Is Coffee Acidic or Alkaline?

Is coffee acidic or alkaline? Think you know but want to know know? Know for sure (and find out a bit more)? And find out how to make your tasty coffee low in acidity?

And discover the secret to eternal life?

You’re in the right place! Well, for the ‘is coffee acidic’ question. Not sure about the eternal life stuff.




Is Coffee Acidic?


What is Acidity?

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In chemistry, substances can be acidic, alkaline or neutral. An acid is a substance that forms hydrogen ions, H+ and acidic solutions when we dissolve them in water. An alkali forms hydroxide ions, OH- and alkaline solutions in water. If a solution is neutral, it isn’t acidic or alkaline – it perches smack bang in the middle!

Remember litmus paper? It’s the stuff we use to measure the pH of a substance. Those merry-in-the-middle neutral substances have a pH of seven. Something acidic has a pH of less than seven; something alkaline goes the other way and features one more than seven. The scale goes from zero (super duper acidic) to fourteen (super duper alkaline).


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Is Coffee Acidic or Alkaline?

So, coffee… is coffee alkaline or acidic?

Acidic is your quick, BOOM done-and-dusted answer.

The slightly more detailed answer is… it depends. That’s right; coffee acidity depends on a range of factors such as growing region, varietal, brew method, roast style and more. But it’s always acidic and generally has a pH of between 4.85 and 5.10. This is less acidic than orange juice (pH 3.9) and a tad more acidic than dairy milk (pH 6.5).



Moka pot on a table with three bags of Two Chimps coffee




Why is Coffee Acidic?

Let’s prod a bit deeper. Why is coffee acidic? Was it just… written in the stars?

Coffee features an acidic pH because it contains several acidic compounds. When you grind and brew your beans, these acids release into the brewed coffee liquid. But HALT before you start thinking, ‘uuuurgh… I don’t want acid in my coffee’. Acidic compounds are utterly essential for flavour. We need them for a cup that’s balanced and beautiful. No acids = no awesomeness. Trust us.

Your tasty coffee has over 800 compounds. Not all are acidic; in fact, just nine important acids get released during the brew.  Here are the main ones:


Chlorogenic Acid

We find this little gem in apples, blueberries, sweet potato, tomatoes, tea and coffee. It’s a real goodie and can help to reduce blood pressure and prevent diseases like diabetes and cancers.


Quinic Acid

Quinic is the acid that can give coffee an acidic or sour taste when not brewed correctly. It gets formed when chlorogenic acids break down during the coffee roasting process.


Citric Acid

The same acid you find in ??!!


Acetic Acid

This one’s more commonly known as vinegar. But don’t panic – your coffee won’t start rocking fish ‘n’ chip vibes! Acetic acid is crucial for creating an overall balanced taste in your cup.


Malic Acid

Malic acid is… the apple of my eye (because it brings a nice green apple flavour to coffees).


comparison of acidity levels in coffee and different foods





Is Decaf Coffee Acidic?

We never forget decaf drinkers at Two Chimps (it’s why we source and roast TWO chemical-free decafs). So here’s a section for all ya decaf devotees – is decaf coffee acidic?

Most decaffeinated coffees are marginally lower in acids than regular caffeinated coffee. But only by a tiny bit. The difference is caused by the decaffeinated process. This removes the caffeine (obvs) but can also remove a few acidity compounds.

Acidity is essential for flavour, hence why some decafs taste a bit meh compared to regular coffee. And this, friend, is why you NEED speciality decaf. Gently decaffeinated using chemical-free methods, speciality decafs leave the supermarket ones standing. Most big brands use chemicals such as methylene chloride or ethyl acetate to decaffeinate their low-grade beans, stripping the coffee of flavour as well as caffeine. Choose fresh speciality decaf from Two Chimps, and you can look forward to chemical-free coffee with all its flavour intact!


Colombian speciality coffee beans drying on raised platforms


Check out speciality decaf!




Is Coffee Bad for Acid Reflux?


Can Coffee Cause Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is the not-very-nice feeling of stomach acid returning up the throat. Pretty much any acidic food can trigger acid reflux – it all depends on the individual. There is a bit of finger-pointing when it comes to coffee and acidic reflux, but the truth is that any food or drink with a pH under seven can start it off. Oranges, chocolate, tea, alcohol… it’s all about knowing your body!



Bag of fresh Two Chimps coffee sits on a table with a cafetiere



How to Make Coffee Low in Acidity

You love coffee (us too) but it’s causing you a spot of acid reflux. Panic not! No need to put the padlocks on your coffee cupboard. Check out these handy tips for making coffee low in acidity!


Try Different Growing Regions

Country of origin doesn’t just change the flavour – it impacts the acidity of your joe, too! Coffee from African countries like Kenya and Ethiopia tends to have higher acidity levels than coffees from South America and India.



Fruity-bright light roast coffees tend to have higher acidity levels than their dark roast chums. Why? It’s because dark roasted beans spend longer in the hot temperatures of the roaster, giving more time for their chlorogenic acid to break down.


Coffee beans getting roasted



Craving coffee low in acidity? Try cold brew. Cold brew is less acidic than all forms of hot brewed coffee because higher brew temperatures extract different natural sugars, oils and acids in the coffee. Cold brewed coffees taste mellow and sweet thanks to the absence of heat. Fewer oils and acids get released in the lower temperatures, giving a coffee that’s easier on the tum and 100% yum.


Add Milk

Milk is a notch more neutral than coffee (dairy milk has a pH of six, remember). This means it works some acid dilution magic on a cup of black coffee and makes it less acidic. Like almond milk? A 2018 analysis found that unsweetened almond milk has a pH of about 6.5.


Is coffee acidic or alkaline? You’ve smashed it. Check out more tips for drinking coffee reflux-free below!


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