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Do the 6 Types of Acid in Coffee Cause Acid Reflux

Coffee Acidity

Table of Contents

Have you ever wondered what causes your coffee acidity on a Monday morning? If you associate Mondays with acidity, you’re not alone and we are here to uncover the causes of that unsettling sensation. The results are shocking but avoidable, and you might change a thing or two about your coffee routines after reading this article. 

Dive deep into your coffee research or become an actual coffee expert by doing a Professional Barista Coffee Course In Australia.


Is Coffee Acidic or Alkaline?

Coffee Acidity

The average pH range for fresh coffee varieties is 4.85 to 5.10. They are comparatively acidic. However, the beans’ acidity might be influenced by other aspects of the coffee-making process. Hybrid coffee varieties are on the rise to combat acidity and that could change the way we consume coffee on the whole. 

The term ‘acidity’ can be ambiguous, but is coffee acidic in terms of the drink itself? When you hear the word “acid,” you almost immediately picture a dish or beverage that will burn your mouth and upset your stomach.


Acid Concerning Coffee 

Coffee has a colossal number of naturally occurring acids. But from the fruit to the processed seed, to the roasting and on to the brewing process, the acidity character of a cup is established and formed along the entire production chain. 

Each of the following elements impacts the type and level of acidity in the final brew:

  • The coffee plant growth and location

  • Processing Techniques

  • Roasting Techniques

  • Brewing Method 


What Types Of Acid Can You Find While Tasting Coffee?

Coffee is acidic, but not the kind that would make you squirm. This acidity makes coffee unique in its taste and determines the flavour and taste of your coffee. 


6 Types of Acids Are Found In Coffee:

  • Quinic Acid: Quinic Acid is primarily found in coffee that has been let out for a certain timeframe and in deeper roasts. Quinic Acid, which is frequently present in darker roasts and coffee that has been left out too long, contributes to the rich, black flavour that so many fans of dark roast coffee have grown to appreciate. Nevertheless, it’s also one of the key reasons why drinking coffee might lead to stomach problems.

  • Chlorogenic Acid: Chlorogenic Acid, which frequently accounts for some of those fruitier and sweeter flavours with lighter roasts, is the principal cause of coffee’s acidity. Because of this acid’s loss during roasting, many darker roasts are richer in taste.

  • Malic Acid: Malic Acid is frequently connected to pitted fruit like plums and peaches, but it can also be found in different kinds of coffees. But, when it comes to coffee, it has an apple and pear-like flavour.

  • Citric Acid: This is one of the most common acids that is frequently seen in coffee. Citric Acid, as its name implies, creates the light, fruity flavours seen in many of today’s top single-origin blends and roasted beans. Arabica beans or beans cultivated at higher altitudes frequently contain citric acid. This is the superhero ingredient that makes coffee acidic.

  • Acetic Acid: Acetic Acid, which is most frequently found in vinegar, can produce a pleasant and spicy flavour in small doses but can be fairly sharp and unpleasant in larger doses. Coffees with an odd, vinegar-like flavour should be avoided because they have not been processed correctly.

  • Phosphoric Acid: Phosphoric Acid has a sweeter flavour than other acids, which tend to be bitter. Your morning coffee probably contains some phosphoric acid if it has undertones of mango or grapefruit (Yeager et al.).



What Causes Coffee to be Acidic?

Coffee Plant

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux

After drinking coffee, heartburn is the most frequently reported symptom. Acidic coffee has been shown to encourage gastro-oesophageal reflux. Coffee increases the production of gastrin and the secretion of stomach acid, although investigations on how it affects the lower oesophageal sphincter pressure have produced inconsistent results.


Adaptive Relaxation

Moreover, coffee delays the proximal stomach’s adaptive relaxation, which raises the possibility that it might delay gastric emptying. Yet, according to other studies, coffee has no impact on small bowel transit or gastric emptying.


Release of Cholecystokinin

Acidic Coffee causes the release of cholecystokinin and contraction of the gallbladder, which may help to explain why symptomatic gallstone sufferers frequently avoid drinking coffee. Some people experience increased rectosigmoid motor activity 4 minutes after consuming coffee.


Pharmacological Effects

Coffee must have pharmacological effects because it has no calories, and its effects on the digestive system cannot be attributed to its volume load, acidity, or osmolality. However, these effects on the digestive system cannot be attributed simply to caffeine (Boekema PJ; Samsom M; van Berge Henegouwen GP; Smout AJ; et al.). 


5 Ways To Make My Coffee Less Acidic

  • Choose A Dark Roast
    • You can get your dose of low-acid coffee by experimenting with dark roasts. A dark roast coffee blend will inherently contain less acid if you object to coffee beans that have been processed specially to remove organic acids. The acidity level decreases with roasting intensity. But for coffee consumers who favour a light or medium roast beverage, that might present a conundrum.
  •  Use Coffee Tamers  
    • Coffee tamer is a formula of acid-reducing granules that effectively balances coffee’s pH levels without changing the taste of the naturally acidic coffee. And unlike antacids, it changes these levels even before your body has to cope with them.
  • Low Elevation Growth
    • Low-elevation coffee beans are less acidic than those cultivated higher in mountainous areas.
    • Knowing where the coffee bean was produced can help you find a naturally low-acid coffee that won’t cause you to experience sleep-robbing heartburn at night.
  • Brew It Cold 
    • Cold brewing produces coffee with a more rounded flavour and bitter taste, and it is preferred by people who suffer from acid reflux or other digestive issues. Because cool water rather than boiling water is used to extract flavour from coffee beans, cold brewing can successfully neutralise the Acid in coffee. Cold brew coffee has up to 70% less acid than a normal cup of coffee because significantly less acid is drawn into the final brew.
  • Reduce Brewing Time 
    • Increased brewing time makes coffee’s pH rise as it is exposed to heat for a longer period. However, it might taste bitter if the brewing process is rushed. As a result, you must experiment with the cooking time to achieve the desired flavour. In a French press, it is best to soak for three minutes before adding hot water.


How To Taste Coffee Acidity? 

When hot coffee is sipped slowly and allowed to circulate in the mouth, taste buds send sensations to the brain where we may evaluate the flavours’ harmony as well as the right balance of bitter and sweet. For a short period, we experience a freshness on this side of the tongue, indicating the degree of acidity.

Usually, coffee with a lot of Arabica brings out this note. The moment between the first sip and the coffee’s interaction with the oral cavity provides much tactile information. When you take your first sip, pay attention to the balance in flavours that accompany consistency and structure. This determines the coffee’s body. 


Determining Coffee Astringency 

Astringency is one of the most difficult sensations to describe. However, it is easily appreciated when eating an unripe fruit (such as a pear or a persimmon) or drinking a fine red wine that hasn’t yet aged.

It is experienced as a sensation that makes your teeth feel tense in the mouth, especially on the tongue. It’s a sensation of roughness and friction between the tongue and the palate, as well as a perception of wrinkling and dryness on the inside of the cheeks and the gums.

Coffee astringency is one of the flaws in coffee making, and traces of it can be traced back to harvesting coffee beans that are unripe through the stripping technique and are classed as second choice coffee. 


Final Thoughts

Coffee, in general, is an ingredient that goes through a strenuous process but derives its unique flavours from nature, just like fruits grown in different regions. You can’t control the factors that make coffee acidic when you buy it from a coffee shop, but you can control the type of coffee you buy, how you brew it, and the temperature at which you consume it.

If you can’t do without sipping the rich black liquid in the morning, we suggest you do some research on your overall diet and general health to better understand how and why acidity affects you personally. 

 Why not become an actual coffee expert by doing a Professional Barista Coffee Course In Australia?



Traore, Togo M., et al. “WHAT EXPLAINS SPECIALTY COFFEE QUALITY SCORES and PRICES: A CASE STUDY from the CUP of EXCELLENCE PROGRAM.” Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, vol. 50, no. 3, 1 Aug. 2018, pp. 349–368.

Yeager, Sara E., et al. “Acids in Coffee: A Review of Sensory Measurements and Meta-Analysis of Chemical Composition.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 23 Sept. 2021, pp. 1–27.