Is Coffee Acidic or Basic

With a pH of 4 to 5, coffee is slightly acidic, with 4 being the most acidic. Its acidity, however, depends on different factors.

ph scale

Are all coffee acidic?

Coffee is often marketed as an acidic drink, but coffee actually comes in at about a pH-scale of five, which is slightly less acidic than beverages such as beer, orange juice, and even soda. And, most of the time when we think about acid and coffee, we don’t actually talk about the drink’s pH level.

Five reasons why coffee can be acidic

  • Citric and malic acids are formed as the coffee cherry grows on the tree, giving it a sour or acidic flavor like that of a lemon or a green apple.
  • Coffee plants growing in high altitudes and sunny areas are more acidic than those cultivated under other conditions; the former have cherries filled with higher levels of organic acids, caffeine, and sugars.
  • The amount of the plant species depends on the chlorogenic acid, sucrose, fructose, and other organic acids. The Robusta coffee, for example, has twice as many chlorogenic acids as other beans.
  • Processing coffee affects the acidity level of coffee beans. Pulped coffee beans of course are less acidic than washed ones. Washing removes fructose, saccharose and other coffee content to make it more acidic.
  • Roasting breaks down organic acids resulting in your brew having a metallic taste.

There are also other reasons why your coffee might taste more ‘acidic;’ like letting it sit on a hot plate or elsewhere for a couple of hours due to chemical reactions that increase its acidity level.

So, is my cup of coffee acidic?


Coffee is chemically acidic because it contains acidic properties such as chlorogenic acid, tannins, and polyphenols. The caffeine in coffee often causes the release of more stomach acid, causing some people to get irritated by the stomach. That’s different from defining your coffee as an acid or foundation, though, since coffee is tolerable as compared to some of the pH values of popular FDA beverages.

Kenyan coffee, for example, has a PH of 4.3; while blueberry lemonade has 2.9 PH, Grapefruit Juice has 3.6 PH and apple juice has a PH of 3.8; The coffee is probably less acidic than soda and beer!

How do you measure the acidity or basicity of coffee easily?

You should dip litmus paper in your coffee if you’re not sure if your coffee is acidic or not. When it turns red it is acidic to your coffee. Those who want to get a precise scale may sprinkle a few drops of coffee into a container. Only add a few drops of the indicator and test if the coffee is acidic or alkaline based on the PH-scale indicators.

Although chemically black coffee is measured at pH 5, a coffee‘s actual acidity may more often than not be referring to the specific roast and variety you have selected, rather than its actual acid content.

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Essentially, your tongue tells the story, picking up traces of bitter, or salty, until your body decides whether it’s too acidic for your taste, or just right.

Whether you feel a burning sensation or a feeling of pain in your stomach, there is every chance your body has assessed the acidity levels as too high. The lighter the coffee beans you grind, the more acidic the coffee becomes.

How can I choose a coffee that’s more acidic, or more basic?


You won’t have much control over how your beans of choice are grown, but the initial reasoning for some coffee beans being more acidic than others is down to the pH levels of the soil in which they were grown, as we mentioned before.

Acidic soil determines the acidity of the coffee beans, too. Whereas the land is the more basic, the lower the beans acidity levels. That doesn’t mean your finished brew will be acidic though, as it can be determined by the next steps in your brewing process.

Many people prefer cooling their coffee down–which can again reduce the acidity levels–while others add milk or cream. It, too, will bring down acid levels.

You will find that it is more acidic than its watered down, or milkier, counterpart to those who prefer a strong, black coffee which is both rich and robust.

Does adding milk to coffee reduce acidity?


Simply adding the milk, you can make coffee less acidic. The calcium in milk neutralizes some of the acids in the coffee, and many enjoy the way a cup of coffee smooths out the taste. Milk works especially well in dark-roast coffee, which is generally lower in acidity to start with.

Can I lower the acidic base of my coffee?

Besides watering your brew or adding milk or cream, there are other steps that you can take to ensure that your stomach is not suffering from high-acid liquids.

First, you can opt for coffee with light roast. Although the flavor is not going to be as intense as what you would get from a dark roast, it is considerably less acidic. Nevertheless, cold-brewing it is the only way to profit from a low acid coffee.

The cold brewing process not only dramatically lowers the coffee‘s pH level but also allows you to enjoy a sweet and smooth brew. If that’s not an option, both are excellent options for a latte or cappuccino that don’t irritate sensitive stomachs as much as an espresso or drip pot coffee.


Coffee pH point lies between the coffee and the wine. It’s not quite acidic, but not entirely basic. Nonetheless, the difference between one that is acidic (or bitter), and one that is not, can be expressed by your preference coffee.

If you are looking for a coffee with low acidity, go for a medium roast bean with milk or cream. Whether you prefer a richer and more robust taste to your coffee, assume that it will be high in acid. You can however reduce this amount by brewing it cold.

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