Low Acid Coffee: 5 Options That Are Bold In Flavor And Easy On The Stomach
The acids in coffee are what give it the bright, tart flavours that many find so appealing. But for those with sensitivities, they can also lead to heartburn, acid reflux or tooth decay.
To ensure that no one be deprived of a delicious morning brew, a niche market of purveyors offering low acid coffees has emerged.
Read through this round-up to learn all about acidity in coffee, why you might need to avoid it, and five of the best offerings to soothe your stomach without compromising on taste.
TOP PICK: Low Acid Coffee Blend (Volcanica)
Low acid coffees are sometimes criticised for lacking flavour, but not this blend by Volcanica.
They have hand picked beans from Low altitudes (Brazil, Sumatara + more) and created a blend that is easy on the stomach with huge flavour.
NEWS FLASH: Coffee Is NATURALLY Acidic
Coffee is inherently acidic, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. The acids in coffee are what give it the tart, bright flavour that is prized by many.
There are around 30 different acids in your standard brew including the same ones found in oranges, apples and vinegar.
Acidity is measured by a scale called the pH scale which ranges from 0 (extremely acidic) to 14 (extremely basic) with pure water falling square in the middle at 7.
For reference, most coffees typically come in around 5 on the scale which is actually less acidic than juices like orange (3 - 4) or cranberry (2 - 3).
But Not ALL Acids are your friends...
Unfortunately, not everyone experiences the acids in coffee the same way.
Many people feel negative effects in the form of stomach discomfort, heartburn and acid reflux. Others have thin or damaged tooth enamel that renders them vulnerable to acid-caused tooth decay.
Those who are sensitive to coffee’s acids tend to avoid the drink altogether.
This means they are missing out on both the proven health benefits and the delicious experience of the beverage.
Fortunately, there are many types of low acid coffees that are increasingly being produced and marketed towards those susceptible to acid reflux and similar ailments.
Some coffee drinkers simply find the acidic flavours too unpleasant. Indeed, by minimizing acid content, coffee’s other flavours are more readily detected.
Those undertones of chocolate, fruit, and nuts jump to the forefront.
different Types of low acid coffee
There are two main directions to look when seeking out a low acid brew: treated and inadvertent.
Treated refers to specialty brands using proprietary processing techniques to yield low acid results. For example, very slow or interrupted roasting has been shown to reduce both acidity and aromatics.
Steaming the green beans before roasting to remove the waxy outer layer also yields a similar effect.
These producers also typically source low acid beans from regions like Brazil which are known for the trait.
It is also possible to seek out more “naturally” or inadvertently low acid brews. The aforementioned Brazilian beans tend to be low in acid as do Sumatrans and Hawaiian beans, but country of origin is never a guarantee of acid content.
In general, beans grown at lower elevations have lower acidity.
A third option is to buy ground beans that have been premixed with an alkalizing or stomach soothing substance. This option interferes with the flavor of the beans, but also introduces the option of additional health benefits.
5 Simple Tips For Acidic-sensitive coffee lovers
Here are some simple tips to finding low-acid coffee if you are sensitive to acidity. Because its acidity is not often stated.
Opt for dark roasts
Not just the speed, but the color of a roast has also been shown to affect acidity.
Darker roasts are much less acidic than lighter ones.
Certain fruit removal methods also play a role and it has been shown that drying in the whole fruit or drying in the fruit pulp are the most effective.
Here are our recommended beans for dark roasts:
The type of beans are also an important consideration with Arabica beans being considerably lower in acid than their Robusta counterparts.
You already know that Arabica beans yield the finest coffees, and here is one more reason to steer clear of the low cost tins in your local grocery store.
Go for cold brew if you can
The correct brewing method and temperature can also go a long way towards decreasing the acidic nature of the resultant cup.
The absolute best for reducing acidity is slow-steeped cold brew.
Cold brew has been shown to be approximately 70% less acidic than a hot cup made from the same beans. But, this is not always a practical solution for a quick cup or in the dead of winter.
If you need a warm cup of joe to start off your day, opt for methods that do not require a fine grind, as coarsely ground beans secrete less acid into the water.
Avoid Certain Coffees
No matter how you might brew or roast them, it will always be better to avoid some coffees. Make sure to take into consideration factors like the origin, variety, processing method, climate and elevation.
For example, coffee beans grown at higher elevations and cooler temperatures tend to ripen slower, allowing the development of more complex flavors. When brewed, it will be more acidic and aromatic.
Use science to your advantage
Calcium works to offset acidity - you already know this because calcium is a major component of antacids.
Lowering the acidity of your favorite brew can be as easy as adding a dash of milk or cream.
Into black coffee only? There are flavourless calcium powders designed to be stirred into coffee for acid neutralization.
5 of the best low acid coffee options in 2018
If all of the above sounds like a lot to think about as you stand in the coffee aisle of the grocery store, just let the experts do the work for you.
A growing niche market of low acid coffee purveyors has emerged.
They’re offering coffees that save your stomach without sacrificing the bold flavours you know and love. (And you won’t be forced to track down any calcium powders).
Here are five of the best.
|Puroast Organic House Blend||
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|Java Planet Organic Medium Dark Roast||
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|Mommee Coffee Half Caff Coffee||
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|Flax Coffee Coffee and Flaxseed Blend||
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|Tieman’s Fusion Coffee||
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|Low Acid Coffee Blend (Volcanica)||
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|Komodo Dragon Coffee (Volcanica)||
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|Hawaiian Kona (Volcanica)||
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#1 - The Puroast Organic House Blend
Puroast’s founders set out to create a brew that met certain desirable taste qualities -- savory, rich and smooth -- and stumbled upon the remarkably low acidity of the resultant brew as a side benefit.
They source their beans from Venezuala and favour a dark French Roast*.
(*wondering what French Roast means? We got the answer here)
Puroast uses a wood-fired roasting strategy that strives to imitate the way coffee growers themselves enjoy the fruits of their labour.
The result is a coffee that claims to deliver dark, bold flavours while being 70% lower in acid than competitors, as well as 5 times higher in antioxidants.
In a unique and highly-regarded move, they even recruited a research scientist to lend credence to their claims.
If you suffer from ulcers, heartburn or acid reflux, this is a product you can trust.
#2 - The Java Planet Organic Medium Dark Roast
Java Planet organic coffee is a great option for those looking for a low acid product with a lighter roast.
While most low acid offerings favour a dark roast to further remove tartness, many consumers find dark roasts too bitter.
Java Planet offers a medium (along with dark, French, and espresso) roast in order to appeal to all palates.
The other major selling point of Java planet beans is their commitment to including the date of roasting on every bag of beans.
This ensures that you know precisely how fresh the product is.
They source their exclusively Arabica beans from Guatemala where they are shade grown without the use of pesticides.
The flavours of the medium roast coffee are described as floral and chocolate, with notes of caramel and allspice wrapped up by a dark chocolate and pecan finish.
#3 - The Mommee Coffee Half Caff Organic Coffee
Mommee Coffee is marketed towards women in all stages of child-bearing. From trying to conceive through pregnancy and breastfeeding, women are often advised to limit caffeine and take dietary precautions as stomachs can be more sensitive.
It was devised by a pregnant woman to fill a void she found in the coffee market. Which is not to say that men and women in any life-phase can’t enjoy it!
Mommee Coffee is processed using a water method which promises to avoid the use of harsh chemicals during decaffeination.
Additionally, it is organic, fair trade and low in acid making it an ideal guilt-free choice.
The company offers a range of caffeine choices -- decaf, quarter caff, half caff and full caff -- but the half caff is popular for striking the right balance between energy and sensitivity.
The beans have been tested and and found to be five times lower in acid and particularly low in chlorogenic acid which is considered the major contributor to acid reflux.
#4 - The Flax Coffee Coffee & Flaxseed Blend
This unusual offering combines roasted flaxseeds with roasted Arabica coffee beans to yield a uniquely flavourful low acid blend.
Due to their natural alkalinity, flax seeds are an obvious choice for neutralizing coffee’s acids and make it possible to enjoy this blend at a medium roast.
They also provide the added benefits of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Flax Coffee also claims that their product assists in weight loss thanks to the metabolism-boosting effect of omega-3s and the high fiber content of flax seeds themselves.
Other potential benefits of flax include improved brain function and clearer skin, though science has not always backed these.
Flax Coffee uses a slow, low-heat roasting process to highlight the smooth, nutty flavours of this superfood blend. The resultant brew has a well-rounded, buttery mouthfeel with fruity flavours reminiscent of apple cobbler.
#5 - The Tieman’s Fusion Coffee
Tieman’s Fusion Coffee offers another blended option, in this case through the incorporation Matcha Green Tea, Rooibos Red Tea and Goji berry powders.
As a starting point they source 100% Arabica beans from Guatemala, Colombia and Ecuador and optimally blend and roast them for a low acid brew.
The addition of Matcha green tea is said to boost energy for 5 -7 hours, the Rooibos Red Tea settles the stomach and Goji berry powders offer anti-inflammatory benefits.
Tieman’s fusion coffee offers five times the body’s daily requirements for anti-oxidant protection.They pride themselves on still offering a delicious brew that is “coffee first”. This is a drink that was designed with coffee lovers in mind and the additives are there to enhance, rather than mask, the delicious natural coffee flavours.
#6 - The Volcanica Low Acid Coffee Blend (Our Top Pick!)
This delightful Low Acid Coffee Blend comes from Volcanica Coffee – one of the leading online coffee bean companies that supplies some of the finest gourmet coffees on the market.
Volcanica’s large variety of whole bean options are sourced from the best growing regions around the world, and especially those defined by rich, volcanic growing soil – a condition renowned for yielding incredibly high-quality beans.
The blend itself is made from beans that are naturally low in acidity, which brings the added benefit of not needing to be darkly roasted to achieve that low acid label. The beans are sourced from Arabica varietals in lower altitude growing regions like Brazil and Sumatra.
These factors allow this exquisite blend to deliver a unique flavor profile that is both scrumptiously low-key and naturally gentle on your stomach.
Best Suited For: The adventurous coffee drinker who wants a change from strictly single origin bean brewing, but who requires that low acidity, gentle-on-the-stomach experience.
#7 - The Volcanica Komodo Dragon Coffee
Of course, Volcanica coffee doesn’t stop at their Low Acid Coffee Blend. This high-quality company has some other excellent low acid options to choose from.
Case in point: Komodo Dragon Coffee.
Komodo dragons – the largest lizards in the world – live freely on the Indonesian island of Flores. But they aren’t the only amazing thing coming from the island paradise.
Volcanica’s Komodo Dragon coffee beans grow from the abundance of fertile, volcanic soil present there. They are medium roasted, wet-hull processed, and notably lower in acidity – an attribute that is accentuated by the processing method.
The flavor profile includes floral, chocolate, and woody notes, and to top it all off, our friends at Volcanica have managed to keep them available at a very reasonable price.
Best Suited For: Anyone looking for a mellow coffee from an elite coffee-growing region… and who doesn’t want to break the bank in the process.
#8 - The Volcanica Hawaiian Kona
If you’re a fan of supporting a “grown in the U.S.” coffee experience, or if you just want to experience some of the best coffee in the world, another excellent Volcanica option is Hawaiian Kona.
Defying the company’s typical desire for high altitude beans, it falls in line with the volcanic soil part of the deal, as it’s grown in the rich earth of the Hawaiian islands – a region that has become famous for its exceptional coffees grown at low altitudes.
These particular beans are grown on the slopes of Kona, a district on the Big Island of Hawaii. The climate on these slopes is absolutely ideal for coffee plants, with a mild climate year-round and protection from the hot sun – these beans are actually Shade Grown! – ensuring that the coffee trees are in the ultimate environment for growing low acid coffee.
These beans are classified as “Extra Fancy”, which is the highest category out of the 8 different levels of quality for Kona beans. It is also guaranteed to be “pure Hawaiian Kona Coffee,” meaning it hasn’t been “watered down” by other inferior beans in a blend.
The beans are dry-processed and medium roasted, delivering very gentle hints of acidity and silkiness. Flavor notes include floral, fruity, and citrusy elements, along with an undercurrent of caramel and nuts.
Best Suited For: The avid coffee enthusiast looking for low acidity coffee beans grown in one of the most elite regions in the world.
For the best coffee flavour - keep it simple
All of the options reviewed in this article are great for certain subsets of the population. But if you’re looking for an all-around pleaser with low acid and great flavour opt for Volcanica Coffee's Low Acid Blend.
Their ability to offer a variety of roasts shows their faith in the quality and flavour of their beans.
And their commitment to roasting beans only before they are shipped guarantees the freshness of the coffee arriving at your doorstep!
We’d love to hear what you thought of this article in the comments along with your recommendations for the best low acid coffees.
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