I love coffee but it doesn’t love me.
Have you ever said these words? If so, you are most likely one of many who is afflicted with acid reflux or heartburn. As a matter of fact, the National Institutes of Health estimate that 40% of individuals in the United States suffer from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Many people believe caffeine is the culprit in their discomfort, but in truth, it is the acid in the coffee that causes these annoying problems. Luckily, coffee manufacturers have stepped up and started producing reduced acid coffee that will allow you to enjoy your coffee once again.
If your morning cup is the drink you love to hate, you should check out these low acid coffees.
Our Top Picks
|Best Light Roast||Java Planet Colombian Organic|
|Best Medium Roast||Tieman’s Fusion|
|Best Dark Roast||Tres Hermanos Brazilian Bourbon Santos|
|Best Organic||Lucy Jo’s Mellow Belly Blend|
Signs Your Coffee Is Too Acidic
Not everyone has a problem with the acid in coffee. Unfortunately, some of us do. Repeated exposure to the acid in coffee can really take its toll over time and if you are someone who is vulnerable to foods with a lot of acid, coffee can be your worst nightmare.
Symptoms such as heartburn, acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux can all be signs that your coffee is to blame.
So if you are having any of these issues after your morning joe, you may want to consider one of the brews on our list.
Lifeboost Coffee is an environmentally friendly and health-conscious brand that is relatively new to the coffee scene. The best thing about Lifeboost low acid coffee is that it doesn’t undergo any special processing to make it a reduced acid coffee. Instead, the lower acid content can be attributed to the growing region and the manner in which the beans are grown. The coffee has been pH tested and comes out at a 6 on the pH scale, (with regular coffee at a 5 and pure water at a 7).
Most low acid coffee beans are grown at low elevations but Lifeboost actually grows their coffee at over 5,700 feet above sea level. This higher elevation prevents the growth of mold and mycotoxins. They allow their beans to grow slowly and completely mature before harvest. They then handpick only the best beans and then wash them with mountain spring water. The beans are then sun-dried to 11.5% humidity to ensure no mold develops on the green coffee beans.
The beans are shade-grown which allows them to develop a complex flavor. The natural sugars in the fruit burst through (think apples and berries) and the result is a richly flavored coffee that is smooth with notes of chocolate and caramel, with no bitter aftertaste.
All of Lifeboost’s coffee is single-origin and grown on a single farm in Nicaragua. The shade-grown beans are fair trade, small-batch roasted, pesticide-free, USDA certified organic, certified Kosher, and non-GMO.
Lifeboost is definitely one of our favorites. The only downside is the price. Lifeboost coffee is not inexpensive, but we think the price is totally worth it to have quality coffee without the stabbing stomach pain.
Puroast Coffee’s founders set out to create a great coffee that was savory, rich, and smooth. As a result, they stumbled upon a coffee that was also remarkably low in acid. Puroast claims their coffee is 70% less acidic than regular coffee and has the data to back their clam up.
Measuring in at a 5.81 on the pH scale, Puroast is significantly less acidic than the average coffee which ranks in at a 5. Their coffee is also organic, gluten-free, and Kosher.
Their coffee is sourced from Venezuela, which could be a factor in its lower acidity level, but the roasting technique itself is also a contributor. Inspired by the traditional brewers of Venezuela, they use a slow-roasting technique they call “pure roasting.” They roast their beans over a wood fire, allowing the beans to roast much more slowly than a conventional roaster. This allows the beans to achieve a deep, dark French roast without having high levels of quinic acid. The result is a dark, rich roast with a lower acid content and subsequently, higher in antioxidants.
If you are looking for a nice dark roast without stomach pain, Puroast is a solid choice and If you prefer K-cups, their low acid coffee pods offer that option as well.
When it comes to drinking coffee, pregnant women often find themselves out of luck. They can switch to decaf to make sure their consumption is safe for the baby but end up with heartburn and excess nausea from the high acid levels.
Mommee Coffee is a creation by two long time friends who met at Stanford. Looking for a way to safely consume quality coffee while pregnant, they founded Mommee Coffee, a company targeted at women in the early stages of parenthood. They not only produce coffee that is lower in acid but also use organic coffee beans and a chemical-free decaffeination process.
Mommee allows coffee drinkers to carefully monitor their caffeine intake by offering ¼, ½, and fully caffeinated versions of their low acid brew.
Mommee Coffee is organically processed with no harmful chemicals and FairTrade certified. Their beans are slow-roasted to help reduce the acid content without the use of any additives and the lower caffeine versions use a water processing method to decaffeinate the coffee without the use of chemicals. Their beans have even been tested and found to have acid levels that are five times lower than the average cup of joe.
While Mommee Coffee is intended for pregnant women, anyone can benefit from this reduced acid brew. The fully caffeinated coffee is a medium roast that may taste light in flavor to some but is a lifesaver for those suffering from acid reflux.
In 1982, three brothers founded a coffee roasting company whose sole purpose was to provide a better caliber coffee for the masses. They believed that you shouldn’t have to go to a high-end coffee shop to get a great cup of coffee. They set out to create an affordable brew that rivaled the best that those high-end coffee shops had to offer.
They spent over 35 years perfecting their roasting techniques and developed a patented process using handmade air-roasters that would remove 80% of the acidity from the coffee beans. This new technique created a well balanced and never bitter coffee that is also easy on your stomach and gentle on your tooth enamel.
All of Tres Hermanos coffee is organic, non-GMO, and sourced from only the best farms that pay their workers a fair wage.
Lucy Jo’s Coffee Roastery is a small, family-run business located in New York. They import their organic coffee beans from Indonesia and Brazil and pride themselves on providing the freshest roasted coffee available.
Their Arabica coffee beans are grown and harvested in lower altitudes which results in a coffee with lower acid content. They then hand roast small batches using a slow roasting process to ensure the final product is as low in acid as it can get.
Their Mellow Belly Blend is a medium-dark roast and has a rich body and smooth finish, with buttery flavor notes of sweet brown sugar, overtones of spice, and very little bitterness.
Lucy Jo’s has an entire line of reduced acid coffees and we recommend you try their Sumatra too!
Don Pablo Cafe’s Subtle Earth is a superb example of coffee that is both environmentally friendly and stomach-friendly too. While it’s not unusual for organic coffee to have lower acidity levels in general, Don Pablo Cafe takes it a step further.
They use beans grown and harvested at high altitudes in the mountains of Honduras. The rich mountain soil and lack of pesticides produce quality coffee beans. Since high altitude beans are naturally acidic, they use a special slow roasting method to balance the acids, creating a tummy-friendly blend.
Subtle Earth has a complex and fully developed flavor profile with a subtle earthy aroma. With the first sip, you will notice a bitter, pungent bite with a sweetness that has hints of honey, caramel, and chocolate.
Tieman’s Fusion Coffee combines coffee with Matcha green tea, Rooibos red tea, and Goji powder. This coffee is unique, to say the least. A coffee and tea hybrid may not be the first thing that you think of when it comes to reduced acid coffee but Tieman’s proves it to be a viable option.
The addition of Matcha provides caffeine for extra energy, the red rooibos calms digestion, and Goji berries are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties.
In reality, the addition of teas and Goji berries do not really affect the coffee taste since the fusion happens at the molecular level, immediately after roasting. The low acidity of Arabica beans from Guatemala, Colombia, and Ecuador, combined with these other health-friendly ingredients make this coffee a favorite among many health-conscious individuals.
Loaded with five times more antioxidants than a cup of green tea, this fusion allows you to have your coffee without the stabbing stomach and chest pain all while packing a punch for your immune system as well.
The “coffee first” flavor is smooth and mild making it a great coffee to enjoy all day long.
Euromild is the perfect choice for those looking for a mild reduced acid coffee.
This is one of the least acidic coffee brands we have found. Using only the highest quality Colombian Arabica coffee beans, Euromild boasts a 99.5% acid removal rate. The coffee is slow roasted and has a smooth and silky finish, while still being rich enough that you don’t feel like you are drinking a watered-down brew.
Java Planet is a small, family-run coffee producer whose beans are of the best quality. The Colombian Organic from Java Planet is the perfect pick for someone who is looking for the bright, acidic flavor of coffee but without the actual acid levels.
Their USDA organic and FairTrade certified coffee is all grown in Colombia. The Arabica beans are slow-roasted in small batches to keep acid levels at bay.
The coffee itself has a smooth and well-rounded taste with a hint of toastiness, balanced out with notes of fruit and chocolate. It is a perfect brew for those who prefer a lighter roast.
Stuck in the Middle is a medium roast coffee that is packed with flavor while still being suitable for those with acid reflux issues.
Trucup uses a proprietary water and steam process to remove the naturally occurring tannic and lipid acids from each coffee bean. The beans are then slow-roasted in small, artisan batches to preserve the flavor and caffeine content. The result is a reduced acid coffee that is gentle on the stomach but not lacking in taste.
This coffee is well balanced and sweetly smooth with no bitterness and an overall mellow flavor.
HealthWise uses a specialized roasting process called “TechnoRoasting.” This FDA approved process has made them one of the biggest names in reduced acid coffee. The process itself removes the acidic elements of the coffee bean while maintaining all of the flavor as well as essential minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins that are often lost in the traditional roasting process.
The reduction in acid levels HealthWise has achieved is far more significant than some of the other low acid coffees. Reaching a pH of 6.2, their coffee is almost as acid-neutral as water.
The brew is mild with a full-bodied yet mellow flavor and no harshness or bitterness.
When people ask us: What is the least acidic coffee you have found, we have to say it is Tyler’s Coffee. Founded in 2004 by Tyler Ornstein after learning that his father could no longer have coffee due to its acidity, he set out to create a coffee his dad could still enjoy.
Using 100% Organic Arabica beans sourced from Chiapas, Mexico, this coffee is the only fully acid-free coffee on the market.
Tyler’s Coffee uses only natural roasting and decaffeinated processes to create a flavorful coffee that is gentle on your stomach and your tooth enamel.
What is reduced acid coffee?
If reduced acid coffee will let you enjoy your morning cup without the consequences, how exactly do they do it? Is low acid coffee a bland coffee that is just a flavorless imitation of the real thing?
Not at all. Some coffee is just naturally lower in acid. The acid content can also be altered by the way the coffee is processed as well as the way it is brewed. That’s right. You can lower the acidity of your coffee just by changing the way you brew it.
Let’s take a look at the facts.
What’s actually happening in the stomach?
The acid in foods and drinks, including coffee, causes issues for around 40% of Americans who suffer from acid reflux. Your symptoms can be anywhere from mild stomach discomfort or as severe as a stabbing pain in your chest.
According to the Mayo Clinic, acid reflux occurs when the muscle at the lower end of your esophagus relaxes at the wrong time, allowing stomach acid to back up into your esophagus. Frequent or constant reflux can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD.
Types of Acids and Acidity in Coffee
Let’s look at the two main types of acid in coffee: chlorogenic acid and quinic acid.
Chlorogenic acids are the antioxidants found in coffee. These components are inside the coffee bean itself and contribute to coffee’s “healthy” qualities. Depending on the beans you choose, they can have more or less of this kind of acid. As coffee goes through the roasting process, this kind of acid is cooked away. Darker roasts typically have less chlorogenic acid giving them a darker (less bright) flavor.
Quinic acid is the result of chlorogenic acid being broken down during the roasting process. It has a bitter and astringent taste and can contribute significantly to stomach discomfort. Quinic acid does not occur naturally in coffee but is a by-product of the chlorogenic acid that is a result of a process called hydrolysis. Keep in mind coffee grown at high altitudes contains more chlorogenic acid as a general rule, so a darker roast from a high altitude coffee will also be higher in quinic acid and more likely to cause stomach upset.
What does the acidity level mean?
Okay, so now we have looked at two different kinds of acids found in coffee, but did you know that your average cup of coffee contains around 30 different acids?
Acidity is measured using the pH scale, which ranges from a highly acidic 0 (think battery acid) to a completely basic 14 (think liquid drain cleaner). Are you still with me? We know that you shouldn’t drink either of these products, so to put things into perspective, pure water has a pH of 7 (a neutral level).
Coffee comes in on the pH scale at around 5, making it more acidic than water but less acidic than fruit juice and soda.
Why does coffee cause acid problems for some people and not others?
Every person’s body works just a little bit differently. If the acidity in coffee leaves you feeling like a dagger is being plunged into your chest but your neighbor can drink 6 cups a day with no problems, it is most likely due to your gut chemistry.
Each person’s gut chemistry varies due to different types and concentrations of healthy bacteria that make up your gut microbiome. Introducing additional acidic to the stomach can make the stomach overly acidic in some individuals. This unbalanced acidity can cause issues ranging from a slightly upset stomach to full-blown acid reflux.
The second factor that can affect the stomach is the caffeine content in the coffee. When you ingest large amounts of caffeine, it can cause your muscles to relax. This relaxation of the esophageal muscles is what allows the stomach acid to spill out, causing reflux.
Unfortunately, the only way to know how your stomach reacts to acid is to observe your body’s reaction after eating acidic foods.
What should I look for in a low acid coffee?
Where the coffee is grown affects the amount of naturally occurring acids in the beans. Keep the origin in mind when looking for low acid coffees. Coffees grown in Sumatra, Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru tend to be lower in acid overall due to the composition of the soil they are grown in.
Treated Reduced Acid Coffee
Some coffee is put through a specialized processing technique to deliberately lower the naturally occurring acid. One method would be steaming the beans before roasting to remove their waxy outer coating. The acid can also be lowered by roasting the coffee using a very slow or interrupted roasting process.
Inadvertent Reduced Acid Coffee
Some coffees are just naturally low in acid. Coffee grown in lower elevations tends to be lower in acid. The soil composition can also affect the acid content. Coffees that are grown in Sumatra, Peru, Brazil, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Guatemala also yield beans that have a lower acid content.
Ways of minimizing coffee’s Acidity
How do you make coffee less acidic? Can it even be done? The answer is YES! You can actually lower the acidity in your brew by changing a few things in the brewing process.
The color of the roast can significantly affect the acidity level in the coffee. As a rule, lighter roasts tend to have less of the quinic acid that often causes stomach upset. Drying the beans whole, while still in their pulp can also minimize the acidity of the beans.
Keep in mind that Arabica beans contain considerably lower acid levels than Robusta beans so choosing a 100% Arabica grown at a lower elevation should help you have a brew that’s lower in acid overall.
Try a Dark Roast
Wait….what? You just said lighter roast coffee has less acid! We realize this conflicting information can be incredibly confusing but hear us out.
The way coffee is roasted has a lot to do with the acidity levels in the brew itself. Darker roasts are generally higher in quinic acid…unless that is, they are slow-roasted. When coffee is roasted at a low temperature for an extended period of time, it creates the compound NMP (N-methylpyridinium). This compound lowers the acid secretions created by your stomach cells. Many health-conscious coffee brands have used this scientific knowledge to their advantage and created a nice dark brew with lower acid content.
Use Filtered Water
The water you use to brew your coffee can also impact the acidity level of your brew. Tap water varies greatly from one location to the next. Since you are unlikely to know the exact composition of your tap water, we suggest using filtered water to brew your coffee. Using filtered water can be as simple as using a pitcher filtration system, purchasing distilled water, or as complex as installing a home water filtration system.
Consider Switching to Decaf
For those who rely on their daily dose of caffeine, this is a huge ask. The fact of the matter is, caffeine activates the acid in coffee that causes your stomach distress. Decaffeinated coffee will cause your stomach to produce less acid in general so decaf may be milder on your stomach.
Cold Brew Can Help
Finally, you can reduce the pH of your coffee by using a cold brew method. Cold brewing produces coffee that has lower concentrations of acidic compounds than traditionally brewed coffee. Each cup of cold brew is around 70% less acidic than its hot brewed counterpart.
Don’t worry, making cold brew is easy. All you need is a large pitcher, coarsely ground coffee, and water. You simply dump the grounds in the pitcher and add water. 12 hours later you have a reduced acid coffee that is ready to drink. Just filter out the grounds and store them in the fridge. The coffee should keep for several days and if you are worried about how you will filter out the grounds, you could use cheesecloth, a large coffee filter, or you can even buy inexpensive cold brew starter kits.
But what if I prefer hot coffee?
Iced coffee is great in the summer but no one wants an icy cup of coffee when the snow is falling and it’s below freezing outside. You can zap your cold brew in the microwave for a steaming hot cup of coffee. Since the acid is derived from the grounds, the coffee should remain low in acid.
You can further dilute the acidity of your coffee by adding milk or cream. The calcium in dairy products has powerful antacid qualities. Not a fan of dairy? You can try adding a flavorless calcium powder to neutralize your brew instead.
Other Benefits of Reduced Acid Coffee
There are many benefits when it comes to switching to a reduced acid coffee brand. Acidic coffees are harder on your digestive system than reduced acid coffees. This is especially true if you are prone to gastric issues such as heartburn or acid reflux.
Reduced Acid Coffee is Milder on Your Stomach
If you have an overly sensitive stomach, are prone to heartburn, or have acid reflux then you want a coffee that will not contribute to those problems. The stomach naturally contains hydrochloric acid and pepsin to help you digest your food. Some foods can also cause the stomach to create even more acid.
Excess acid can result in acid reflux (a condition in which acid rises into the esophagus and throat. Caffeine can further exacerbate this issue by causing the muscle that closes off the esophagus to relax and allow the acid in.
Better Before Exercising
When you exercise vigorously, the lower esophagus relaxes and the potential for acid reflux is increased. Aerobic exercises like running and cross-fit cause you to bounce around during the activity. This further stirs up the acid and increases your chance of experiencing acid reflux.
If you like to work out right after you’ve had your morning cup, you may want to consider a reduced acid coffee to minimize your chances of reflux.
Better for your teeth
Finally, acid is terrible for your teeth. Over time, the acid in coffee, soda, and other foods can strip the enamel coating that protects your teeth. The loss of enamel can cause cavities over time. If you have noticed that lately, you have been having trouble with acid reflux accompanied by tooth pain, your morning cup of joe could be to blame.
Does acid free coffee exist?
The only coffee we have found that claims to be 100% free of acid is Tyler’s Coffee. The majority claim to be low acid or reduced acid coffee rather than acid-free.
Is decaf coffee acidic?
Decaf coffee does contain acid but is typically less acidic than its caffeinated counterpart. When caffeine is extracted from the coffee beans, phenolic acid levels are usually reduced. In general, decaf is less likely to cause heartburn than caffeinated coffee since caffeine causes your stomach to actually produce extra acid.
Is reduced acid coffee good for acid reflux or heartburn?
Coffee lower in acidity is a much better option for those who are plagued with heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD. Regular coffee that is high in caffeine can cause the stomach to produce excess acid, irritating these conditions.
Does starbucks have low acid coffee?
If you love Starbucks and are looking for a great reduced acid coffee, then you are in luck. Starbucks’ Breakfast Blend, Sumatra, and French Roast are all lower in acid and happen to be some of their most popular blends. If you prefer a light roast, stick to the Breakfast Blend but if a dark roast is more your thing, try one of the other two.
Can you reduce the acidity level of regular coffee?
Yes. There are a few things you can do to lower coffee’s acidity. Using a cold brewing method can create coffee with a lower acidity level, as can adding calcium through milk, cream, or an unflavored powder.
Even if you have a sensitive stomach, you don’t have to give up your favorite morning ritual. We have given you a variety of options out there that will let you brew your coffee and drink it too!
So, try out a few of the reduced acid coffees we mentioned and look forward to your next cup…no antacid needed!