Is Decaf Coffee Less Acidic Than Regular? (Reflux Compared)

Drinking a cup of coffee has become an essential part of many people’s morning routine. The caffeine found in every cup is known to boost energy and mood. But it can be frustrating if your stomach doesn’t agree with the acidity of coffee, especially if you can’t start your day without it. Coffee is difficult to give up, and many people would prefer to suffer the consequences than live without it. 

So, if you have gastrointestinal problems, you’re probably thinking of switching to decaf. But is decaf coffee less acidic than regular coffee? Let’s find out in this article.  

Before we discuss the acidity of decaf coffee, you need to understand first what acidic coffee means. Similar to other foods, coffee naturally has different organic acids. You can find citric, malic, acetic, quinic, and tartaric acids in every coffee bean. However, roasting can change coffee’s acid content. Some brew makes them more active, while some completely roast them away.  

Decaf coffee doesn’t come from any specific type of coffee bean. It’s a type of coffee where the majority of the caffeine in it is extracted using the Swiss Water method or organic chemical solvents. Only a tiny fraction of caffeine is found in decaf, but this amount is not enough to give you that kick from a regular coffee. But how does lesser caffeine equate to lower acidity?  

Well, studies show that when caffeine is extracted, phenolic acid levels in the coffee are reduced. In addition, another research found that decaf also has lower levels of antioxidants. This means that decaf coffee contains less acid than regular coffee. This makes this type of coffee an excellent alternative for people trying to stay away from acids.  

Furthermore, even if a coffee bean contains less acid than dark roasts, it can still be acidic. This is because components in your favorite cup, such as caffeine, can cause stomach cells to produce more acid. This is why regular coffee is more acidic than decaf. The amount of caffeine present triggers your gut to produce more acid.  

So, if you find yourself getting acidic from your java, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the coffee you’re drinking has a lot of acid in it. In most cases, it’s just highly caffeinated.  

Is Decaf Coffee Less Acidic Than Regular? (Reflux Compared)

Is Decaf Coffee Good For Acid Reflux? (Is It Easier On The Stomach?) 

Acid reflux is one of the most common stomach problems seen in hospitals in the United States. This common condition usually comes with burning pain in the lower chest area, known as heartburn. It happens when the acid in your gut regurgitates or flows back to your food pipe.  

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, there are over 60 million Americans who experience heartburn at least once a month and at least 15 million who experience them daily. If acid reflux occurs more than twice a week, it is diagnosed as Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). But how does decaf coffee become beneficial in this condition? Doesn’t the health benefits of coffee come from antioxidants and caffeine?  

As mentioned, decaf contains tiny amounts of caffeine and antioxidants. But surprisingly, even with less of these two components, decaf coffee is found to serve protective benefits for your health, specifically with decaf. But don’t get us wrong, this type of coffee is still acidic.  

But since some of the coffee’s acids and caffeine are extracted, it’s less likely to cause heartburn or trigger any acid reflux than caffeinated coffee. This is because caffeine can cause your stomach to produce more acid. Its absence makes your gut more peaceful as it is easy on your stomach.  

Caffeine is still and will always be a potential trigger for heartburn and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Regular coffee contains significant amounts of caffeine, even higher than tea and coffee. But decaf has less to none of this component, making it a food option for those experiencing acid reflux.  

woman drinking coffee with low acidity

Which Decaf Coffee Has The Least Acid? 

If you’re looking for low acid coffee, whether decaf or not, you’ll come across two types: treated low acid coffee and inadvertent low acid coffee.  

Treated low acid coffee pertains to beans produced from special processing techniques to intentionally lower their acid contents. One example is Brazilian coffee roasted using a slow or interrupted process to make it less acidic. Another way is by steaming the coffee beans to remove their waxy coating before roasting.   

On the other hand, inadvertent low acid coffee is coffee that naturally contains lesser acids. Generally, coffee cultivated in low elevations tends to lack acid content. Beans from countries such as Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, and Mexico naturally produce fewer acids.  

Popular Decaf Coffee with Low Acid 

If you want to continue enjoying coffee at home, here are some popular decaf coffee brands that are low in acids:  

  • Peet’s Coffee Decaf Sumatra
    Peet's is one of the most popular coffee brands available now. If you love their coffee but you're suffering from acid reflux, you should try the decaf Sumatra beans. These beans are from Sumatra, which is known to produce inadvertent low acid coffee. It has less caffeine, too, so you know it won’t trigger your gut’s acids. 
  • Starbucks’s Decaf Verona
    Do you want to enjoy Starbucks at home? If so, this coffee is for you. Decaf Verona is a dark roast coffee, and this type of roast tends to be less acidic than other coffee. This is because they contain fewer compounds that trigger your stomach to produce acid. 
  • Volcanica Low Acid Decaf Coffee
    This coffee is Volcanica’s decaf version of their own blend of low acid coffee from Brazil and Colombia. These countries grow their coffee in low elevations, thus, producing coffee with lesser acids.

How Do You Make Coffee Less Acidic? 

If you want to lower the acid content of your cup, you can try some of the methods below. However, you should note that they are not scientifically proven, so try them at your own risk.  

Opt for a coarser grind

Coarser grinds are less likely to be over-extracted. In addition, the small surface area makes it difficult for some of the acids to be extracted from the grounds. 

Use the cold brew method over a hot brew

Cold water or room temperature water is less likely to bring out the acids of the coffee compared to using hot water. 

Add eggshells or baking soda to your drink 

Adding one of these two things can reduce the high concentrations of your coffee. However, this isn’t recommended as it can lead to a foul-tasting cup. 

baking soda

Frequently Asked Decaf Coffee Acidity Questions 

Is light or dark roast coffee less acidic? 

Dark roast coffee is less acidic than light roast as it contains fewer components that can trigger your stomach to produce acid.  

Can decaf coffee cause heart palpitations? 

No, it doesn’t. If you’re having palpitations after drinking decaf coffee, be sure to consult your doctor.  


Conclusion

With decaf coffee, no need to say goodbye to caffeine even if you have gastrointestinal problems. However, don’t abuse your stomach by still consuming more than regular cups of coffee. Even if decaf is good for acid reflux, consuming more than necessary may still lead to health issues.