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“I can’t drink coffee. It’s too acidic.”
Have you told someone this, or had someone tell you that after offering them a hot cup of coffee?
In a recent article on coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee are listed as highly acidic. Decaffeinated is listed as worse than regular coffee or caffeinated water. The question is, “Are you ready to give up on coffee?”
At Gathering Grounds, we understand that acidic coffee affects everyone differently. We want to offer the best solution for all of our coffee patrons, whether they want something as simple as regular or decaf.
Beyond simple regular and decaf, there are great combinations of added flavors and base mixers that can reduce the acidity of coffee in general. Great companies like Puroast, Tieman’s, or Healthwise offer lower acidic coffee that can aid in acidic reduction.
While some may have to give up coffee to get relief, that isn’t the case for everyone. Some can get the relief they need to still enjoy a daily cup of Joe just by switching their choice of coffee and beans.
How Do You Find the Best Low-Acid Coffee for You?
In this post we’ll be diving into low-acid coffee at depth. We know that you can get coffee with low acid, but it’s not always clear where and how to find it, what you can do to influence the acidity, what the overall flavor will be, and if it even works.
Where do I look for low-acid coffee?
You have three primary options:
- Find a coffee strictly advertised as low-acid or having low-acidity. Certain areas of Brazil and Sumatra show a reduced acidic amount from their beans at harvest due to being grown at a lower altitude. Make sure to read the packaging to determine the rated acidity level t understand if it’s right for you.
- Find a coffee that removes the waxy covering off the beans through steaming before roasting. This process can also reduce the aromatics of the coffee, which could be a turn-off for some coffee lovers.
- You can pick up beans with a darker roasts as opposed to lighter roasts or an interrupted roasting process. The roasting process removes the acidic properties of the beans, so a longer darker roast will result in a more alkaline coffee. This means that usually espressos are going to be less of a problem if you have concerns about acid levels because they are customarily made with darker roast beans (but not always). This needs to be checked with every purchase as there is no rule to say that espresso must be made with any kind of roast, it’s just a common trend. Espresso is also great because it can be diluted to make latte or Americano, doing a great job of slowing down drinking time and helping to neutralize the pH level of your coffee.
Does Brewing Method Affect Coffee Acidity?
Brewing at home or at your favorite coffee shop can influence the acidity of your next cup depending on how it’s brewed. The cooler the water used to brew, the fewer acidic oils will be present in the cup. For this reason, cold brewed coffee or any brewing method that uses cooler than normal water will be a useful way of reducing the acid in a cup.
Beyond water temperature, some people believe wholeheartedly that french press is better than drip coffee. It can be better for your stomach if you also brew with a darker roast – at least it will be easier on your stomach.
Particularly hot brewing methods like stovetop espresso or percolator coffee should be avoided while brewing with a french press at slightly lower temperatures can help. Cold brew, obviously, is best as it’s not brewed hot at all.
A middle ground option, if you happen to have an Instant Pot, is to use the sous vide mode to make instant pot cold brew coffee.
Does Low-Acid Coffee Taste Good or Bad?
There are a lot of different low-acid varieties offered on the market, and we’ve read good and bad reviews on most of them.
These are the listed as the best tasting:
- Simpatico Espresso Roast
- Simpatico Mixed Black & Tan
- Puroast Dark Roast Guatemala
These are not advertised as low-acid, but relatively are, and they taste test well:
- Tully’s French Roast
- Peet’s Sumatra Blue Batak
- Water Avenue Coffee Brazil Esperanza
These are listed as the least tasty of the samples tried:
- Tyler’s Acid Free Coffee Regular – mentioned as being bitter from taste-tainted green beans
- Hevla Dark Roast – mentioned as having a musty rotten and ferment
- Hevla Espresso WB – mentioned as mildly musty
- Puroast House Blend – also mildly musty
- HealthWise Gourmet Low Acid 100% Colombia – mentioned as flat and woody tasting
- HealthWise Gourmet Low Acid Organic Colombia – also flat and woody with a hint of rotten ferment
Beyond the bean influence, will cold brewed coffee be to your taste? That is another matter, but there are popular options such as the Aeropress which a lot of people like. It uses water at 175-185F, considerably cooler than the accepted norm of using water just off the boil.
Does Switching to Low-Acid Coffee Really Work?
If you’ve been advised to cut down on the coffee intake, or if you just prefer coffee that has less strength to it, it may be possible to come to a compromise and find a low acid brew that you can drink a lot of.
As a rule of thumb your coffee will be lower in acidity:
- if you choose a coffee bean from a region normally grown at lower altitudes,
- if you choose to brew coffee with a darker roast,
- if you make your coffee under lower temperature.
Cold brew is a matter of personal taste, but if you can find a cold brewed dark roasted coffee grown at low altitudes, you can certainly enjoy a trifecta of low-acid goodness. Mixing in a shot or two of milk or another low-acid / alkaline additive to your on demand coffee can also reduce the acidity of your favorite coffee if you can’t find a low-acid brand that suits your taste. We recommend to continually experiment with different brands and mixers until you find the perfect taste blend and acidity that you crave every morning.