Does Dark Roast Coffee Have Less Acid Than Other Types?

Many coffee drinkers wonder does dark roast coffee have less acid than other blends. Dark roast coffee is usually stomach-friendly. We explain more.

does dark roast coffee have less acid - scattered dark coffee beans on the floor
Others called dark roast coffee as tummy-friendly coffee

When coffee beans are roasted, they release acids that impart rich and savory flavors. The aroma feels so heavenly that it can intoxicate your senses. On the flip side, these acids may lead to heartburn, tooth decay, and acid reflux in people with sensitivities.

Does dark roast coffee have less acid? No, they have the same pH level as any other medium roast coffee.

However, the process of dark roasting stimulates the extraction of a chemical that helps in inhibiting the stomach acid. Hence, dark roasts are often referred to as tummy-friendly coffee.

A study by the American Chemical Society showed that dark roast coffee has higher levels of N-methylpyridium, which is known to be good for the body as it slows down the rate at which stomach cells excrete hydrochloric acid.

What Is The pH Level Of Coffee?

Coffee is an acidic beverage by nature, however, this is not an acid. In fact, the mesmerizing aroma and flavor that you love so much about your morning Joe is due to these acids. Getting into the scientific details, your standard brew has about 30 different types of acids, similar to those found in citrus fruits.

The acidity levels are measured using a scale known as the pH scale and it ranges from 0 (too acidic) to 14 (too basic), with 7 being the neutral point. Several studies have shown that coffees mostly fall in the pH 5 level on the scale, which is less acidic than citrus fruits.

While these acids are responsible for the good flavors and aromas, not everyone reacts in the same way. In some people, these acids may cause heartburn, stomach discomfort, and acid reflux. Others may experience damaged tooth enamel that makes them vulnerable to tooth decay.

If you are sensitive to the acids present in coffee, this does not mean you have to forgo the joy of drinking coffee altogether. You may shift to dark roast coffee that is known to have less acid, hence easy on the tummy. This way you can still enjoy the health benefits of drinking coffee and the experience too!

What Are The Other Effective Ways To Avoid Acid Reflux

As I have already mentioned, dark roast coffee inhibits the production of gastric acids. The darker roast you choose, the lower will be the acid levels.

However, some people may prefer drinking a light or medium brew over a dark roast beverage. If that sounds like you, here are some other ways to avoid acid reflux.

Opt for the low-acid coffee

To combat the acidic levels, a new genre of low-acid coffee has come up. These brands believe in treating the beans in a special way to ensure that they contain less acid yet retain the original flavor of the coffee. The beans are roasted slowly or interrupted in between to tone down the release of acids.

Here are some low-acid coffee brands:

Puroast coffee dark French Roast grind – click to view on Amazon

Puroast Premium French Roast
$27.25 ($0.77 / Ounce)
  • 2.5 Pound Bag
  • Low Acid Coffee
  • Ground
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/06/2024 10:10 pm GMT

Lucy Jo’s Coffee – click to view on Amazon (My Favorite one)

Lucy Jo's Coffee Roastery Organic Mellow Belly Low Acid Blend
$14.79 ($1.34 / Ounce)

Lucy Jo's Coffee Roastery, Organic Mellow Belly Low Acid Blend, Ground, 11 oz (11 OZ)

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/07/2024 04:20 pm GMT

Tieman’s Fusion Coffee – click to view on Amazon (This one is highly recommended)

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/07/2024 01:40 pm GMT

Some brands remove the waxy outer layer of the green coffee beans prior to roasting them to reduce the acidity levels. Although the end result still has a lot of flavors, these treated beans are less likely to cause acid reflux.

The only downside of using treated coffee beans is that you will have to compromise with the aroma. Removing or reducing the organic acids results in diminishing the strong aromas that please the senses. Buy beans grown at lower elevations

Studies show that coffee beans that are grown at lower elevations are naturally less acidic than the ones that grow at higher altitudes, such as the hilly regions. If you know the origin of the coffee beans, you may choose to buy only the ones that grow at lower elevations to save you from heartburn and acid reflux.

Use acid reducers to neutralize your coffee

If you are too allergic to the acidic levels in your coffee, you may choose to neutralize it by forcing a chemical substance known as acid reducers. This is a sweet trick used to reduce the acidic levels without changing the flavor of the coffee.

Products such as Coffee Tamer come in handy to significantly tone down the acids in your beverage up to 90% and this enables people with sensitivities to enjoy coffee without becoming vulnerable to acid refluxes.

Please bear in mind that products such as Coffee Tamer are not antacids that are known to work only after you start feeling heartburn and other symptoms of acidity. It works more like a proactive measure that prevents acid refluxes from flaring up. It holds together the acids present in coffee to prevent them from upsetting your tummy.

Try a cold brew instead

A glass of dark roast coffee sitting on top of a wooden table.
Cold coffee has a more fuller, distinct flavor with less bitterness

Cold coffee has its own special place in the world of beverages and a lot of people prefer them over hot brews. The reasons are obvious – they have a fuller and distinct flavor with less bitterness. It is also highly favored by people who suffer from digestive and acidity issues.

It doesn’t require a super-intelligent person to understand that cold brew uses cold water to extract flavor from beans, hence the acid levels in the beverage are neutralized. The end result has 70% fewer acids than you can find in a regular cup of Java.

Add a pinch of salt to your coffee

Salt is known to be a great neutralizer that helps in smoothening out the flavor and nullifying the acidic levels in a brew. Adding a pinch of salt to the coffee grounds can be a great way to reduce the chances of acid reflux.

This method works great when there’s no other way available. However, make sure you do not overdo it as a small pinch is just enough. To be precise, take 1/16th of a teaspoon and if you are averse to a salty flavor in your coffee, don’t go any higher than 1/8th of a teaspoon

Let the chemistry work its way with eggshells

I know it may seem pretty odd to use eggshells with coffee beans, but trust me this is an awesome trick that works due to chemistry! It’s simple – eggshells are alkaline in nature and they can neutralize any type of acids so using them with your coffee beans helps in neutralizing the acidity levels.

You just need to take one or two well-rinsed eggshells and crush them with your hand. Now put them in the coffee maker along with grounds. If you use a pour-over or drip method, put it inside the filter or basket containing coffee grounds.

Another amazing benefit of using eggshells is that it can reduce the bitterness caused due to the variety of roast or brewing methods used. The resulting brew will not only save you from acid refluxes but also taste less bitter.


4 Tips For Coffee Lovers That Are Sensitive To Acids

If you are prone to acid refluxes but cannot live without your morning Joe, midday Java, and midnight mud, then here are a few tips to keep the acid levels down.

1. Pick the dark roast coffee blend

This is perhaps the most important tip of all! The dark roasts are known to regulate the release of gastric acids in the stomach. Studies show that specific methods of picking beans and drying the beans are also effective in reducing acidity.

Some of the recommended varieties of dark roasts are Brazilian, Colombian, Guatemalan, Costa Rican, Kenyan, and Sumatran.

2. Choose Arabica over Robusta

The quality of beans used also plays an important role in determining the level of acids. For example, Arabica beans are less acidic than Robusta. You probably know that Arabica beans are known for yielding better-tasting brew and now you have one more reason to keep away from low-cost beans.


3. Adjust the water temperature to reduce acids

Lowering the water temperature can help in reducing the acid levels in the resulting cup of Joe. If you want to avoid popping antacids after drinking your java, try to switch to a cold brew instead.

Contrary to a hot brew, a cold beverage doesn’t allow complete extraction of the acids. As a result, cold coffee is 70% less acidic even if you use the same beans. However, drinking a cold brew may not be the ideal thing on a cold winter morning.

If you wish to enjoy a warm cup of Joe without getting any heartburn, opt for the brewing method that uses coarsely ground beans instead of a fine grind. The coarse grounds secret fewer acids, hence the brew is safer for your stomach. A French Press would be a good option.

4. Offset the acidity level with milk or cream

We know calcium can neutralize acids so you may add a little milk or cream to your brew. This will not only enhance the taste but also make your coffee less acidic.

adding milk to a cup of coffee
Adding milk will lessen the acidity of your coffee

Does Dark Roast Coffee Have Less Acid: The Final Words

If you are a coffee fanatic like me, then living without coffee is as good as being dead! Thankfully, there are ways to combat the acid levels in your brew and the best option is using dark roast coffee. They are not only stomach-friendly but also deliver a much aromatic and flavor-rich brew!

A little care and some adjustments can go a long way in keeping acid reflux out of way! So, go ahead grab a bag of dark roast coffee and give in to the joy!

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  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.