There are countless reasons why so many of us reach for a cup of coffee every morning. In addition to helping you wake up and face the day, coffee can be healthy, not to mention tasty. But what happens when you love coffee but you can’t have it?
Unfortunately, coffee can be difficult for some people to drink, despite its benefits. The main reason why some can’t drink coffee is the high acidity, which can be hard on sensitive stomachs. For these coffee lovers, low-acid coffee is a great solution.
Low acid coffee is coffee that has been treated to raise its pH, making it less acidic. Low acid instant coffee is a powder that you mix directly with water to make low acid coffee. It’s a very convenient way to drink coffee that’s easier on your stomach.
What is acid in coffee?
Coffee is made from brewing coffee beans with water. Coffee beans are the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, which grow inside a type of fruit called coffee cherries. The coffee seeds contain many naturally occurring acids that contribute to the acidity level of brewed coffee.
The coffee seeds, also called green coffee, are then roasted before they can be used to make coffee. Lighter roasts are made from coffee seeds roasted for shorter periods or at lower temperatures. Dark roast coffee beans are roasted longer at up to 482°F.
All liquids have a pH level, a measure of how acidic or basic that liquid is. Very acidic liquids have a low pH (closer to 1), and very basic liquids have a high pH (closer to 14). Water has a neutral pH of 7.
Coffee naturally ranges between 4.5 and 5.5 on the pH scale. Low acid coffee is often treated to reduce its acid content, so its pH is usually around 6. Remember, the higher the number, the lower the amount of acid present.
The acid level in coffee is different than its acidity. Acid levels refer to pH, while acidity refers to taste.
Coffee Roasts With Higher Acid Levels
The roasting process can affect how much acid is in coffee beans. In general, cold brews have less acid than traditionally prepared coffee. It’s also worth noting that very cheap coffee beans also tend to have high acidity.
Here is the average pH level (acidity) of different popular coffee roasts:
- Dark roast (also called French roast): 4.5-5.0
- Medium roast: 5.0-5.5
- Light roast (sometimes called a “breakfast blend”): 5.3-5.8
When reading this list, don’t forget that lower numbers mean higher acidity.
The decaffeination process can also change coffee’s acidity. Decaf coffee is generally less acidic than regular coffee, and it makes stomach cells secrete less acid during digestion compared to caffeinated coffee.
Who should avoid acidic coffee?
Some people need to avoid acidic coffee more than others. Most people tolerate the acids in coffee just fine, but others can be very sensitive to them.
For people who produce too much stomach acid or have a more sensitive gastrointestinal tract, the extra acid in coffee can cause digestive issues.
Here are some of the groups who should avoid highly acidic coffee:
- People with acid reflux/GERD: If you have acid reflux, drinking coffee with reduced acid content can help ease your symptoms, particularly if you experience them after drinking coffee on an empty stomach. These patients may also benefit from drinking decaf coffee.
- IBS patients: Coffee can exacerbate IBS symptoms by making you have to “go” and irritating the gastrointestinal tract.
- People with thin tooth enamel: Acidic drinks like high acid coffee can wear away at the enamel of the teeth. It’s not a problem for most people, but drinking a low acid coffee can help protect your teeth if you have thin enamel.
- Patients with bladder inflammation like interstitial cystitis: Patients with interstitial cystitis should avoid highly acidic foods and drinks in general, including high-acid coffee.
People who have these issues can benefit from drinking low acid coffee like Golden Ratio’s original gold coffee. It’s easier on the stomach and can be the perfect solution for coffee lovers who can’t tolerate high acid coffee.
Is instant coffee bad for acid reflux? Instant coffee is bad for acid reflux if you drink regular coffee. Low acid instant coffee is much easier on your stomach and is better for patients with acid reflux.
Low Acid Coffee Benefits
Low acid coffee has the same flavor profile as regular coffee, but it can be better for you in several ways. The benefits of low acid coffee include:
- Better for your stomach: Regular coffee can irritate your stomach because it’s so acidic, particularly if you drink coffee on an empty stomach. Drinking low acid coffee lets you drink coffee without upsetting your stomach.
- Better for your teeth: Drinks with lower acidity are better for your tooth enamel. If you’re going to drink coffee, low acid coffee is definitely the way to go.
What is the difference between regular coffee and low acid coffee? The difference between regular coffee and low acid coffee is low acid coffee has a higher pH. Low acid coffee is also generally easier on your stomach, particularly if you have digestive problems.
The 9 Best Low Acid Coffees
Wondering which low acid instant coffees to try? We’ve got you covered, fellow coffee drinkers! Here is a list of the best low acid coffees available today, particularly those with an instant brewing option, plus the pros and cons of each.
The 3 best options are:
- Golden Ratio
6 other tasty low acid coffees to try:
- Java Planet
- Tieman’s Fusion
- Lucy Jo
- Folgers Simply Smooth®
1. Golden Ratio
Golden Ratio low acid coffee is a non-traditional, standout choice. Golden Ratio coffees are made with a unique roasting process that keeps the acid content extremely low without sacrificing any flavors. They also don’t use the chemicals required for traditional instant coffee.
It’s also highly convenient to make, coming in pouches that simply require a glass of hot or cold water to bring out the tasty flavor. That means it’s near-instant without losing quality.
The flavor of Golden Ratio coffees is exceptionally smooth. And, it’s available in delicious flavors like chai spice and vanilla coconut. There’s even a golden milk flavor with turmeric that’s packed with even more healthy antioxidants.
Pros of Golden Ratio low acid gold coffee:
- Is 5 times less acidic than regular black coffee
- No bitter coffee taste like some regular coffee
- Doesn’t stain your teeth like regular black coffee
- Golden Ratio has a very mellow, almost tea-like flavor
- Comes in individual pouches, which keeps the coffee fresher for longer
- Low FODMAP certified for people with gut dysbiosis
- Made from high-quality, sustainably grown and harvested single-origin coffee beans from Ethiopia, Brazil, or Nicaragua
Cons of Golden Ratio low acid gold coffee:
- Golden Ratio products are not sold in physical stores at this time
- Since Golden Ratio gold coffees contain higher amounts of caffeine, they may not be suitable for those looking to avoid stimulants for health reasons
Kava is one of the best-known low acid instant coffees. It’s been around since 1962 and is widely available in grocery stores. If you’re looking for a low-risk, accessible low acid instant coffee, you can grab a jar of Kava for your quick fix.
Pros of Kava instant coffee:
- Easy to find in most grocery stores
- There is a decaf version of Kava available
- Kava has a pH of 6.8, which is near neutral (pH of 7)
Cons of Kava instant coffee:
- Only available in small 4-ounce jars
- The coffee used to make Kava isn’t naturally low acid. Instead, the manufacturers add extra potassium to neutralize the acid. If you need to watch your potassium intake for health reasons, Kava may not be a good choice for you.
LifeBoost does offer on-the-go coffee bags that you can steep in hot water, unlike some of the other low acid coffee brands. However, their coffee bags are relatively expensive, which can price them out of some people’s budgets.
Pros of LifeBoost coffee:
- Available in several different roasts and flavors
- Offers some of the only low-acid espressos on the market
- K-cups and steeping bags are available
Cons of LifeBoost coffee:
- No light roast on-the-go coffee bag options
- Coffee bags (“go bags”) are costly — $35 for 10 bags. If you drink several cups of coffee a day, that adds up fast.
4. Java Planet
Java Planet is a popular coffee made with low-acid Colombian Arabica coffee beans. Their organic coffee is grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, so it’s better for the environment.
Pros of Java Planet low acid coffee:
- Available on Amazon and some grocery stores
- Some varieties are fair-trade certified, certified bird-friendly, or Rainforest Alliance-certified
- Several different low-acid roast varieties are available, including medium and medium-dark roast
- Offer a low-acid decaf coffee made with coffee beans from Peru
Cons of Java Planet instant coffee:
- This is not an instant coffee
- Some purchasers have said it doesn’t have that delicious signature coffee smell, with almost no aroma to speak of
Puroast coffee blends all have low acid content. The makers use a special roasting process to create a low acid coffee that’s stomach-friendly. It also is packed with antioxidants.
Pros of Puroast coffee blends:
- Available in Keurig K-Cups
- Puroast offers low acid half-caff and decaf coffees, as well as espresso
- Can buy whole beans or ground coffee
- Available on Amazon
Cons of Puroast coffee blends:
- Not an instant coffee
- Some reviewers have mentioned that it tastes bitter or stale, particularly the decaf variety
6. Tieman’s Fusion
Tieman’s Fusion coffee is unique because, as the name suggests, their coffee is infused with goji berry, matcha green tea, and rooibos red tea. These infusions help lower the acid content of the coffee.
Pros of Tieman’s Fusion:
- Very high in antioxidants
- Available in several roasts, plus a decaf version
- Can purchase on Amazon
Cons of Tieman’s Fusion:
- Not available as an instant coffee
- A combination of coffee and tea may not be the flavor true coffee fans are looking for
HealthWise is a mass-produced low-acid coffee. Their coffee is lower in acid due to their unique roasting process, which also leaves more vitamins and minerals in their coffee than traditional roasting processes.
Pros of HealthWise low acid coffee:
- Available to purchase Keurig K-Cups or ground coffee
- Their low acid decaf coffee is one of their most popular offerings
- Offer several different flavors, like chocolate coconut and French vanilla
Cons of HealthWise low acid coffee:
- Not an instant coffee
- Pricing can fluctuate, leaving you with an unexpectedly expensive cup
8. Lucy Jo’s
Lucy Jo’s offers a wide variety of low acid coffees in whole-bean or ground options. They roast their coffee in small batches so they can carefully control the flavor and freshness of their coffees.
Pros of Lucy Jo’s:
- A large variety of low acid coffee varieties and blends
- All Lucy Jo’s coffee is certified organic
- Available in a variety of roasts (medium to dark) and caffeine levels (full-caff, half-caff, and decaf)
Cons of Lucy Jo’s:
- No instant coffees available
- Some reviewers complain that the flavor is too weak
9. Folgers Simply Smooth
Folgers Simply Smooth coffee has lower acid than regular Folgers varieties. It’s a mild roast coffee, which fans of light roast coffee will love.
Pros of Folgers Simply Smooth:
- Easy to find — available in most supermarkets
- Regular and decaf versions
Cons of Folgers Simply Smooth:
- Not an instant coffee
- Some reviewers say that it lacks flavor
Does instant coffee have more acid than brewed coffee? Instant coffee usually has less acid than traditionally brewed coffee. Cold brew coffee made from ground coffee also has low acidity. Low acid coffees like Golden Ratio are also available for those avoiding acidity.
Does instant coffee cause heartburn? Instant coffee can cause heartburn if it’s not specifically low in acid. Drinking specially-formulated low acid instant coffees reduces your risk of developing heartburn after drinking coffee.
How To Neutralize Acid In Coffee
In addition to making low acid coffee, there are other ways to reduce or neutralize the acid in your coffee. You can reduce your coffee’s acidity by:
- Cold brewing: Cold brew coffee has lower acidity than hot brewed coffee, so cold-brewing your coffee can help neutralize some of the acid.
- Adding baking soda:Baking soda is a base, so adding it to coffee will neutralize some of the acid. Add a tiny amount — just a tiny pinch in a single cup of coffee — or you might not like the taste of your coffee.
- Turning down the temperature: Hotter water extracts more acids from coffee beans. So, using cooler water to brew your coffee can help make your coffee less acidic, even if you’re not cold brewing.
- Using a coarser grind: Coarse-ground coffee has less surface area than fine-ground coffee, making it harder for acids in the coffee beans to steep out.
- Adding unsweetened almond milk: Almonds are alkaline, and unsweetened almond milk has a pH of around 6.5. Just skip the sweetened almond milk, which can actually make your low acid coffee more acidic.
Low Acid Coffee That’s Bursting With Flavor
Whether you’re serious about the taste of your cup of joe, or you need a low acid cup of coffee that’s very easy on your stomach, Golden Ratio has you covered. Our low acid coffees taste great, and they’re easy to make when you’re on the go!
Our original gold coffee is our classic go-to, and that’s where most first-time Golden Ratio drinkers start. If you want to try more flavors and find a new favorite, grab our variety pack. It’s fun to switch up the flavor of your morning coffee, and it’s easy to do with the variety pack!
- The Effect of Time, Roasting Temperature, and Grind Size on Caffeine and Chlorogenic Acid Concentrations in Cold Brew Coffee.
- Measurement of the Intracellular pH in Human Stomach Cells: A Novel Approach To Evaluate the Gastric Acid Secretory Potential of Coffee Beverages.
- Effect of decaffeination of coffee or tea on gastro-oesophageal reflux.
- Association of Coffee and Caffeine Intake With Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults.
- Analysis of the Cariogenic Potential of Various Almond Milk Beverages using a Streptococcus mutans Biofilm Model in vitro.