Which Roast Of Coffee Is The Least Acidic?

Coffee is an acidic beverage, but different roast levels contain varying amounts of acid. Dark roast coffee is typically the least acidic roast, but opting for Robusta beans over other species could also help you to reduce the amount of acid in your coffee. You can also reduce the amount of acid in your coffee by opting for cold brews, espresso coffees, or using an acid neutralizer.

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Which Roast Of Coffee Is The Least Acidic? - DarkHorseCoffeeCompany

Key Takeaways

  • Dark roast is the least acidic coffee bean roast
  • Light roast is the most acidic coffee bean roast
  • Coffee features two types of acid, organic and chlorogenic
  • Organic acids carry flavors, but chlorogenic acids can create bitterness
  • Low-acid coffee options include cold brew, espresso, and dark roasts
  • Acidic coffees can worsen the symptoms of acid reflux and GERD
  • Caffeine can stimulate the production of stomach acid
  • Dark roast beans contain N-methylpyridinium, a stomach-friendly chemical

Table Of Contents

Which Roast Of Coffee Is The Least Acidic?

Dark roast coffee is the least acidic coffee roast. Dark roasted coffee beans are roasted at a higher heat and for a longer period of time. This extended roasting period helps to break down the natural acids in the coffee.

Comparatively, both medium roast and light roast coffee beans are more acidic than dark roast beans. Light roast beans are typically the most acidic coffee beans, while medium roast beans lie somewhere in the middle.

Getting the acidity levels in coffee beans just right is all about the temperature beans are roasted at and how long they’re roasted for. Roasting beans at a higher temperature will usually reduce acidity, but roasting them for too long could create new acids that make coffee taste bitter.

Dark roast coffee beans with low acidity

Which Coffee Roast Is The Most Acidic?

Light roast coffee is the most acidic roast. Because lighter roast beans aren’t roasted for as long or at very high temperatures, most of the beans’ natural acids are still present. Light roast beans are only roasted until the ‘first crack’, which doesn’t strip away any of the beans’ natural acidity.

These acids increase the pH level of your coffee, but they also carry a lot of the flavors and aromas that lighter roasts are known and loved for. If you try a light roast coffee that you think tastes ‘bright’ or has lots of floral, citrus, or botanical flavors, this indicates higher acidity levels in your coffee.

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What Is Coffee Acidity?

Coffee acidity describes the levels of acid found in a cup of coffee, as well as the flavor of the coffee itself. It’s possible to divide the acids found in coffee into two categories: organic and chlorogenic acids.

Organic acids can contribute fruity or botanical notes to a coffee. Organic acids include:

  • Malic acid, which is found in green apples
  • Citric acid, which is found in citrus fruits
  • Tartaric acid, which is found in grapes and bananas
  • Acetic acid, which is found in vinegar

Chlorogenic acids are broken down during roasting and result in bitter or sour flavors. This means that, usually, darker roasts taste more bitter and lighter roasts taste more acidic. It’s also why you’ll usually taste more individual flavors in lighter roasted coffees than darker ones, because a lot of these flavors are carried in the coffee’s acids.

As well as roast level, many other factors can impact the acidity of a cup of coffee. Naturally processed coffee beans may taste less acidic than washed coffee beans because more of their natural sugars are left intact. Some species of coffee bean, such as Robusta, are also naturally less acidic than other species.

Which Coffee Roast Is Easier On The Stomach

Choosing coffee beans that are lower in acidity is usually better for your stomach. Dark roasted coffee beans may be easier to digest than light roasted beans, particularly if you suffer from acid reflux, GERD, or other digestive issues.

If your morning coffee makes you feel bloated, nauseous, or gassy, you might find it easier to switch to dark roasted beans. Dark roasted beans are not just lower in acidity, but they also contain a stomach-friendly chemical called N-methylpyridinium, which has been found to reduce the production of stomach acid.

Alternatively, low-acid coffee options - like cold brew coffee or low-acid coffee brands - could reduce these symptoms. You can also neutralize some of the acid in your coffee by adding baking soda or a store-bought acid neutralizer.

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Low-Acid Coffee Options

If you want to enjoy a coffee that’s less acidic, low-acid coffee options include cold brews, coffee made with dark roast beans or espresso beans, and branded low-acidity coffees.

Dark Roasts

Dark roast coffees are the most common low-acid coffee option for most people. Darker roasted beans result in a coffee that features the ‘classic’ coffee flavor profile without the acidity and sharpness that lighter roasts have. They are, on average, slightly less acidic than lighter roast coffees and easier on the stomach.

The chemical N-methylpyridinium, which is found in dark roasted beans, may also help to ease the symptoms of acid reflux. N-methylpyridinium may slow down the rate at which your stomach produces acid, resulting in lower stomach acid levels and counteracting any acidity present in the coffee.

which cup of coffee roast is least acidic

Espresso Beans

Espresso beans may also be lower in acidity than other types of beans. Espresso beans are usually dark roasted beans, and the longer roasting time they undergo results in a decrease of natural acidity. The average pH of an espresso is 5.5-6, which is much closer to neutral than that of a typical coffee.

Espresso actually refers to a method of brewing rather than a type of bean. Most beans marked as ‘espresso beans’ are actually just dark roasted beans, which are known for their lower acidity levels and stomach-friendly chemical composition.

Cold Brew

Cold brew is usually lower in acidity than other types of coffee.  Cold brewing is a method of brewing coffee that involves steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in water at room temperature for an extended period of time, usually 12 to 24 hours.

Cold brew’s lower brewing temperature means that different compounds are extracted from the coffee beans you use, so fewer acids are extracted during brewing. Cold brew is usually less acidic and more sweet, and most people recommend making cold brew with dark roast coffee beans anyway.

Low-Acid Coffee Brands

Some coffee brands might advertise themselves as being low in acid. Usually, these brands will feature beans chosen for their naturally low acidity levels and roasted at higher temperatures to deliberately minimize acidity.

Low-acid coffee beans may also be treated in specific ways to reduce acidity. For example, they may be roasted very slowly or interrupted at certain stages of the roasting process to minimize the extraction of acids.

Low-Acid Bean Varieties

Some beans are just naturally lower in acids than other beans. Robusta beans are usually considered to be lower in acid than Arabica beans. This is because Robusta beans do not contain any citric or phosphoric acid.

Coffee plants grown at low altitudes - where it’s cooler - may also have lower acidity levels. Beans that originate from Mexico, Sumatra, Guatemala, Peru, and Brazil are more likely to be lower in acid due to the altitudes they’re grown at.

How Does Caffeine Content Affect Acidity?

Caffeine is part of the reason why coffee tastes acidic. Caffeine is naturally present in coffee beans, and caffeine gives coffee some of its acidic and bitter flavors. However, coffee is acidic regardless of caffeine content. Decaffeinated coffee isn’t significantly less acidic than regular coffee.

One reason why people with digestive issues like acid reflux and GERD should avoid caffeine is not that caffeine increases acidity levels in coffee but that caffeine can stimulate your body to produce more natural stomach acids. These stomach acids contribute to the uncomfortable symptoms of acid reflux. Decaf coffee might be easier to digest even if it’s not any less acidic.

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What Is The Ph Level Of Coffee?

Most coffee varieties are acidic, with a pH level of between 4.85 and 5.10. On a pH scale, anything between 0 and 7 is acidic, while anything between 7 and 14 is alkaline. Water is exactly 7, which makes it basic (neither acidic nor alkaline).

With a pH of around 5, coffee is acidic, but it’s less acidic than many fruit juices like orange juice and cranberry juice as well as sodas like Coke and Sprite. Darker roast coffees will usually have a slightly higher pH level, while lighter roast coffees have a slightly lower pH level.

Tips To Reduce Coffee Acidity

If you want to reduce the amount of acid you’re drinking without cutting out coffee, you can reduce the acidity levels in your coffee by choosing low-acid coffees and adapting your method of preparation to neutralize acids.

Opt For The Low-Acid Coffee

Choose a low-acid brand of coffee to reduce the amount of acidity in your drink. Low-acid coffee beans will usually be roasted slowly to a dark roast level, and the roaster may even select beans that are naturally low in acids or use specialist techniques to minimize acidity.

Use Acid Reducers To Neutralize Your Coffee

Acid reducers can successfully neutralize some of the acids in your coffee. Acid reducers are flavorless, alkaline bases that will help to center the pH level of your coffee.

You can buy acid-reducers in most stores, or you could use an at-home remedy like baking soda. Add a small pinch of baking soda to your coffee in the morning to bring its pH level up. Baking soda has a pH level of about 8.5, so it can neutralize some of the acidity in your coffee.

Try A Cold Brew Instead

Cold brew coffee is naturally lower in acidity than hot brewed coffees. Cold brews steep for an extended period of time at room temperature or below. These conditions mean that fewer acids are extracted from the coffee beans, resulting in a coffee with a less acidic pH level.

Many people enjoy cold brew coffee made with darker roast beans, which will also be naturally lower in acid. You could even combine the cold brew method with low-acid beans and acid neutralizers to really minimize the acid in your coffee.

Add A Pinch Of Salt To Your Coffee

Adding a pinch of salt to your coffee can cut out some of the acidity in your drink as well as its bitter taste. Salt has a pH of 7, so it doesn’t neutralize the acid in your coffee in the same way that alkaline neutralizers do.

Instead, adding a very small amount of salt may enhance the natural sweetness in your coffee and reduce how noticeable acidic or bitter flavors are. Salt might change the flavor of your coffee but it won’t necessarily change its pH, so this tip might not help if you’re trying to ease the symptoms of acid reflux.

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Does Dark Roast Coffee Have Less Acid Than Other Types?

Dark roasted coffee beans usually have pH levels closer to neutral than light and medium roasted coffee beans. The process of dark roasting - when coffee beans are roasted at higher temperatures for longer - can burn off some of the acids in coffee beans that make coffee taste more acidic and wreak havoc on some digestive systems.

Dark roast coffee beans may also be higher in a chemical called N-methylpyridinium. This is known as a ‘stomach-friendly’ chemical because it can slow down the rate at which cells in your stomach release acid. If you suffer from acid reflux or other digestive issues, drinking dark roast coffee may ease your symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions About Which Roast Of Coffee Is The Least Acidic?

Dark roast coffee beans are typically less acidic than light roast and medium roast beans. The extended roasting period and high temperatures that dark roast beans endure will remove some of the acids present, although these processes can also create new chlorogenic acids as well.

Light roast coffee beans are the most acidic beans. Lighter roasted beans aren’t roasted for long enough to draw out the natural acids in the bean, which is why lighter roasts usually retain more of the bean’s unique flavors. This means light roasts may be harder on the stomach of people who suffer from digestive issues or acid reflux.

Low-acid coffee options include dark roast coffees, cold brew, espresso coffees, and coffees brewed from specifically low-acidity beans. If you want to reduce the acidity in your coffee further, you can try using acid reducers - or even baking soda - to neutralize the acid in your coffee.

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