Coffee is not only delicious, but it also has many health benefits. In fact, it has a  number of acidic compounds that assist in many critical bodily functions that are essential to good health

But if the acids in coffee are good for you, then what is low acid coffee? And why is it becoming such a popular buzzword in the coffee industry?

In this post, we'll explore the basics of acid in coffee, what "low acid" coffee really means, as well as clarify many of the myths surrounding it.

The Truth About Acid In Coffee

All coffee contains some measurable amount of acid, which is represented by the well-known pH scale. However, there are over 30 different acidic compounds in coffee but only some of them actually impact the taste.

Because not all of the acids are perceivable when drinking coffee, we call the amount of acid that can be quantified via the ph scale as the measurable acidity and the acids we can actually taste as the perceived acidity.

What Is Low Acid Coffee?

The most basic definition of low acid coffee is that it is a specialty coffee that was grownprocessed, and roasted with the goal of reducing the measurable acidity present in the bean. 

Is It A Myth That Low Acid Coffee Is Better For You?

There is a belief that because low acid coffees have a higher pH level (which means less acid), they are easier on your stomach and are less likely to trigger reactions like heartburn or gastric distress. However, there is very little scientific research that backs up that claim.

First off, the difference in measurable acidity between "normal" coffees and coffees specifically marketed as "low acid" is negligible when it comes to the impact it has on digestive issues.

Some studies indicate that it is the existence of specific compounds such as chlorogenic acid that trigger reactions like acid reflux, and simply comparing the pH level does not provide insight into how much of any particular compound is present. 

Secondly, coffee is lower in measurable acid than many of the drinks you already consume on a daily basis and is thus perfectly safe to consume in moderation.

Editor's Note: We are experts in coffee but not the human body. If you are dealing with any health issues that you believe may be related to the coffee (or anything else) you're consuming, please consult with your physician.

Why Drink Low Acid Coffee?

There are some studies that show a correlation between the measured levels of acid in a coffee and the amount of perceived acids we can taste.

The perceived level of acidity in a coffee is referred to as brightness and it contributes to a coffee's complex tasting notes. Other common tasting notes like tart, citrusy, or even fermented are also a direct result of the perceived acidity levels.

So, yes the acid level can have an impact, but due to flavor, not health reasons. 

Final Thoughts

Coffee is meant to be enjoyed! Buy from reputable coffee roasters, brew it carefully, and drink great coffee that you love!

December 06, 2022