Coffee contains over 800 compounds that all contribute to that trademark taste and smell.
Acidic coffee doesn’t necessarily taste sour or foul, and not all acids are bad in coffee. Malic acid and phosphoric acid, for instance, make your coffee taste sweeter. Acetic acid and citric acid, on the other hand, are fine in small quantities but too much of these acids renders coffee stale.
How about bad acids, then?
Well, quinic acid is produces as coffee starts to spoil. If you have an office coffee machine and you think of that scorched and bitter taste you get when the jug has been warming too long, that’s quinic acid.
Luckily, you can avoid or reduce too much acidity in coffee using a number of simple hacks. Whether you suffer from acid reflux or you just dislike bitter beverages, we’ll show you how to tamp down the bitterness in coffee the easy way.
10 Ways to Reduce Acidic Coffee
- Use Arabica Not Robusta Beans
- Darker Roasts are Less Acidic
- Try Cold Brewing Your Coffee
- Add a Pinch of Salt to Your Coffee
- Opt For Beans Grown at Low Elevations
- A Splash of Milk Helps
- Break Out The Eggshells!
- Be Careful About The Extraction
- Avoid Leaving Coffee Warming for Too Long
- Use an Acid Reducer
1) Use Arabica Not Robusta Beans
Are you unsure about the difference between arabica and Robusta coffee beans?
Well, this difference counts if you want less acidic coffee. You should choose Arabica beans for the least acidic option, although you should be aware that some Arabica beans still contain a reasonable amount of acidity.
That said, switching from the cheaper Robusta beans to the more refined and less acidic Arabica beans is a strong starting point in your fight against bitter coffee. The drawback, for some coffee lovers anyway, is that Arabica beans only contain 1.5% caffeine while Robusta beans pack just under 3% caffeine. Only you know if that tradeoff seems worthwhile.
2) Darker Roasts are Less Acidic
How coffee beans are roasted impacts acidity levels. The process of roasting beans serves to break down some of the acidity. Logically, then, the longer beans are roasted for, the less acidic the coffee will taste. The longer roaster time in tandem with fiercer heats removes compounds from coffee beans including some of the acids present.
Light roasts are commonly called bright roasts since they place a firm emphasis on the acidity. It’s the malic acid in light roasts responsible for that taste of citrus fruit.
With dark roasts, by contrast, the vast bulk of the organic acids are removed.
How about if you fancy a different approach and tweaking the beans and roast still haven’t produced the desire effect?
3) Try Cold Brewing Your Coffee
Cold brew coffee makers are increasingly popular, and one of the reasons for this is the way they deliver balanced coffee with no bitterness tainting it.
So, if you have digestive problems or acid reflux, we’d strongly recommend trying this brewing method. The acidity is neutralized because the water used for extraction is cold. You’ll be immersing your beans fully in this cold water for 24 hours.
The result? Coffee with up to 70% less acid than coffee made with hot water.
Not sure how to get started?
Discover how to brew cold brew coffee at home.
4) Add a Pinch of Salt to Your Coffee
Have you heard about putting salt in your coffee?
This might seem like an absurd suggestion, but try adding a pinch of salt to your coffee grounds before brewing. This hack works whatever brewing method you’re using. All that counts is using a light touch. Use too much salt and you’ll regret it! Get it right and you’ll find your coffee tastes less acidic. As with so many aspects of making the perfect golden cup of coffee, it’s a delicate balance you need to strike.
The good news?
Practice makes perfect so pop the kettle on and break out the table salt!
5) Opt For Beans Grown at Low Elevations
Coffee grown at low elevations is less acidic than coffee grown on high. Coffee grown in mountainous regions is typically packed with more flavor and aroma, but the drawback is heightened levels of acidity.
Arabica beans are mainly grown at elevations of 6000 to 7000 feet above sea level. Robusta beans fare well at lower elevations of 3000 feet or less.
Costa Rican coffee is a fine example of low elevation coffee. Usually grown at around 1300 feet above sea level, you’ll get less acidity than you’ll find in coffee from Kenya or Ethiopia.
6) A Splash of Milk Helps
If you’re looking to balance the pH level of your coffee to slash that bitterness away, using a splash of milk or cream is one of the quickest routes to achieving that.
Light roasts don’t respond to milk as well due to the acidity. Soy milk will curdle if you try putting it in acidic coffee, for example.
Anyone looking for less acidic coffee should opt for the dark roast we mentioned earlier, further diluted with a dash of milk or creamer.
7) Break Out The Eggshells!
Just like out tip about using salt, we fully understand if you are resistant to the idea that egg shells could make your coffee less acidic. They can, though!
Eggshells are packed with calcium which is an alkaline. Using eggshells when you’re brewing up your morning cup of java can help to neutralize the acids present in the beans.
Break a couple of eggs and wash the shells so no egg remains smeared on the pieces. Any trace of egg will spoil the taste of your coffee.
Pop the cleaned and crushed eggshells in with your coffee grounds. Brew your java just as you normally would and you might be surprised at the reduction in acid and the smooth taste you’d never imagine could be imparted by broken eggshells.
8) Be Careful About The Extraction
Have you found the perfect beans?
If so, don’t overlook the extraction process.
Acidic coffee is a common by-product of under-extraction. This occurs if your brewing time is too short or your grind size is a little too coarse.
Now, the grind size will depend on the brewing method. If you’re making espresso, you’ll need a fine grind just slightly coarser than you’d use for Turkish coffee. When you’re making French press coffee, though, you need a coarse grind.
Dial in the extraction accordingly if you feel your coffee is too bitter.
9) Avoid Leaving Coffee Warming for Too Long
You might like the idea of brewing a larger batch of coffee and then leaving it to stay warm in a thermos so you can sup on demand without brewing another batch.
This is undeniably convenient, but it comes at a price. The oils will continue discharging acids while your coffee is warming. This makes it more acidic the longer you leave it warming. This explains why you get a foul and bitter taste when you drink coffee that’s been left standing on a warming plate too long.
To counter this, cool your coffee down before storing it. You can then warm it up while avoiding the continuous release of acids into your drink.
10) Use an Acid Reducer
If you’ve worked your way through these tips with no success, you could resort to an acid reducer.
These agents trigger a chemical reaction so some of the acids in the beans are neutralized. Indeed, the best acid reducer can reduce acidity by a staggering 90%. Not only this, but the reduction in acidity is achieved without impairing the flavor or aroma.
There are many reasons for wanting to avoid or reduce acidic coffee.
Anyone with digestive problems or acid reflux should avoid acids as much as possible. Following the tips we outline today means you can still enjoy your favorite cup of joe without aggravating your stomach.
For other coffee lovers, it’s a simple taste preference with smoother coffee lower in acidity a much easier beverage to sip.
Whatever your reasons for wanting a coffee lower in acidity, today’s tips will help you achieve it.
Now, before you head off today, bookmark LaMano as your go-to resource and pop back any time you want the lowdown on all the best coffee gear along with a treasure trove of tips to help you become a barista without leaving home. We have a busy content calendar for the holiday season so we’ll see you soon!