Today’s coffee market is bigger and more versatile than ever before, and this is a great thing for most coffee drinkers. A side effect of this vast offer is that you cannot just go out and buy coffee, but you have to know which “category” you’re looking for.
In case you haven’t known, not everyone can tolerate all types of beans and some people experience heartburn or stomach aches after taking a few sips of the morning brew.
This article is for them because, in it, I will be reviewing the best low acid coffee beans along with everything you need to know about acidity and this drink.
If you are tired of stomach pains but don’t want to give up coffee, please, read on!
Table Of Contents
- Acid vs. Acidity
- Health Benefits of Low Acid Coffee
- How to Choose Low Acid Coffee Beans
- Decreasing Coffee’s Acidity
- Top 3 Low Acid Coffee Beans Reviews - Our Editors’ Choices for 2018
- My Final Thoughts
Acid vs. Acidity
The terms acid and acidity are often confused to be the same thing. However, they’re not, and in this section, I’ll try to shed some light on the issue.
Coffee naturally contains various acids, and the exact number is somewhere around 30 different types. Its acid content can be determined via the pH scale.
If you haven’t paid attention in chemistry class, the scale goes from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral and everything less than that falls into the acid category.
Keep in mind that a lower number means stronger acid, so a high acid coffee would have a pH of around 4.3 while a low acid variety can go up to 5.8
Most coffees usually rank somewhere around 4-5 on the pH scale, and the term “acid” refers to the levels of acid in the drink.
The word “acidity,” however, is used to describe the flavor of the coffee and NOT its acid content. Confusing, right? To give you an example, beans are grown in high altitudes are often considered acidic due to their bright flavor notes.
Also, dark roasts are usually less acidic regarding taste but, depending on the type of beans, they can actually be high in acid which can cause problems for some drinkers.
The bottom line is that one should not automatically avoid all beans that have the word “acidity” printed on the package. Instead, learn the difference between the high and low acid beans.
Health Benefits of Low Acid Coffee
High acid coffee is harder on the body, regardless of whether you have any pre-existing health problems. In the case of the latter, you should drink low-acid brands exclusively, especially if you’re struggling with stomach related conditions.
Here’s what you should know about the benefits of low acid coffee.
Easier on the Stomach
This fact is crucial for folks suffering from ulcers, GERD, gastritis, and so on. The low acid content will not irritate your bowel nor will it damage the stomach lining. Those prone to heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome will probably not experience any troubles as when drinking higher acid coffee.
Better for the Teeth
You might not have known, but any acid is horrible for your teeth, and coffee acid is no exception. What it does is strip away the protective enamel from the outer layers of the teeth and promotes the formation of cavities over more extended periods of time.
Low acid beans will not solve this problem, but they can mitigate the effects. Still, brushing your teeth after having a cup is the best thing you can do.
Safe for the Gluten/Lactose Intolerant
People who are afflicted with the conditions mentioned above often find their guts inflamed, especially if they do not follow the dietary guidelines for those specific health problems. High acid coffee will only worsen this as it will usually contribute to inflammation even more.
Such people will probably tolerate low acid brands so they will be able to enjoy their favorite morning brew without any aches in spite of their conditions.
How to Choose Low Acid Coffee Beans
There are two kinds of low acid beans: treated and inadvertent.
Treated low acid coffee refers to beans that have been subject to special processes in order to reduce its acid levels. Slow of interrupted roasting will produce this effect, as well as steaming the beans to remove the outer layers before sending them off to a roaster.
Inadvertent coffee is naturally low in acid. This is due to the type of soil, climate, and altitude (low elevation) the beans are grown in. Generally, coffee that comes from Mexico, Sumatra, Guatemala, and Peru falls in this category, so try to find brands of this origin.
Another critical factor is the freshness of the coffee. The longer coffee sits, the higher the acid levels get so you should always aim to drink it as fresh as possible. A good idea would be to buy smaller quantities so that you can consume them in a short time and they won’t get to sit around for too long.
Always go for 100% Arabica! Arabica beans contain much less acid (and more flavor) than the Robusta variety, and the main reason the two are blended together is to increase the caffeine content of the brew. In this case, blends are not what you need, so make sure that you are drinking Arabica only.
Dark roasting is one other way of affecting acid levels in beans. During the roasting process, a compound named N-methylpyridinium is released, and it inhibits acid secretions in the stomach, thus benefiting the drinker.
To sum up, a single origin, Guatemalan, 100% Arabica, dark roasted beans should provide you with a low acid brew.
Decreasing Coffee’s Acidity
Now that you’ve bought the beans, is there anything you can do to decrease their acid levels even further? The answer is yes, and now I’m going to explain what.
Cold brewing is the most effective way of producing a low acid cup of pure coffee. To be precise, some sources claim that a cold brew contains around 70% less acid than a hot brewed cup. If you’ve never prepared coffee by using this method, here’s a neat little guide on how to do it.
Coarsely Ground Beans
Hot coffee lovers can also enjoy their favorite beverage with decreased acid content. Your best bet is the French press method with coarsely ground beans. The reason for the latter is that it will secrete fewer acids into the brew.
Adding milk or cream to your coffee is a great idea too because calcium that’s naturally found in these foods has strong anti-acid properties. If you prefer your coffee black, you can add powdered calcium to the beverage too.
Here is one peculiar method which can help you achieve lower acidity - boiling coffee with eggshells. Regardless of how crazy it sounds, it works, and it is quite simple to do.
Throw in some coffee and clean, crushed eggshells in cold water, bring to a boil, and let it simmer for 5 minutes. After that, strain the mixture and voila!
Forget sugar, if you want low acid coffee, try putting salt in it. No, I’m not joking, as salt can neutralize some of the acids that you want to get rid of.
Here’s how to do it: add about 1/16 or 1/8 of a teaspoon to a brewed cup of coffee or to the grounds before brewing. This should be enough to do the job without making your drink taste salty.
It is said that this method works best with dark roasts.
Top 3 Low Acid Coffee Beans Reviews - Our Editors’ Choices for 2018
Now that we’ve learned what constitutes good low acid coffee let’s take a look at the three most popular brands on the market today.
Puroast Low Acid Organic House Blend
Puroast is one of the most exciting brands I’ve encountered so far. It is an excellent choice for those with a low tolerance for acids, and that’s why it made the list. Let’s break it down a bit.
With the pH level of just 5.8, I would argue that Puroast has about half the acidity than other coffee brands. The company claims that this acid reduction is as much as 70%, which is even better than I initially thought.
How do they do this? The roasters employ a method used by traditional Venezuelan coffee roasters - slow-roasting the beans over a wood fire. In this way, the beans acid and oil levels are greatly reduced, and they get roasted very thoroughly.
However, an undesired side-effect of this process is that the flavor of the beans might turn out bland, bitter, or burnt which is not ideal for many drinkers.
Another upside of Puroast is the large amount of antioxidants it has, around 7 times more than green tea, according to the company. As you probably know, antioxidants have many beneficial effects on the body, so you can feel extra good about drinking this coffee.
Some additional “health” labels of this brand include - organic, kosher, gluten-free and calorie-free. Those who experience acid reflux or heartburn often will undoubtedly want to try this brand.
Java Planet Guatemala Organic Coffee
If you are a fan of lighter roasts but have a preference for low acid beans, look no further than Java Planet.
As I’m sure you know, most low acid options are dark roasts which aren’t ideal for everyone as these beans tend to taste bitter or burnt. This is not the case with Java Planet’s Guatemala beans as they are medium roasted and produce a creamy bodied brew with notes of fruit, chocolate, and caramel.
The potential problem in lighter, low acid roasts is that some of the flavor has to be sacrificed with the acid content reduction.
A great thing that Java Planet does is including the roasting date on the package. Now, their customers can now just how fresh the beans are, which is of great importance as I’ve previously mentioned.
The beans are grown in Guatemala and are 100% Arabica. They are organic which means that no pesticides were involved in the growing process.
The coffee is sold in 1lb and 2lb bags, but you can only buy whole beans. There is no pre-ground available which is very inconvenient for people who do not own a grinder.
All in all, the beans are produced by a family-owned company, are USDA and Fair Trade USA approved, so all you have to worry about is whether they feel good in your stomach.
Cafe Don Pablo Subtle Earth Organic Coffee
Cafe Don Pablo produces some of the best coffee beans in the world many of which happen to have low acid naturally.
All of their beans come from South America and the ones I’m reviewing today are from Honduras. Subtle Earth is a medium-dark roast which has a chocolaty flavor. The beans are grown in the mountains and conditioned by the soil, air, and overall climate.
It is low in acid, so the ordinarily fruity and bright notes expected of a medium roast are toned down to a mild flavor. Some would say that the crispiness of higher acid coffees is replaced with a soft and balanced aroma.
The preferable brewing methods for this brand include traditional drip machine, espresso, French press, and hand drip, so you can pick according to your liking.
Don Pablo uses 100% Arabica, organic, shade grown beans so you can rest assured that the quality is there. Their plants are non-GMO and are certified by the CCOF Trade Association.
The company sells whole beans packed in 2lb bags. They are relatively pricey, but you can get them for a slightly lower price if you buy 2 or 3 packs at once
My Final Thoughts
As we approach the closing chapter of this article, I would like to leave you with a few final words. But first, let’s announce the winner of the roundup.
My personal choice for the best low acid coffee has to be the Java Planet Guatemala Organic Coffee. Yes, it is good, and yes, you should try it, no matter if you react poorly to acid or not!
The reasons why I feel this way about Java Planet’s beans are the following - outstanding flavor for a low acid coffee, fair price, and it is grown in an environmentally friendly manner. What’s not to like?
Oh, one more thing, the company prints the date of roasting on the package so you can be confident that the beans you are buying are fresh
I am more than sure that most coffee enthusiasts will enjoy a cup of this one.
If you agree with me, please let me know in the comments. If not, I would be more than happy to hear your opinion too!