Health and dental professionals are constantly warning people about the dangers of drinking or eating things that are high in acidity. Foods and beverages high in acidity can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as acid reflux or heartburn and even cause damage to your teeth.
Unfortunately, coffee is a very acidic beverage, but most people aren’t willing to go without it. Drinking coffee is okay, even with the acidity, in moderation, and it’s better for your teeth if you can drink it with a straw.
But drinking hot coffee with a straw isn’t always possible due to it melting the plastic or metal straws getting too hot. There are some coffees available that are considered to be less acidic, but what are they?
Arabica or Robusta?
If you’re a coffee expert or just fascinated with coffee, you’ll know that even though we have thousands of different coffee recipes and brands, there are only two kinds of coffee beans: arabica or robusta.
Arabica coffee beans are the most common globally and account for about 75% of all the coffee beans on Earth, and Brazil is the biggest producer. Robusta then accounts for about 25%, and the biggest producer is Vietnam.
If you’re looking to purchase coffee beans that have lower acidity, you’ll want to go for robusta coffee beans.
Robusta coffee beans tend to be less acidic than arabica coffee beans, but they have higher caffeine content. So if you’re looking for a less acidic coffee but don’t want more caffeine, you may have to choose between the two.
What Affects Acidity in Coffee?
Naturally, coffee is an acidic beverage. But why is coffee acidic, and what factors play a role in how acidic the coffee turns out?
How to brew your coffee beans will determine how acidic the final product is. One study showed a drastic difference between hot coffee and cold brew in acidity.
When someone used the same coffee beans to brew hot coffee and cold brew, their cold brew coffee became significantly less acidic than the hot coffee from the same beans.
This can possibly be explained by the brew time. Hot coffee takes much less time to brew compared to cold brew. Researchers have found that the longer the brewing process is, the less acidic the coffee will be.
Roasting plays another major role in how acidic your coffee will be. The temperature at which the coffee beans are roasted and for how long will change the acidity levels considerably.
Another study conducted on coffee acidity showed that the longer the coffee beans were roasted and if you roasted them at a very high temperature, the coffee had a lot less acidity compared to roasting them at a lower temperature for a short period of time.
This factor may seem odd, but the size of your coffee grounds affects acidity too. If you’re working with smaller coffee grounds, there’s less surface area that gets exposed to the heat. Smaller grounds lead to more acid that gets extracted during the brewing process.
Therefore, if you’re using a larger coffee grind, you’re going to end up with a cup of coffee that’s less acidic than someone who uses a very fine coffee ground.
Why Too Much Acidity is Bad For You
Just hearing the word “acidity” suggests something isn’t great for you. So many common foods and drinks have an acidic pH that it would probably surprise you.
Eating and drinking things that are overly acidic can be terrible for your overall health, especially if you’re not balancing these out with foods that have an alkaline pH. But what exactly can too much acidity do to your body?
Here are some of the things that can happen to your body if you’re drinking too much acidic coffee or your body’s pH is too acidic:
- Acid reflux
- Autoimmune diseases
- Heart disease
- Tooth decay
Reading these potential side effects of drinking and eating too much acid can seem scary, but you’ll need to consume an abnormal amount of acid for these to happen to you. If you eat a relatively low acid diet, having your coffee shouldn’t cause any of these problems alone.
How to Make Coffee Less Acidic
When you buy coffee from a local coffee shop, you won’t know how acidic the coffee is. If you’re making coffee at home, there are a few ways you can make your coffee less acidic.
Make Cold Brew
If you love coffee in all forms, making cold brews at home is going to reduce the acidity in your morning coffee so much less. If you’re willing to make the switch from hot coffee to cold, this is a great option.
Make Coffee With Low Acid Coffee Beans
As we mentioned earlier, robusta beans tend to have less acid in them than arabica beans. This is a simple switch, but you’ll need to double-check your coffee when buying to make sure it’s robusta beans.
There are also several coffee brands that sell low acid coffee grounds. This is another great option if you don’t want to read the back of every coffee package at the store for robusta coffee beans.
Monitor the Water Temperature of Your Coffee
If making the switch to cold brew coffee from hot coffee doesn’t sound appealing to you, there’s a way you can drink hot coffee without as much acidity. The hotter the water, the more acidic your cup of coffee will be.
If you use hot water but then lower the temperature to something less extreme, you’ll end up with a cup of Joe that’s much less acidic than a cup brewed at an extremely high temperature the entire time.
Use Egg Shells
This sounds weird, but don’t freak out yet. Eggshells are alkaline, so mixing them into your coffee will neutralize the acid and make the coffee easier on your body. Of course, you’ll want to clean the eggshells, so you don’t mix any egg into your coffee.