Coffee has lots of health benefits. It improves blood flow and increases the functionality of the brain. But like most foods, coffee may also contain substances that affect the body negatively.
One such substance is the acid content in coffee.
When coffee contains too much acid, it causes heartburn and other unpleasant effects. You’ve probably noticed that lighter roasts are more likely to cause heartburn.
So, darker roasts are less acidic—but is it that simple?
The longer you roast coffee beans, the higher the levels of chemicals that are known to reduce the production rate of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach.
The excessive secretion of this acid is responsible for unpleasant feelings in the stomach.
Lighter roasts do not have enough N-methyl pyridinium, the chemical that inhibits the production of HCl in the stomach. So, drinking darker roasts will have a milder effect on the stomach than light roasts.
Do Dark Roasts Have Different pHs?
The answer is no. Dark roasts have the same pH level as most other types of roasts. This means that the actual acid content is the same, regardless of the roast.
But the only reason darker roasts are friendly for the tummy is that they do not encourage acid production in the stomach.
This way, the acid content of the coffee does only minor damage to the body. If you are a coffee lover who has started reacting to its acid content, by consuming more darker roasts, you will experience less irritation.
So, let’s look at how pH works. pH is a scale that measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance and runs from 0 to 14. 7 is the neutral number that represents neither acid nor alkali.
Substances with a high acid content run from 0–6, while substances with low acidity run from 8–14. Therefore, a compound with a pH value of 3 is more acidic than that with a pH of 6.
Coffee has different acids that are responsible for its aroma and flavor. Coffee has a pH of about 5, which is relatively mild but still strong enough to cause stomach discomfort for many folks.
People have different tolerance levels for acids, so many find this pH too acidic for comfort. Darker roasts do not cause as much discomfort, but this doesn’t mean that they have a higher pH and that they are less acidic.
Why Do Dark Roasts Taste Different?
As you already know, darker roasts are less “acidic” than lighter roasts. This is because the lighter the roast, the more acid that is retained in the coffee.
All coffee contains several acids and has a pH of about 5. When you roast your coffee beans at a higher temperature and for longer, it lets off most of the acid content. The longer the roast, the darker the coffee, which means more flavors.
Dark roasts contain dark chocolate tastes and reminders of wood and burnt caramel. This taste is due to the long process of heating. It is this long process that also reduces the acidity of the coffee.
Under more prolonged heat, more of the oils and flavors in the beans are released, producing more excellent flavors and deeper notes.
Can I Reduce Coffee Acidity?
Although the acidity in coffee can’t be reduced, you can reduce the effect of the acidity in coffee.
Consuming acidic drinks can be very troubling for many people, especially those with a history of ulcers.
Acid reflux and IBS are conditions that can also be aggravated by consuming acidic drinks. The acid content of coffee may be too intense for such people.
However, if you want to enjoy your delicious coffee without the full acidic complement, you can still do so by following these steps:
Go For Darker Roasts
If you’ve been having problems with the acid content of your coffee, you should try to go for darker roasts. Dark roasts contain less acid and are milder on the stomach. You can use an air fryer to roast your coffee to the desired darkness.
Go for a Coarse Grind
Although different brews are ideal for different grinds, you should increase the grind size of your coffee beans if you want to reduce the acid content.
This makes practical sense as the finer grounds have a higher surface area and can extract more acid.
Consider Decaffeinated Options
If you’re not very keen on caffeine, you can enjoy your coffee by choosing decaffeinated options. Sometimes, the caffeine content can trigger the unpleasant effects of acidity.
Go for Cold Brew
If you’re not used to cold brews, you should try changing your taste. Cold brew is lower in acid content than machine-brewed coffee.
Espresso, for example, contains a much higher acid content. Many people only use cold brew with ice, but you can heat up your cold brew coffee if you wish to enjoy a warm cup.
If you’re a lover of black coffee, especially if you love to drink it first thing in the morning, you may be causing more harm than good.
The acid content of coffee may trigger sensitivity in your stomach. To reduce this effect, you should add milk to your coffee. Milk creates a milder effect and neutralizes acidity.
Use Baking Soda
Baking soda can reduce the acidity of coffee. But this method should be sparingly used and is only recommended for those that have ulcers.
Dark roasts are known to have a milder effect on the stomach than light roasts because they contain properties that help the stomach maintain low acidity.
Although they have the same pH levels as lighter roasts, consuming more dark roast coffee can reduce the acid content in your brew.
If you have problems with the acid content of your coffee, take some of the steps highlighted above for a positive result.
Last Updated on October 5, 2022 by Ashok Parmar