Now, as all true coffee fans know, it’s the acid that coffee contains that gives the drink those bright, vibrant flavors that we all love. That’s great unless you are one of those folks who is afflicted with acid reflux or heartburn. You see, it’s the acid in coffee that causes these annoying problems that ruin your enjoyment of the drink.
Thankfully, coffee manufacturers are aware of the issue and have started producing low acid coffee. Who knew?
So, does low acid coffee mean that you can enjoy your morning Java without suffering the consequences for hours afterward? Or is low acid coffee an insipid, flat brew that is just a pale, flavorless imitation of the real thing?
Here at Roasty, we felt it was our duty to research the matter and answer these questions on your behalf.
Not only that, but we’ve also taken time out to track down the very best acid-free coffees on the market. No dishwater, flavorless beverages here my friend; only the best low acid brews that are packed with taste made it into our Super Seven!
But before we get to the buyer’s guide, let’s do the science …
Quick Summary: Best Low Acid Coffee
|Lifeboost Coffee||Buy From Lifeboost →|
|PUROAST – WHOLE BEAN COFFEE||Check on Amazon →|
|Republika Fairtrade Low-Acid Organic Coffee||Check on Amazon →|
|Java Planet Low Acid Coffee||Check on Amazon →|
|Lucy Jo's Coffee||Check on Amazon →|
|Tyler's No Acid Organic Ground Coffee||Check on Amazon →|
|Clean Coffee Co Whole Bean Coffee||Check on Amazon →|
|Mommee Coffee||Check on Amazon →|
|Tieman's Fusion Coffee||Check on Amazon →|
Coffee and acid
Did you know that your standard brew contains around 30 different acids? We thought not. Well, it does, including the same acids that you’ll find in vinegar and citrus fruits.
Acidity is measured using the pH scale. The scale ranges from a highly acidic “0” to a completely basic “14.” Interestingly, pure unadulterated water has a pH of 7, effectively rendering it “neutral.”
So, where does coffee come on the scale? Well, your average cup of Joe comes in at around 5 on the pH scale, making it less acidic than fruit juice. And the acid in your stomach measures a big, fat 0.
Although not everyone is adversely affected by the acids that some foods contain, if your digestive system is a tad on the delicate side, the effects of consuming acidic foods can be most unpleasant.
Coffee and acidity
Okay, still with me?
Now, to muddy the waters, when coffee experts talk about a coffee’s “acidity,” they are actually referring to the flavor notes of the brew, not the acid content. A coffee’s acidity is generally used as a term that indicates the quality of the bean. For example, beans grown at high altitude are often described as being acidic due to the bright, vibrant flavor notes they give.
So, the takeaway here is that you shouldn’t automatically avoid a brand of coffee merely because the word “acidity” is mentioned in its profile. Dark roasts are generally less acidic because of their flavor profile. However, they are higher in quinic acid, which can give you that nasty, sour feeling in your stomach.
Roasty’s Super Seven Best Low Acid Coffee
If you’re susceptible to acid reflux, heartburn, and other digestive issues that are triggered by drinking coffee, you must try one of these delicious low acid coffees.
In fact, coffee fans who find the acidic flavors of some coffees too bitter and unpleasant have begun routinely drinking low acid coffee. The acid content of these brews is minimal, and the other flavors of the bean are more refined and “brighter.” In particular, notes such as fruit, nuts, and chocolate are said to be much more readily detectable in low acid coffees.
So, here are our seven favorite low acid coffees for you to try.
LifeBoost – Low Acid Coffee
Our top pick for low acid coffee is Lifeboost Coffee.
The secret behind this low acid bean is that nothing is added and nothing is taken away. It’s purely due to its location and the way it is grown.
These Nicaraguan beans are non GMO, fair trade, specialty bean, USDA certified organic, certified Kosher, single-origin ( from a single farm), and shade-grown at an elevation above 5700 ft, which is ironic since most low acid coffee is grown at lower elevations.
Shade grown coffee acquires complex, desirable flavors as the coffee cherry has time to properly mature. The fruit’s natural sugars burst through and add a rich flavor to the final product. Less than 2% of the world’s coffee is shade grown and Lifeboost is at the top of that 2%.
Farmers handpick only the best beans and each bean is not allowed to be picked until it is completely mature. Lifeboost coffee beans are then sun dried to the perfect humidity of 11.5% to ensure there is no mold. Finally the coffee is slow roasted giving you a smooth, chocolatey caramel flavor that is ultra low acid with no bitter aftertaste.
We tested a cup with pH testing strips and it comes out as a pH of 6. (Remember water is neutral at 7 on the pH scale)
The downside? They are a bit pricey. But, high quality often comes with a price.
Puroast – Whole Bean Coffee Low Acid Mistletoe Mocha
Puroast prepare their low-acid coffee by slowly roasting their Venezuelan-style beans in a wood fire. The resulting coffee has 70% less acidity compared to regular coffee produced by other leading brands.
Also, Puroast coffee contains seven times more antioxidants than green tea and five times more than other leading coffee brands. Only 100% premium coffee is used to create this superb coffee; no calories, no gluten, no additives, and it’s certified kosher too.
And the flavor? Well, it’s a smooth, fragrant dark roast. Delicious.
Republika Coffee Fairtrade Low-Acid Organic Coffee
Republika uses 100% Arabica organic beans that are air-roasted to create their low acid coffee. The coffee beans are sourced from non-GMO Rainforest Verified, Fairtrade plantations.
The coffee is full of flavor, well-balanced, and non-bitter. With 80% of the acidity having been removed from the coffee beans, it’s also gentle on your stomach and your teeth enamel. Republika’s offering is excellent for cold brewing, as well as for making regular hot brew Java.
So, if you want to enjoy a clean brew with a superb flavor that won’t upset your digestion or damage your teeth, this one’s for you.
Java Planet Low Acid, Medium Dark Roast Coffee
Java Planet is a family-owned producer who uses only GMO-free, USDA-certified organic coffee.
Gourmet Columbian Arabica beans are used to make this low acid ground coffee. The beans are roasted in small batches for optimum flavor retention and freshness.
Speaking of flavor, you can expect to enjoy a big, balanced taste with full body and very mild acidity with this brew. Delicious!
Lucy Jo’s Coffee, Organic Mellow Belly Low Acid Blend
Lucy Jo’s Coffee Roastery is a family-run coffee roastery that’s located in New York. The organic Arabica coffee beans used to create this ground blend are sourced from Indonesia and Brazil.
A combination of coffee beans that are naturally low in acid and a slow roasting process produces a delicious coffee with a smooth finish and sweet, earthy flavors, and subtle overtones of spice.
Tyler’s No Acid Organic Ground Coffee
Tyler’s Coffee was founded in 2004 by Tyler Ornstein after learning that his father could not have coffee anymore because of its acidity. The coffee is all organic and uses 100% Arabica beans to make a coffee that has a neutral pH.
Tyler’s uses single-source beans from Chiapas in Mexico to deliver the only fully acid-free coffee currently on the market. It’s roasting and decaffeinating processes are completely natural and deliver a flavorful, unique coffee experience. Tyler’s boasts on its website that it is doctor recommended for those with low acid needs. A great coffee for those who thought they might never have coffee again!
Clean Coffee Co. Whole Bean Coffee
Two childhood friends founded Clean Coffee Co., determined to create a pure, great-tasting brew. Clean Coffee uses single-source beans from the Papua New Guinea Highlands.
Clean Coffee Co. delivers a low acid coffee with a smooth, satisfying taste. The company takes pride in its production process, bean quality, and all-natural goodness. The company’s quest for the perfect coffee bean and to produce a truly clean cup o’ joe is apparent in the final product.
Two college friends who met at Stanford created Mommee Coffee, a coffee targeted to women in the early stages of being parents. Mommee uses organic beans and promotes a chemical-free decaffeination process.
One of the selling points of Mommee Coffee is that it has variable amounts of caffeine, allowing coffee drinkers to adjust their caffeine intake based on their needs. Mommee Coffee is a great tasting coffee with a priority on allowing you to control what you are putting in your body. Great for women during pregnancies and new mothers who want to monitor their caffeine intake.
Tieman’s Fusion Coffee, Low Acid Medium Roast
Tieman’s Fusion low acid ground coffee is created from 100% Arabica beans sourced from South and Central America. The fusion part in the coffee’s moniker refers to the addition of Rooibos red tea, goji berry, and Matcha green tea, rendering the finished product near neutral pH and therefore very low in acid.
Also, the coffee contains five times your daily requirement of antioxidants. The Matcha green tea burns stored fat as it creates energy, so you get to enjoy the caffeine boost without the jitters and the dodgy stomach, and you might lose a few inches off your waistline too.
The flavor you can expect is ultra-smooth, and this coffee makes a fabulous French press brew.
Choosing a low acid coffee
There are two primary types of low acid coffee: treated and inadvertent.
So, what’s the difference?
Treated Low Acid Coffee
Treated low acid coffee refers to coffee that’s produced using special processing techniques to deliberately produce low acid results. For example, Brazilian coffee that’s roasted using a very slow or interrupted roasting process will be less acidic. Also, steaming the beans to get rid of their waxy outer coating before roasting has a similar effect.
Inadvertent Low Acid Coffee
Inadvertent low acid coffee refers to coffees that are naturally low in acid. As a rule, coffee that’s grown at low elevations tends to be low in acid. The soil in coffee producing nations such as Brazil, Sumatra, Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico naturally yields beans with low acid content.
It’s also possible to reduce the acid content of coffee by mixing the grounds with a stomach-soothing powder. Alkalizing products like this are effective in reducing the acidity of the brew, but they do interfere with the flavor.
Ways of minimizing coffee’s acidity
The color of the roast can heavily influence the coffee’s acidity. As a rule, dark roasts tend to be much less acidic than lighter ones. Also, drying the beans whole, especially while still in the pulp helps to minimize acidity.
Arabica beans contain considerably less acid than Robusta beans.
Therefore, choosing a 100% Arabica, single source coffee bean that’s grown on a low-elevation Brazilian plantation, dried whole, and dark roasted should, in theory, give you a brew that’s very low in acid.
Check Your Water
The water you use to brew the coffee can have an impact on its acidity. If you are using tap water, be aware that the water quality could affect the coffee’s pH level. One great option to ensure that the water you are using is not making your coffee more acidic is to use a water filtration system.
This might be a big ask for the committed coffee drinker, but facts are facts, and decaf will cause your stomach to produce less acid than more caffeinated coffee. If you are looking for coffee that will be a bit milder on your stomach, decaf might be the way to go.
Cold brew is the way to go …
Cold brew coffee is less acidic, according to a recent study published in Nature. The study states, “Cold brew coffee extracts were found to have lower concentrations of acidic compounds and may be less chemically diverse than hot brew coffee extracts prepared from the same beans.”
The brewing method and temperature you use to create your brew will heavily influence the acidity of the finished beverage.
The most effective brewing method for producing low acid coffee is a slow-steeped cold brew.
In fact, cold brew coffee is around 70% less acidic than a regular cup of hot coffee made from the same beans. You can make cold brew coffee in a French press; check out this Roasty article to find out how to do it.
But if you want a hot brew …
Now, that’s all very well, but you’re not going to want a chilled brew when the snow’s falling, and it’s sub-zero outside. Don’t despair!
By avoiding a fine grind, you can still brew a hot cup of Joe that’s lower in acid. For example, using a French press with coarsely ground beans will produce a brew that’s relatively low in acid. That’s because the more coarsely ground the beans, the less acid they’ll secrete into the water.
If you like milk or cream in your coffee, that’s a great way of diluting the acidity of your drink. Why? Well, the calcium contained in dairy has powerful antacid qualities.
If you take your coffee black, you could try adding a flavorless calcium powder to your brew to neutralize the acid content.
Other Benefits Of Low Acid Coffee
There are plenty of health benefits to switching to a low acid coffee brand:
Milder on your stomach
No one likes an upset stomach, and less acidic coffee is milder on your stomach and less likely to aggravate an issue like acid reflux. Our stomach contains hydrochloric acid and pepsin for digestive purposes and to kill potentially harmful bacteria.
Some foods can cause the body to create more acid in the stomach, and a surplus of acid can result in acid reflux, a condition where acid rises into the esophagus and throat. For those prone to acid reflux, coffee that is less acidic is a must.
Better for your teeth
Stomach acid can greatly damage your teeth. Therefore, a beverage that discourages acid reflux is better for your teeth. Coffee by itself (no sugar) does not appear cause tooth decay. But, one of the consequences of drinking more acidic coffee is that it can cause acid reflux which can be very damaging to teeth.
More acidic coffee is worse for your teeth enamel. Yes, coffee can stain your teeth, but the more acidic the coffee, the more damage it can do.
Better For Fitness
During exercise, the lower esophagus weakens, increasing the possibility of acid reflux. If you are a coffee drinker who enjoys working out, this combination can create a recipe for acid reflux.
The fact that you are also bouncing when you run, stirring up the contents of your stomach, adds to the potential for issues. Coffee that is less acidic can lessen the chances of acid reflux occurring as a result of exercise.
FRequently Asked Questions
Does acid-free coffee exist?
There is only one coffee we are aware of that claims to be 100% free of acid, and that is Tyler’s coffee. Most coffees state that they are “low acid” rather than acid-free. Being acid-free means having a neutral pH level. The pH level ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. The lower the number, the higher the acidity.
Coffee is one factor that can aggravate acid reflux or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some of the symptoms include regurgitation of food, difficulty swallowing, and chest pain. Although there is only one coffee currently that has a neutral pH level, there are several coffee brands that offer a low acid coffee option.
Is decaf coffee acidic?
Decaf coffee is acidic, but studies have found that it is less acidic than caffeinated coffee. Specifically, it was found that when caffeine was extracted, phenolic acid levels were reduced. In general, decaf coffee tends is less likely to cause heartburn and create acid issues than caffeinated coffee because caffeine causes your stomach to produce more acid.
The bottom line is that caffeine is a potential trigger for heartburn and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Regular coffee is a significant source of caffeine, containing more caffeine than tea or even soda. Therefore, decaf can be an option for those looking to limit heartburn caused by coffee.
Is low acid coffee good for acid reflux or heartburn?
Less acidic coffee can be a much better option for those who suffer from acid reflux and GERD. Caffeine in coffee actually stimulates the production of stomach acid, and coffee that is less acidic or contains less caffeine can reduce the chances of acid reflux occurring.
Coffee and its caffeine content can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter. This, combined with an increase in stomach acid, can aggravate symptoms associated with GERD. Low acid coffees can avoid these potential pitfalls.
Does Starbucks have low acid coffee?
If you’re a fan of the popular coffee franchise and on the hunt for low acid coffee, then we’ve got good news for you. Starbucks has dozens of coffee blends on the market, and several of them boast low acid levels. And it gets even better: the three lower acid Starbucks blends we’re sharing with you happen to be among the brand’s most popular blends!
Here’s a quick rundown on the best low acid coffee options at Starbucks:
If a less intense low acid brew is more your style, we recommend Starbucks’s Breakfast Blend. With its tangy citrus flavor and notes of brown sugar and orange, this mild-medium roast is sure to make your morning a little peppier with no discomfort later.
Maybe dark roasts are your thing, and if that’s the case, the brand’s Sumatra Blend may be a good option for you. With almost no acidity, the full-bodied and smooth coffee has a nice, earthy flavor that’s strong enough to stand alone. For a more intense low acidity roast, give Starbucks’s French Roast a try. It’s the darkest roast the company has to offer, and this smoky and intense blend has been a customer favorite since its introduction in 1971.
Wrapping it up
So, even if your digestion is a delicate flower, you can still enjoy great coffee without sacrificing quality or flavor.
Order yourself a low acid brand of coffee (like those we’ve reviewed for you), and focus on cold brewing or using your French press with a coarse grind to maximize the benefits of this specialty coffee.
You can choose whole beans and make your grind yourself, buy pre-ground coffee, or use coffee pods if you have a Keurig machine. So, there’s something for everyone.
Look forward to enjoying a flavorsome cup of Joe. Without an antacid chaser!
Happy Heartburn-Free Caffeinating!