HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Low Acid Coffee

Hopefulone Nov 14, 2013 08:30 AM

Love coffee flavor but am tired of the heart burn that inevitably follows. Any recommendations for a low acid coffee product? Have tried cold brewing but would prefer to try a low acid product for comparison.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. c
    Chowrin RE: Hopefulone Nov 14, 2013 08:43 AM

    So, try some Island espresso! (it's really low caffeine)

    1. Perilagu Khan RE: Hopefulone Nov 14, 2013 08:46 AM

      Ah! So I'm not alone. I gave up my beloved coffee several months ago because it churned up too much acid reflux. I really do miss coffee.

      1. h
        HillJ RE: Hopefulone Nov 14, 2013 09:57 AM

        Some Moka Java's are low in acid. Have you tried mild to blonde brews?

        9 Replies
        1. re: HillJ
          goodhealthgourmet RE: HillJ Nov 14, 2013 10:15 AM

          The OP should steer clear of light & mild brews - the darker the roast, the lower the acid.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
            HillJ RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 14, 2013 10:20 AM

            Hey ghg. Moka Java is what my hubby drinks and he suffers from acid reflux. That's why I made the suggestion. But I'll defer to your expertise. I also bought the blond SB and it didn't bother him at all.

            1. re: HillJ
              goodhealthgourmet RE: HillJ Nov 14, 2013 12:21 PM

              I don't know anything about the Starbucks blonde roast so I just read the info on their website. The beans are wet-processed (as opposed to dry), which reduces the acid content. The acidity of the blonde roasts is listed as "medium," but they must be less acidic than dry-processed light roasts thanks to the washing, so I stand corrected on this particular choice!

              The problem with Mocha-Java is the wide variation in the blend of beans and the level of roast because there's no universal standard for it anymore. So as you said, *some* M-J is low acid, you just have to know what to look for. I'm glad DH found one he likes that doesn't give him trouble.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                HillJ RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 14, 2013 01:13 PM

                Yeah, it took him a bit of time to find the right ones and I think even the level of individual acid relux varies so much person to person too. As for Moka Java-so true blends are all over the map.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                  Scrofula RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 14, 2013 02:01 PM

                  About wet processing reducing acidity: are you sure about that? My experience has been the opposite. All the bright fruit bombs I've had have been wet processed; dry processed beans from the same areas tend to be more subdued. Other sources seem to agree with my tastebuds:

                  Though this article provides an alternate explanation for the greater *perceived* acidity of wet-processed coffees:

                  1. re: Scrofula
                    Chowrin RE: Scrofula Nov 14, 2013 05:10 PM

                    Fruit bombs are better dry, imho.

                    1. re: Scrofula
                      goodhealthgourmet RE: Scrofula Nov 14, 2013 08:00 PM

                      Perceived acidity as an element of flavor/mouthfeel and actual acid content/pH level aren't the same thing.

                      I wish I could remember where I read the research paper - I'll have to do some digging. Anyway, the results of the experiment showed that the pH of washed coffee was lower than the pH than dry-processed coffee.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        Scrofula RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 14, 2013 08:49 PM

                        Interesting, and consistent with that last link: the increased body of dry-processed coffee reduces the perceived acidity. I'm curious whether the coffees compared in your study was identical in growing and roasting, and differed only in processing. The other possibility is that processing has little effect on acidity, but people choose more acidic varieties and lighter roasts for dry processing to compensate for the lower perceived acidity.

                        1. re: Scrofula
                          Chowrin RE: Scrofula Nov 15, 2013 04:23 AM

                          ghg, scrofula,
                          Any contact with water will extract caffeine (stuff loves to come out of coffee). And if caffeine (as I linked above) is part of what upsets stomachs, well, you're going to want to reduce it.

            2. h
              HillJ RE: Hopefulone Nov 14, 2013 10:25 AM


              here's what Coffee Review has to say. What worked for my hubby was experimenting a bit.

              1. goodhealthgourmet RE: Hopefulone Nov 14, 2013 10:45 AM

                I can't weight in on products that are specifically marketed as "low-acid" because I've never tried any, though I've seen one on the shelves at Trader Joe's for years so it must be popular.

                Some tips for a naturally low-acid cup:
                - Beans grown at lower altitudes are typically lowest in acid, so look for coffees from Brazil, India and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
                - Coarse grounds yield a lower-acid brew than fine grounds.
                - Roasting has a major impact on the levels of acid *and* caffeine - which can also trigger heartburn - so opt for medium-dark or dark roasts.

                I suffer from pretty severe GERD, yet my morning cup of my beloved Peet's Aged Sumatra (which I brew in my Aeropress with *hot* water) never triggers an episode.

                10 Replies
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                  Perilagu Khan RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 14, 2013 11:42 AM

                  Interesting info. Kenyan beans used to be my favorite. Are the beans there typically grown at low or high altitudes? And is Kenyan usually vended in the darker roasts?

                  1. re: Perilagu Khan
                    Chowrin RE: Perilagu Khan Nov 14, 2013 12:11 PM

                    High altitude (try rwandan or burundi for slightly lower altitude).
                    How sour were your beans? Kenyan tends to be some of the highest acidity -- at least if you get the good stuff.

                    1. re: Chowrin
                      Perilagu Khan RE: Chowrin Nov 14, 2013 01:44 PM

                      I don't remember a great deal of sourness, but then it's been quite a while since I had a cuppa Kenyan. Perhaps I'll look for the Burundian and Rwandan.

                      1. re: Perilagu Khan
                        Scrofula RE: Perilagu Khan Nov 14, 2013 02:05 PM

                        In my experience, Burundian and Rwandan coffees are still quite acidic. Maybe try a dry processed Ethiopian coffee if you want a less acidic coffee from that region. (Though dry processed coffees do have a different flavor profile.)

                        1. re: Scrofula
                          Perilagu Khan RE: Scrofula Nov 15, 2013 08:44 AM

                          Seems like just about all African coffees are rather acidic. Looks like Brazil, Sumatra, maybe Guatemala and Nicaragua--all roasted nearly to cinder--is the way to go.

                          1. re: Perilagu Khan
                            Chowrin RE: Perilagu Khan Nov 15, 2013 09:21 AM

                            Island coffee! Hawaii, Java -- all the nice low elevations.
                            (Personally, I'd just put milk in, but that's me)

                            1. re: Chowrin
                              goodhealthgourmet RE: Chowrin Nov 15, 2013 11:13 AM

                              Milk isn't a very good solution. Yes, it initially coats the lining of the esophagus and stomach to soothe symptoms and buffer acid...but it also increases the production and secretion of gastric acid and can actually exacerbate symptoms in many people. Whole milk and cream are particularly problematic - the higher fat content relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter allowing back-flow of the excess acid into the esophagus.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                Perilagu Khan RE: goodhealthgourmet Nov 15, 2013 01:25 PM

                                More sage advice. And to think I might easily have gone for that "remedy."

                                1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                  goodhealthgourmet RE: Perilagu Khan Nov 15, 2013 07:28 PM

                                  Always happy to share the knowledge! Skim milk doesn't trigger reflux as badly as the higher-fat options do, but then your coffee sucks :)

                        2. re: Perilagu Khan
                          Chowrin RE: Perilagu Khan Nov 14, 2013 05:11 PM

                          ahh, you probably aren't pulling a pure kenyan cappuchino.
                          tastes like grapefruit half the time.

                  2. h
                    HillJ RE: Hopefulone Nov 14, 2013 11:17 AM

                    How would coffee syrup fit in the scheme of things? I know we use Dave's Coffee Syrup for all sorts of shakes, drinks and even on ice cream.


                    1. cayjohan RE: Hopefulone Nov 14, 2013 11:47 AM

                      Trader Joe's Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate fills the bill on this one for me. It's very smooth. Now, I am an iced coffee drinker, and I tend to go a little light (or a lot, depending) on the ratio of concentrate-to-water, but I have never had heartburn issues with this, versus the brew from our pot. I just poured a little bit of the concentrate straight and tasted - it almost has a chocolatey flavor, and still smooth in its concentrated state.

                      My TJ's seems to get cleaned out fast, so I hoard it a little when I find it. Nice product.

                      1. r
                        rainey RE: Hopefulone Nov 14, 2013 12:52 PM

                        You sound like a candidate for a cold brew toddy.

                        1. Ttrockwood RE: Hopefulone Nov 14, 2013 03:09 PM

                          My father now drinks cold brew- and his nutritionist said to first have a few bites toast or cereal or simple carb so not drinking on an empty stomach. Also to add a splash of milk and avoid drinking the coffee black.
                          With those adjustments he is happily back to three cups a day.....

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Ttrockwood
                            Perilagu Khan RE: Ttrockwood Nov 15, 2013 08:45 AM

                            Hmmm. Interesting.

                            1. re: Perilagu Khan
                              Ttrockwood RE: Perilagu Khan Nov 15, 2013 05:14 PM

                              Ah, i said "milk" but mean almond milk- i got him to swap about a year ago now.

                              1. re: Ttrockwood
                                goodhealthgourmet RE: Ttrockwood Nov 15, 2013 07:20 PM

                                Excellent swap - almond milk can actually ease heartburn. If I'm home when my reflux flares up the first thing I do is pour myself a glass of unsweetened almond milk to sip. If the episode isn't too severe it usually calms my symptoms enough to avoid taking any meds. I know some people swear by chewing a few almonds to keep their GERD in check, but I can't imagine eating anything when my throat and esophagus are burning like that!

                                I'm glad your father has found a solution that allows him to enjoy his coffee.

                          2. deet13 RE: Hopefulone Nov 15, 2013 07:33 PM

                            Have you tried crushing eggshells and adding them to the grounds?

                            The calcium carbonate in the shells neutralize the acids while the coffee is brewing.

                            1. f
                              Florida Hound RE: Hopefulone Nov 16, 2013 05:27 PM

                              I hope I am not mixing metaphors or problems & solutions here, but over the years, there have been several Chowhound threads suggesting a pinch of salt in the coffe brewing basket as a solution to "bitter"coffee. Many who have posted felt the result was a "smoother" cup of coffee. I took all those comments to mean that if I sometimes had a rough stomach reaction (not heart burn) after drinking a cup of coffee, maybe adding salt as I made the pot of coffee would tone down my distress. I think it has. If this relates at all, I'm just throwing it out there.

                              1. Perilagu Khan RE: Hopefulone Dec 1, 2013 08:12 AM

                                Update (if anybody gives a dam' ;)): been using dark roasted Sumatran coarsely ground lately and have had no problems whatsoever with acid reflux. Looks like some o' you Hounds really know your bidniss. Thanks!

                                Show Hidden Posts