IS COFFEE ACIDIC- WHAT IS THE PH OF COFFEE?
HOW TO BREW BALANCED COFFEE
The answer is Yes, coffee is acidic. In this article, we’ll explain what acidity in coffee is, the pH of coffee and how to brew balanced coffee. This guide is for you, if you normally has acid reflux after brewing.
WHAT IS ACIDITY?
Acidity in coffee refers to the flavor sensation that is perceived as pleasing sharpness toward the front of the mouth. It gives a numbing sensation to the tip of the tongue or gives a bit of dryness at the back of the palate or under the edges of the tongue.
It helps you describe the quality of the coffee. Acidity in is one of the major characteristics of coffee along with the body, aroma, bitterness, sweetness, and after-taste.
It is also known as the pleasant snap, desirable crispness characteristic in coffee, it somehow tastes like dry wine. There are other terms used to describe acidity in coffee, and they include- dry, vibrant, sharp, moderate, and dull. A coffee’s acidity may even have subtle fruity qualities like lemon, citrus, or a berry-like taste.
However, coffee roast levels have an impact on the acidity of coffee. Acidity generally reduces as a roast gets darker while light or medium roast will have a higher acidity (we’ll explain this better as you read on). While the acidity in coffee contributes to the flavor, other acids in the coffee may give heartburn, this varies from person to person.
SO IS ACIDITY IN COFFEE GOOD FOR YOU?
Yes, not all of them are bad. Coffee contains about 850 compounds that contribute to the unique taste of coffee. Acidity in coffee doesn't mean an acidic taste or a sour taste. Sour taste is a result of a brewing mistake- but that's not what we are talking about today.
PH LEVEL IN COFFEE
A neutral pH level is precisely 7. Anything lower than 7 is considered acidic while if it gets up to 14, it's alkaline. Coffee ranges just around 5, while some dark roast may range from 4 to 7. This means normally, you have nothing to worry about. Like we mentioned earlier, not all acids in coffee are bad. For instance, phosphoric acid and malic acid in coffee make the coffee taste sweeter.
While other acids like acetic and citric acid add tartness in low concentration but if you make a soured cup of coffee, it can come out in excess. So, it's all about balancing the acidity, if you want to have a great cup of coffee that won't give acid reflux if you normally experience that.
The main acid that may be disturbing is Quinic acid, this is often produced when the coffee degrades especially when it is left on a burner. Have you experienced a bitter and burnt flavor from coffee from an old break room coffee? If yes, that right there is Quinic acid. It hurts your digestive system.
But no worries, there is a solution to that, don't allow your coffee to burn, leaving it on the heat for too long or you can buy in an insulated coffee carafe instead of using a warmer.
Whatever the case is, acidity can complement or unbalance the harmony of a coffee cup. What this means is, if coffee doesn't have any acidity at all, it will taste flat.
So, we’ll show you how to brew balanced coffee and tame the acidity in coffee.
BUY ARABICA BEANS
Arabica beans contain less acid than lower grade Arabica coffee. Brewing with Arabica beans is a great starting point for lowering acidity. We recommend Arabica beans to be the default beans you use because they are of higher quality. You can get some here
TRY BREWING COFFEE FROM DIFFERENT GROWING REGIONS
Coffee from each region has its unique flavor profile but there are general characteristics that each coffee region tends to produce. For example, Kenya grows coffee that has a fruity taste and is more acidic while coffee from other regions tends to have low acidity. Check our site to see coffees from different regions and pick what works best for you.
CHECK ROAST LEVELS
Lighter roasts are more acidic- when coffees are described as bright or fruity, they usually have characteristics from acids like malic acid. Light and medium roasts are popular roasts suited for brewing single-origin beans, especially pour-over coffee and drip coffee. So if you want to reduce acidity, you may want to opt for a medium roast, it can turn out to be a better option for you.
ADD MILK TO YOUR BREW
This another method of reducing acidity in coffee, simply add some cream or milk to it. You can start by making a latte. Note that light roast tends to take milk less well, especially soil milk which can curdle in acidic coffee. So be mindful of this, if you prefer plant-based milk in your coffee.
Since you are going for a medium or darker roast, you can as well add a splash or cup of milk to tone down the acidity of the coffee.
CHECK YOUR EXTRACTION METHOD
When you have purchased freshly roasted coffee beans you need to get the brew right. Acidity is more pronounced in under-extracted coffee. This happens when your grind size is too coarse or you brewed for a shorter time.
Let's explain this, the faster the process, the less acidity, and because coarse grind slows down the rate of extraction. They have less surface, so the final product is acidic. But with a finer grind, there is a large surface area and this speeds up the extraction process, bringing out all the flavors and aroma, hence resulting in a less acidic coffee.
You should use a grind size that matches your brewing method. Coffee works better when there is precision and consistency in grind size. Check our full guide on coffee grind sizes .
Furthermore, you can reduce the acidity in coffee with the hot water you use. You need to control the hotness of the water, because the hotter the water, the more the oils will release acids which makes the coffee acidic. Avoid over-extraction of flavors, avoid heating your water to extreme temperatures.
The ideal water temperature is between 90 and 96 degrees Celsius. If you do this, you will enjoy a cup of coffee that is less acidic but still full of flavor.
ADD SOME SALT OR BAKING SODA
You may or may not have heard of this hack before, it works most times. Just add a dash of salt to your grounds before brewing. This hack works with any brewing method and makes a lot of difference in reducing the acidity in your coffee. Also, it can be added to your coffee if you over-extract it and it's too bitter.
For baking soda, it has an alkaline PH of 9 which neutralizes the acid in coffee. So, it will make the coffee less acidic. Just make sure you add the right amount, you don't overdo it.
This does sound normal but if you’re looking for something to take the edge off your black cup of coffee, consider brewing with eggshells. This is because, eggshells have alkaline, which means they help neutralize the natural acidity in coffee.
It can balance things out and even remove bitterness during the extraction process. Crack two eggs and wash them so that there are no eggs remains.
Do not make the mistake of mixing raw eggs with the coffee while you’re brewing. Then, clean the eggshells, crush them, and add them to the coffee grounds in your coffee maker. Just brew the coffee normally and that's it.
MAKE COLD BREW
Lets me give you an interesting tip- steeping ground coffee in cold water, can produce coffee with up to 60% less acidity. The cold brew method is a perfect way to reduce the acidity of coffee beans. This method is preferred by many people who suffer from acidic reflux.
When you brew with this method, you can even prepare coffee in advance and store it in the refrigerator and it’ll still taste sweet. You have to soak the coffee grounds in cold water for 18 to 24 hours. The cold water doesn't extract the natural acids. Normally, the acidity in coffee beans is caused by oils in coffee beans, hot water releases these acids, cold brew doesn't.
Coffee is a delicious beverage that nourishes your body and provides you with the caffeine kick you need to start your day. But the acidic content sometimes causes acidic reflux to some people after taking a cup or two. If you are one of them, experiment with these methods we have shared in this article to see the one that works best with you.