If you’re a coffee lover with a sensitive stomach, it can feel like your passion is at odds with your biology. The good news is that a bit of understanding of what’s causing your issues can help steer you towards options that satisfy your love of flavor without giving you pain in return. By knowing what it might be in coffee that your body is reacting to, you can explore the world of coffee.
Read on to learn more about why coffee can irritate some stomachs and how to find coffees that will help you avoid a troubled tummy.
Why Coffee Sometimes Causes Upset Stomach
There are a couple of reasons why people with sensitive stomachs might react to coffee, but the two main reasons are the caffeine content and the acidity. Caffeine is a stimulant–that’s part of its charm, after all.
But the same caffeine that gives you a buzz can also stimulate increased activity in your gastrointestinal system, from your stomach downward. Unfortunately, that increased stimulation can lead to cramps and bloating, along with some acid reflux.
The acid in coffee also plays a role in acid indigestion. While your stomach acids are generally much stronger than the acids in foods and beverages, many people with acid reflux or persistent acid indigestion find that acidic foods tend to exacerbate things.
So what to do if you love coffee but want to keep your stomach happy?
Choosing The Best Coffee For Your Stomach
While every stomach is different, there are some traits to seek out when you want coffee that won’t cause tummy troubles. Low-acid coffees are a good option.
These usually fall into the medium and dark roast categories; you’ll also want to avoid coffee regions that tend to have more acidity in the beans, like Latin America. Indonesian coffees and some African blends are lower in acidity, making them solid choices.
If it’s the caffeine that’s causing your upset stomach, you might benefit from blends that are slightly less caffeinated based on the roast and processing. Of course, the best option is likely to be decaf--but if you really want the caffeine, taking a small step down will still help.
My Picks: The Best Coffee For Your Stomach
The best coffee to avoid an upset stomach is likely to be a little lower in acidity than average and one that is potentially a little lower in caffeine. While single-origin coffees can fit the bill, sometimes a blend is a better option. Here are my favorites for coffee that won’t upset your stomach.
Puroast Coffee Low Acid French Roast
The makers of Puroast Coffee have several single-origin and blended coffees that all boast lower acidity, and their French Roast is a particular favorite for a good reason. The company’s roasting process gets the credit for turning out coffee with approximately 70% lower acid than the market competitors.
In addition to the health benefits, the coffee has a bold, rich flavor that avoids the bitterness that some French roasts can have, and the beans are equally good in drip filters, french press, and many other brewing settings.
Volcanica Coffee Low Acid Blend
Sometimes, a blend gives you truly great results, and this coffee by Volcanica proves that. The specialty coffee brand blends beans from several regions that naturally have lower acid content and roasts them to a medium level to make a quality drink with notes of chocolate, nuts, and tangerine. The blend includes Brazilian, Sumatran, and a few other varieties for a balanced, rounded coffee that is easy on the stomach.
Java Planet Sumatra
This dark roast is one of several easy-on-the-stomach options from Java Planet, but it’s one of my favorite ones. While just about all of Java Planet’s offerings are lower in acid due to where they’re grown, the Sumatran coffee pairs that trait with a rich, rounded flavor that combines winey and earthy notes for a satisfying cup. It makes an especially rich and chocolaty cold brew, but it works just as well for hot brewing methods.