Coffee is a complex beverage containing both natural acids and beneficial antioxidants. There are acids in the coffee that may cause sweetness or bitterness in coffee. The acidic nature makes it heavy on the stomach. To reduce the acidity of coffee, use cold water to let minimum acid seep out of the beans, or you can add milk, salt, baking soda, or acid reducers to neutralize the pH.
When you make coffee at home, you can easily control its acid. You will have less acidity if you make it when the ground coffee is fresh instead of old. Similarly, having control over the water temperature, using some salt or a neutralizer along with paper filters may help.
What is Coffee Acidity?
Coffee acidity refers to the coffee’s pH level, which measures how acidic or basic it is. Acidity is a key component of coffee flavor, brings out the brightness of the bean, and can make for a very pleasant cup. The acidity flavor profile varies from bean to bean and region to region, but it’s stronger the closer you get to the equator where the coffee beans grow. Most people believe that Brazilian or Columbian coffees are more acidic than those from Ethiopia or Kenya.
It is a desirable characteristic because it can add to the coffee’s overall flavor. When it’s too high or too low, your brew will be unbalanced. Too much of it can cause a less-than-pleasant taste. The acidity present in coffee depends on many factors: how long we roast it for, where we grow it, and how we prepare it.
Acids in the Coffee:
Acids are both positive and negative. The negative ones cause stomach problems in some people, while the positive ones add flavor or help in weight loss. The acids in coffee are:
- Acetic Acid
- Citric Acid
- Malic Acid
- Chlorogenic Acid
- Phosphoric Acid
- Quinic Acid
- Succinic Acid
While citric acid and malic acid cause a tart flavor in coffee, lactic acid, and phosphoric acid impart a sweeter taste. Chlorogenic acid is released during the roasting process. It brings bitterness to coffee. This acid can be a problem for people who suffer from stomach acidity.
Acetic acid adds a sharp flavor to the coffee, while Citric acid adds a bright flavor. They can, however, be too much when they exist in excess, making your coffee taste sour. Quinic acid causes digestive problems when consumed in large quantities, so you may have to avoid leaving your coffee in the warmer for too long, as this allows quinic acid to be released.
How to Make Coffee Less Acidic:
There are many methods to making a great cup of coffee, but did you know that if you alter the taste, you can have a cup as smooth as any cream-based drink you may have had.
- Using cold brewing
- Water Temperature
- Use of Baking soda or salt
- Using an acid reducer
- Use alkaline water to brew coffee.
- Adding milk
- Using eggshells
- Avoid leaving your coffee in the thermos for long
- Dark roast coffee beans
- Grind finer
- Brew coffee with a paper filter
- Shortening the Brew time
1. Using Cold Brewing
Cold brewing involves soaking the grounds in cold water for a period of time, rather than pouring hot water over them and steeping them quickly. Doing this allows more of the ingredients to be dissolved into the water, including acids that are normally only partially dissolved with hot water brewing methods. Coffee grounds are steeped at room temperature for 18–24 hours and then filtered.
2. Controlling Water Temperature
When making coffee with a pour-over, use cold water instead of hot or warm. Higher water temperatures mean faster extraction of flavors, oils, and acids from the coffee. If you’re using hot water (200°F or higher), you’re going to get a much more acidic cup of coffee than if you brew with water closer to 150°F (which ideally should be between 185–205°F).
The hotter the water, the more acidic your coffee will taste.
3. Use of Baking Soda and Salt
Baking soda has a pH of 9, which makes it alkaline, and when you add it to your coffee, it will counteract the acids in your coffee. The result is less acidity—and less bitterness. However, adding too much baking soda can be bad for you. If you use more than ¼ teaspoon per cup of coffee (which most people do), you’ll end up with a very salty brew—and you probably won’t enjoy drinking it. So be mindful of how much you’re using.
You can add salt to coffee grounds before brewing or on top of brewed coffee to make it less bitter. This is because salt naturally neutralizes acids. If you suffer from acid reflux, drinking a cup of coffee with some salt in it may help to ease your symptoms.
4. Using an Acid Reducer
An acid reducer is a small, palm-sized device that adjusts helps adjust the acidic pH. Acid reducers can combat acidity in your coffee. Add the product to the water before brewing, and then filter it out before you drink your coffee. If you are suffering from Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and want to enjoy a good cup of coffee, then this is the product for you.
5. Use Alkaline Water to Brew Coffee.
Alkaline water is also called hard water. After treating it with additives, the pH becomes basic. That’s why it’s called “alkaline.” It’s a well-known fact that the chemical makeup of water can change the taste of your coffee. But did you know that the hardness or alkalinity of your water can also change the acidity level of your coffee?
Use alkaline/hard water to brew your coffee. This will reduce the acidity in the coffee and neutralize it, making it easier on your stomach. Using alkaline or hard water in your coffee maker, you can reduce the acids in your coffee by up to 50%
6. Adding Milk:
One great way to reduce the acidity in your coffee is to add milk. Milk neutralizes stomach acid and adds sodium. The milk will reduce the acidity in your cup by cutting out the bitterness without changing the flavor, so you get that smoother taste losing none of the deliciousness.
7. Using Eggshells
Eggshells are made from calcium carbonate, which acts as a base—the opposite of acid—when dissolved in water. This works so well because acids and bases neutralize each other.
To use eggshells, grind them until they are very fine (you can use your coffee grinder). Then add one teaspoon per cup of coffee grounds before brewing. You’ll notice a distinct lack of bitterness when you take a sip!
8. Not Leaving Your Coffee in the Thermos for Long:
The longer you leave your coffee in a thermos, the more acidic it becomes. In fact, coffee can become so acidic that it’s almost sour! Be sure to drink your coffee soon after brewing and avoid leaving it sitting out for long periods of time.
9. Using Dark Roast Coffee
Another way to reduce the acidity of the coffee is by roasting the beans for longer than usual to make them darker beans. The roasting process burns off some sugars, thus reducing the bitter taste and also some acids in the coffee bean. The lost acids shift the pH of the coffee from acidic to alkaline. The darker the roast, the less acidic it will be.
10. Grind Finer
This helps you give a fine grind of the coffee beans. The fine the grind, the larger will be the surface area from where the acids and oil are extracted by various other steps.
11. Brew Coffee With a Paper Filter
As we know that coffee beans have oil in them. They’re great for flavor and mouthfeel, but they also contribute to higher levels of coffee acidity. So, instead of using the usual metal mesh, brew your coffee with a paper filter. Those oils get trapped in the filter.
12. Shortening the Brew Time
Shortening your brew time is a great way to reduce the acidity of your coffee. There are many ways to do this, but one is by using a silicone filter for your pour-over coffee maker. You can also use aged beans, as aging alters pH levels.
Coffee is a delicious drink, but it can be hard on the stomach because of its acidic nature. There are ways to reduce the acidity level of the drink. Using a cold brew, keep the water temperature in a range because the higher the temperature the beverage is prepared on, the more oils the coffee beans will leach out. It is important not to keep the coffee in the thermos for long. Other methods to reduce the acidity are using baking soda, salt, acid reducers, using a paper filter, using dark roast, or shortening the brew time.
Don’t add flavored creamers, syrups, or other additives to your coffee. Avoid super acidic coffees with names like “Dark French” and stick to medium roasts with names like “French Roast.” All the ways work either by neutralizing the existing acid or by not letting acids from the coffee seep out and make the coffee bitter.