4 Burning Truths About Making Low Acid Coffee
The facts about low acid coffee can be elusive. Some people simply abandon drinking their favorite coffee because they are trying to reduce acidity in their diet, avoid heartburn, or have gastritis or other gastrointestinal or gastroesophageal condition (GERD) such as acid reflux.
Coffee flavor is heavily influenced by acids naturally occurring in the beans. So how can you get the benefits of a pleasurable coffee experience, including caffeine, and also minimize your body’s exposure to the acids that naturally exist in the beans?
There are four main factors that influence coffee acidity:
- coffee bean type
- the roast type of the coffee bean
- the process followed to brew the coffee
- water quality
The good news for coffee lovers is that you can control these factors which will lead you to a more stomach-friendly, less acidic coffee experience.
Bean Type Affect on Coffee Acidity
Coffee beans are grown around the world. Similar to wine, the terra, or earth characteristics of the land and climate in which the plants grow, have an impact on the quality and flavor. Some bean types are the better low acid coffee choices. For coffee drinkers trying to minimize exposure to acidity due to gastric irritation or other reasons, there are two categories of options to be aware of – treated and inadvertent.
Treated coffee is just as it sounds – the beans are treated by way of a mechanical process in an attempt to alter the bean acidity. Alternatively, some coffee beans are naturally low in acid and these bean types fall into the inadvertent category.
Examples of countries from which low acid coffee beans grow are Brazil, Sumatra, and Nicaragua. Although the origin of the bean is not the only main factor in creating non-acidic coffee, it is a good place to start.
Roast Type Influence on Acidity of Coffee
In addition to bean type, another main factor to enjoy low acidic coffee is the roast type. The difference between light, medium, and dark roast coffee is just a matter of how much time the beans are in the roaster. The actual coffee acid content and pH level will be very similar regardless (assuming identical bean type across the roast types).
However, industry research indicates that there is a chemical called N-methylpyridium which develops during roasting and mitigates the ability of cells in the stomach to release hydrochloric acid. Therefore, opting for a dark roast coffee, combined with selecting a lower acidic bean type is a good option for being able to enjoy coffee and mitigate aggravating an acid sensitivity.
Cold Brew Process Yields Low Acid Coffee
Both bean type and roast type can play a major role in the acidity of the coffee but how you make your coffee also makes a difference. Cold brew coffee, and the process to make it, significantly reduces the volume of organic compounds such as caffeine and acids, compared to hot-water brewing.
A tradeoff of drinking cold brew coffee in lieu of hot coffee that takes only minutes to brew is it takes around 12 to 24 hours to make. But the result is compelling. Industry research has determined that slow-steeped cold brew coffee has 70 percent lower acid levels without sacrificing taste. Understand the difference between iced coffee and cold brew. Iced coffee is made by simply cooling down hot brewed coffee and is not a process that will result in low acid coffee.
Testing Your Water for Affecting Coffee Acidity
Water is the main ingredient in your coffee. If you use tap water to brew your coffee, be aware that the pH of that water may be affecting the acidity of your coffee. Many city water utility systems inject chemicals into their system to help keep water impurities at a minimum. These treatments can influence the acidity of your water.
Home water filtration systems are one option to avoid this challenge. Additionally, a digital pH meter can be used to determine the alkalinity or acidity of the water you are using to brew your coffee. Sometimes we pay so much attention to coffee beans, roasting and brewing that we overlook the importance of the water – an underestimated contributor to the overall taste of your coffee.
The Burning Truth About Enjoying Low Acid Coffee
Researching the facts about non-acidic coffee can be frustrating given the contradictory information found on the Internet. Focus your attention on the four main factors that determine low acid coffee – bean type, roast type, brewing process, and water. By taking control of these four factors you can get back to enjoying the benefits of coffee.