With all the talk lately about acidity being bad for your body, it leaves us wondering if our coffee is acidic and is it bad for you?
Most people just assume that it is acidic. It actually shows up on the pH scale as a 5 which is less than soda, beer or orange juice.
What is Acidity
Acidity is determined from the pH scale. On this scale there are numbers ranging from 0-14. If something measures 7 or under, it’s considered acidic. If its 7 or higher its considered basic.
So is coffee acidic?
Yes. most coffee ranges from 4.5 to 5.5 on the pH scale.
The brewing process releases acids from the beans that help with its flavor.
What you should know is that acidity can mess up the balance of a cup of coffee. Too much acidity and the coffee tastes sour but without it the drink is flat.
What Causes the Acidity?
Several things play a role in the acidity of coffee such as how it’s roasted, brewing, and the ground size.
The time and temperature both affect the acidity while coffee is being roasted. It is said that the hotter the beans are roasted for longer times cause the acid levels to be lower. So this suggests darker roasts being less acidic.
It has been studied that cold brew coffee was lower in acid than hot coffee. The brewing time can also affect it, the longer the brewing process, the less acidic the coffee is.
Size of the Grounds
The smaller the grind, the greater the surface area is in relation to the volume which causes more acid to be extracted during brewing. So, a courser grind is recommended for a cup with lower acidity. The French Press requires a courser grind and would be perfect for this.
Kinds of Acids in Coffee
Chlorogenic acid is the main antioxidant compound in the western diet because of coffee. So if you think about it this way, the darker the roast, the lower this antioxidant compound is going to be in your coffee.
As coffee is roasts the chlorogenic acid degrades to form quinic acid. This ultimately affects the sour sensation that upsets your stomach when you drink coffee. The darker roasts are higher in quinic acid.
These acids are the “good” fruity acids that you want. They include citric, tartaric, and malic acids (to name a few). Malic acid is found in green apples. Citric is in oranges and lemons while tartaric is in grapes or bananas. Each of these acids add a different flavor to the coffee.
What the Acid does to your Health
In some people, it can aggravate certain health problems. People with irritable bowel syndrome or acid reflux and gastric ulcers feel the effects of the acid. It doesn’t cause any of these conditions but it can aggravate them.
How to Reduce the Acid in Coffee
You can choose the dark roasts over the lighter roasts, just remember that it could cause stomach upset.
You can Drink Cold Brew coffee.
Use a course grind and brew longer like with a French Press.
Things in Nature that Affect the Acidity
Factors like the origin it is grown in, the climate, whats in the soil all affect the acidity. Kenyan coffees tend to have more malic acid while Columbian coffees have more citric.
The Elevation is said to affect the acidity depending on the altitude. Cooler temperatures make the coffee ripen at a slower rate. This causes them to develop more complex flavors but more acidic.
This isn’t caused by nature but when they wash the “coffee cherry” (which is the fruit from the tree) it rinses off the fructose and sucrose layers which causes higher acidity. When they process the cherry naturally and let it dry in the shell, the sweetness is increased and the acidity isn’t as noticeable.
Make Sure You Brew Fresh Coffee
When coffee sits, it can cause chemical reactions that can raise the acidity of the drink. You shouldn’t drink coffee that has sat on a warmer for hours or you could be running to the bathroom with an upset stomach. Make sure you drink it fresh to avoid this.
Talking about acidity in coffee is extremely complex. With so much that can affect it, it can be complicated to control. But I think that the acidity is what makes coffee so good. It brings out the flavors and aromas from certain roasts. It can make your cup taste alive with flavor and who wouldn’t want that.
I think of it this way, I like beer and orange juice… they are both more acidic than coffee.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Find ways to Reuse your Coffee Grounds in this post!