Your guide to Low Acidity Coffee
There are many variations when it comes to the levels of acidity in coffee, and no doubt you have your personal opinion on which is best. You may prefer low acidity coffee for taste reasons, or perhaps high acidity levels just don't agree with you. Whatever the reason, we offer a selection of single origin coffees and blends that will appeal to your taste buds.
The acid that you find within your favourite brew impacts the flavours and aromas you detect; but low acidity doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the quality of your drink. The low acidity coffees we stock are still full of richness and flavours, each one different to the other. So if you are looking for a great filter coffee, a specialty coffee or a harder-hitting espresso, there are coffee beans to suit all tastes.
What makes coffee acidic?
Most of us are familiar with the pH scale or pH level, which measures acidity level (with pH1 being the most acidic and water typically measuring pH7 (neither acidic nor alkali) on this scale. Coffee typically measures between pH5 and pH6, so it is not considered highly acidic in this respect.
However, when we talk about coffee acidity, we are not referring to the pH level. Instead, it refers to a major taste characteristic feature, just like body, bitterness or sweetness. The acids in coffee create different flavours, and many people enjoy the characteristics of a high acidity brew, often recognised by its sharpness or brightness.
The acids found in coffee are chlorogenic acid and quinic acid. Chlorogenic acids are found in large concentrations in fresh green coffee beans and these decrease in quantity when the beans are roasted. These acids are known as antioxidants, believed to have health benefits, including assisting with weight loss and reducing blood pressure. Many coffees actually have five times as many antioxidants as a cup of green tea.
Quinic acids are not found in the untreated green coffee beans but instead develop during the roasting process.
Is acidity good for your coffee?
In terms of flavour, the amount of acidity required in good coffee is a personal choice. Some drinkers love bold acidity in their coffee as it brings an additional sharpness to the flavour, while other drinkers prefer low acidity, with more mellow characteristics.
In terms of health, if you have a sensitive stomach or acid reflux then consuming large quantities of high acidity coffees may aggravate you slightly as they encourage your body to produce more stomach acid. Beyond this, they are unlikely to have any unwanted side effects. If you do have a sensitive stomach or are worried about acid reflux, then less acidic brews are a great way for you to continue enjoying your morning coffee.
Where does low acid coffee come from?
Within a single country there can be a great variety in the acidity levels of coffee, so it is difficult to pinpoint one particular country of origin for low-acid coffee. Generally speaking, some of the better coffees in this category come from India, Brazil and Sumatra (Indonesia) and Arabica coffee beans contain less acid than Robusta beans.
Acid in coffee is natural - but the way in which coffee is processed will impact the level of acidity, as will the altitude of coffee plantations. Dry processing will give lower acid levels and high altitude will often result in increased acidity, although there are many exceptions to this.
The roasting process can also reduce the acidity of a coffee, as typically beans that are roasted for longer will burn off and remove more of the naturally occurring acids. This means that a dark roast coffee will have lower acidity than a light roast coffee.
Low acid coffee brands
There is no shortage of low acid coffee brands on the market, each claiming to offer low acid coffee beans or even acid-free coffee that is still packed full of antioxidants and delicious flavours. Some of these brands create fusions with Arabica coffee beans blended with ingredients such as matcha green tea, red tea and goji berries; others source naturally low acid coffee beans and roast them accordingly.
It is important to note that if you are trying to find a high-quality low acid coffee, it is worth researching the claims and definitions made by the various brands. Firstly, finding an acid free coffee is a near-impossible task, as acids occur naturally in the coffee bean. Removing all of these while still maintaining the flavour of coffee is not feasible, so it is likely these brews are just less acidic than others. An acid-free coffee claim may mean that it measures pH7, so is neutral on the pH scale, but gives no indication on the acidity taste characteristic.
Secondly, the best low acid coffees should not have gone through any chemical or unnatural processes. Some brands do add stomach-soothing powders to alkalize the coffee and reduce the risk of acid reflux, however, this can have a detrimental effect on the flavour of the brew.
Selecting beans that have a low level of naturally occurring acid and preparing them as a medium-dark roast or dark roast will result in lower acid content, without adding any nasties or extracting all the flavours.
If you are looking for the best low acid coffees, then why not try some of our suggestions below? As a coffee lover, you deserve to enjoy your morning cup without sacrificing the taste. All our beans are roasted to order and packed in foil fresh bags so not only will you get the best beans, but they will be in the optimum condition. If you don't want to grind the beans yourself, then we can also offer pre-ground coffees, which we will prepare according to your preferences.
Our low acidity coffees
Monsoon Malabar is one of our best-sellers at Coffee-Direct.co.uk and it's easy to see why. With rich, intense flavours yet low acidity, this single-origin is sure to wow your taste buds and make you a fan.
Malabar is a mountainous coffee-growing region in southern India, well known for its monsoon season, from which the beans take their name. Being one of the wettest areas, with high altitudes and nutritious soils, conditions are ideal for growing coffee plants.
However, it is not just the conditions that create these exceptional beans; the processing is really quite unique. When the beans are harvested and washed in fresh water, they are left to dry in the sun, then transported to the Malabar coast. On their arrival they are distributed across the floors of large, open warehouses, exposing them to all the elements for several months. As they soak up the moisture created from the monsoons, they plump up and swell, while also evolving from green to yellow. It is during this process that they naturally lose a high proportion of their acidity. Exposure to humid conditions and strong winds accentuates these beans' flavour profile, so there is no need to compromise on the taste profile when selecting a low-acid coffee.
Our Monsoon Malabar is smooth and mellow yet heavy-bodied and bold. You can expect to find spicy tasting notes combined with tobacco and wood, and aromas of dark chocolate. Available as a dark roast, these beans make a great espresso but are equally as good in a cappuccino or a regular flat white.
If you are familiar with the roasting process, you can also purchase this coffee in the green bean format to roast them yourself!
Another option for the best low acid coffee from India, our Mysore beans come from the Chamundi Hills and offer you a smooth, mellow brew. This is one of the best lower acid coffees if you prefer milder drinks.
The Arabica beans are named after the royal city of Mysore, and while many coffees from India are bold and rich, these have a softer, sweeter taste. You may even notice slightly flowery tones in the taste profile. Blending Mysore beans with Mocha beans is extremely popular, resulting in a fruity yet mild flavour with chocolatey tones.
This delicious medium-bodied drink is ideal at any time of the day, with best results when prepared in a cafetiere or as a filter coffee.
As with all our products, these are roasted to order and available in bags of medium roast beans, or perfectly ground to match your chosen brewing method.
Moving away from India, Brazil is also one of the best countries when it comes to producing low acid coffee.
Brazil is the largest coffee producer globally, so it is no surprise that they can offer a huge variety of different single-origins and blends that suit every taste.
Santos beans are grown in southern Brazil and named after the coastal city and port. This coffee is considered to be one of the most plentiful coffees produced each year, with large quantities being used in different blends throughout the world. In fact, the city of Santos owes much of its economic success to the coffee trade before World War II, and its continuing trade together with other commodities since then.
Harvested between May and July, 85% of Santos coffee beans are grown by small-holders at varying levels of altitude across the southern Brazilian plains. Those from lower altitudes and less fertile areas are often blended immediately and sold in this format, whereas those from higher altitude areas, with more favourable growing conditions, remain in the single-origin form.
Our Santos coffee is a light-bodied brew, prepared as a medium roast and still bursting with flavours and noticeable, pleasant aromas. These Arabica beans offer smooth flavours of fruit and a touch of dark chocolate. They are ideal for filter coffees and cafetieres.
Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is one of our best sellers, and one of the most sought-after coffees all around the world. And it's a low acidity coffee!
Blue Mountain coffee is grown at altitudes of between 900 and 2350metres above sea level, where rich volcanic soils, cooler temperatures, high rainfall and favourable shading create the ideal conditions for growing coffee plants. The result? A nutty yet subtle smooth brew with a sweet aftertaste.
Despite an initial boom in the 18th century, coffee production in Jamaica has remained low, producing just 0.1% of the world's coffee, but don't let this fool you. Since the 1950s, the country has focused on creating incredibly high-quality coffee, earning Blue Mountain coffee the status of 'best in the world'. Production and processing are slow and laborious but this does ensure superior quality and allow farmers to charge high prices. Only coffees grown in protected plantations above 900metres that have been manual quality checked can be certified as Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, so yields are low and exclusive.
Our Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is 100% authentic and expertly roasted in small batches, to order. This gives you a sophisticated, intense flavour with powerful aromas and a sweet, creamy aftertaste. We recommend preparing it with a percolator, cafetiere or filter machine for best results.
It might surprise you, but our Italian coffee that creates intense, smooth espressos is also a low-acidity coffee. So, even if you have a sensitive stomach that disagrees with the higher acidity brews, you can still indulge in a strong coffee that is full of flavour.
This Italian coffee is prepared as an Espresso roast, meaning it is roasted for slightly longer and at hotter temperatures, making it more soluble so ideal for espresso machines. However, it can still be brewed as a filter coffee, creating a perfect cup for those who prefer darker flavours and more body.
With our blend, you can expect a strong, smooth taste with classic aromas but without bitterness. Roasted to order, we can provide you with full beans for you to prepare at home, or we can grind them to suit your preferred brewing method. This is a great coffee to prove that less acidity does not mean low-strength or inferior flavours.
What is the best low-acid coffee?
The best low acid coffee for you is a personal choice, but the best way to discover this is to try a variety! Take a look at our handy coffee sorter that rates all our beans according to acidity levels and other taste characteristics. Select your required acidity and then work your way through the coffees that appeal to you until you find your favourite!
Does cold brew coffee have low acidity?
It has been reported that cold brew coffee has less acidity than a regular cup of coffee, although there are mixed opinions on this. As with your favourite hot brew, there are many variations when it comes to a cold brew. The beans and water used, the temperature at which it is made and the time it takes to brew will all impact the overall acidity.
Is Decaf Coffee acidic?
It is not unusual for many coffee drinkers to venture into the decaf arena at some point, especially if they are trying to soothe their digestive system or reduce their caffeine intake. Decaf coffee is still acidic, but there have been studies to show that the acid content is lower than in a regular cup of joe. When caffeine is extracted, the acid levels are reduced, so decaf coffee will be less likely to cause you heartburn and minimise the amount of acid your stomach produces while you are drinking. It should be noted, however, that while there is a low acid content in decaf coffee, the exact levels will depend on the beans, the farming methods and the roasting, so there is no guarantee that a decaf will have noticeably less acidity than a dark roasted coffee from naturally low acidic Arabica beans.