type of acid determines the astringency of a coffee drink.

The drinkers feel that sour sensation in their stomachs after taking coffee with this acid.

The concentration of quinic acids is more in dark roasted coffees than in light roasted ones.

However, the dark-roasted coffees have low concentrations of the other acids that determine flavor.

Variations in Acidity

Coffee is composed of other acids such as palmitic, lactic, and acetic.

However, the concentration of these acids varies.

Here are some of the factors responsible for these variations.

The fineness of the grind

The size of coffee grounds can influence acidity.

If the ground is small, the surface area exposed relative to volume will be high.

Consequently, more acid will be extracted during the brewing.

Therefore, if you want an acidic coffee, you can use a finer grinder.

Brewing

The brewing method used also affects coffee acidity.

For example, hot coffee has higher acidity than cold-brewed coffee.

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In addition, brewing duration has also been found to affect acidity.

A shorter brewing duration will result in a more acidic cup of coffee than a moderate brewing period.

Roasting

The temperature and duration of roasting also affect the coffee acidity.

The concentration of linoleic, phosphoric, and other coffee acids can be reduced using longer and hotter roasting.

This is the reason why darker roasts are less acidic than lighter roasts.

Possible Side Effects of Coffee Acidity

Although coffee acidity is an important contributor to the taste, smell, and other features of the beans, it also has side effects on health.

However, these effects may be based on the amount of coffee consumed and may vary from one individual to another.

Drinking coffee may aggravate some health conditions in some people because of the acidity and mild laxative effects.

Some of these conditions involve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastric ulcers, and acid reflux.

Coffee does not cause these health conditions.

Therefore, if you’ve been diagnosed with any of these conditions, it’s better to avoid coffee or go for one with low acidity.

How to Reduce Coffee Acidity

If you have digestive problems, or if you’re not comfortable with the high acidic content in your cup of coffee, you can still enjoy your favorite beverage more comfortably.

You can reduce the acidity and make the coffee without any unpleasant effects of taking too much acid.

Here are some of the ways you can reduce acidity.

Use low-acid coffee

Many companies manufacture coffee with low acidity.

Such coffee is prepared by roasting it slowly or by interrupting the process.

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The acidity can also be reduced by extracting the outer layer of the beans before roasting.

Therefore, you can take a low-acid coffee without compromising the flavor.

Cold-brew your coffee beans

When you use cold water to extract flavor from coffee beans, you end up with well-rounded and less bitter beans with lower acidity.

The main benefit of using this method is that you end up with 70% less acidic coffee than others.

Consequently, you can enjoy your cup of coffee without fearing the adverse impacts of taking a lot of acids.

Select dark roasts

As mentioned earlier, the roasting process affects important coffee bean qualities such as acidity level, color, and flavor.

You can avoid coffee acidity by going for darker roasts.

Conversely, it would help if you avoided lighter roasts because they have more acid.

Use eggshells

You can also reduce the concentration of malic, citric, and other coffee acids by adding eggshells to your coffee beans.

Eggshells are alkaline naturally.

When mixed with the beans, they help in reducing the bitterness and neutralizing the acid.

Before using the shells to reduce coffee acidity, it’s advisable to ensure they’re properly rinsed.

Final Thought

With a PH of 4.85-5.1, coffee is considered acidic.

However, acidity is important as it determines the quality of coffee based on flavor and other factors.

Although drinking coffee may negatively affect people dealing with acid reflux and other health conditions, it’s not responsible for these diseases.

You can enjoy coffee while reducing the adverse effects of acidity by cold brewing, using eggshells, and selecting darker roasts.

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