Almost everyone starts the day with caffeine. Studies show that 80% of the population consumes a caffeine-infused drink daily(source). Most of the time, coffee is the answer if you want a good caffeine kick.
With most individuals consuming 3-4 cups of coffee every day, have you ever thought of how much caffeine in coffee will that be?
How much caffeine does coffee have?
Coffee is considered as the significant nutritive source of caffeine. An average cup of coffee will have approximately 50 to more than 400 milligrams of caffeine. Note that this number is not fixed because certain factors can affect the caffeine content in a coffee.
The type of coffee beans and how these beans were roasted are huge elements that can alter the coffee’s caffeine content. Beans that were roasted lighter means more caffeine content than the darker roast.
How much is too much?
Knowing the recommended and safe amount of caffeine intake daily is an excellent way to be on top of your consumption.
Studies show that for a healthy adult, 400 mg of caffeine is acceptable daily. That amount is equivalent to 4 cups of brewed coffee.
Four cups are reasonable because most usually take 2-3 cups per day anyway.
Is Coffee Acidic?
Yes. Coffee is considered to be naturally acidic. Its organic acid is what gives you those tangy and slightly strong jolts that most coffee addicts crave for.
You might get a little confused because ‘acidity’ is commonly perceived and associated with sour, bitter and sharp. In theory, acidity is measured through a pH scale. This scale ranges from 0 to 14 and a solution that has a pH level between 0-7 is concluded to be acidic while water solutions within the 7-14 pH level are basic.
Numerically, the pH level of most coffee types ranges from 4.85 to 5.10, making it scientifically acidic.
Acid is not all bad though because it gives your coffee with a pleasant tang, particularly in coffee beans with a single-origin.
What makes coffee acidic?
Not all coffee has the same acidic level. It is the Chlorogenic acids or GCAs that dictates the coffee’s potential acidity level.
Certain beans are more acidic compared to others, and here are the different factors that make coffee acidic more than the others.
- Roasting – the length of roasting time and the temperature used to roast can identify the acidity of your coffee. Studies show that when the coffee beans are roasted longer in higher temperature, the acid levels are lower(source). This conclusion resulted in the premise that coffee beans have higher acidity if they were roasted in a shorter time using only average temperature.
- Brewing – the brewing time also affects the varying acidity in coffee(source). The shorter the coffee is brewed, the more acidic the coffee becomes. Moderate brewing results in the coffee being less acidic.
- Ground Size – Using a finer grind will give you finer coffee but a more acidic coffee.
- Origin, climate and elevation – the type of soil is also a contributing factor in the coffee’s acidity. Additionally, coffee that is cultivated in cooler temperatures ripens slower, thus achieving a more robust flavour. When the beans get brewed, these beans tend to be more flavorful but more acidic.
What is acidity?
It’s already established that coffee is acidic, but what does it mean?
Some might relate coffee acidity to that sharp, sour-bitter, sparkling and fruity taste, but it can be an upset stomach for some.
Defining acidity is not easy.
Acidity comes in a lot of unique forms, and its effects are uniquely based on the person who had a cup of coffee. Acidity sometimes affects the overall flavour of the beverage and sometimes alters the aroma.
The founder of Coffee Lab International was relatively straightforward with the description of acidity, and it is purely based on the sharpness that it leaves in the mouth.
If there is no sharpness, then there is zero to minimal acidity. The more substantial the jolt is, the more acidic it is.
Health Impacts of Coffee Acidity
Most people get accustomed to the coffee’s acidity while others consider the discomfort as part of their coffee drinking routine. Unfortunately, the coffee’s acidity might also aggravate some health concerns of other coffee drinkers.
Acid can become tough on delicate stomachs, particularly for folks who enjoy more than one cup a day.
The top three health conditions that can be escalated by too much coffee acidity are:
1. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – this is the most common effect of coffee. This includes heartburns in the lower chest portion. This occurs when the stomach acid flows back and up to your food pipe.
2. Peptic Ulcer – this is when you grow open sores in your stomach’s lining. The sores can also develop on the upper portion of your small intestine. This is usually caused by your stomach acids eating away your digestive system’s protective mucus.
3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS – this is characterized by frequent cramping, bloating, pain in the abdomen, gas, constipation or diarrhea. Sometimes it’s both constipation and diarrhea.
Note that usually, it is the acidity and minor laxative effect of coffee that triggers these medical conditions. If you have been previously diagnosed with any of these three health problems, you should steer clear of any coffee. Should you believe that coffee is life, then go for the least acidic kinds.
How to reduce acidity in coffee?
If coffee is an integral portion of your life and you need a hot cup to function correctly, then you can lessen its acidity to make it a healthier option for you.
You don’t have to feel limited or restricted to drink whatever coffee is available because it is within your control to reduce its acidity and keep its possible adverse effects at bay.
- Go for dark roasts and not light ones.
- As much as possible, drink a cold brew rather than a steaming cup.
- Increase the coffee’s brew time.
- Invest in a coarser coffee grinder.
- Brew at a lower temperature in a reasonable time.
Coffee with Lesser Acidity
You love the extra energy that you get from your regular brewed coffee, but the upset stomach that follows can be irritating. You don’t have to give up coffee altogether and start becoming a zombie because there is a kind of coffee that has lesser acidity.
Decaf coffee is the ultimate solution. This variation of coffee has most of its caffeine removed either through the use of organic chemical solutions or via the Swiss Water method. The acidity in decaf coffee is not 100% removed as there is still a small fraction that remains.
Whatever caffeine is left there will not be as acidic as your regular coffee. Reality is you might also find it lacking when you are looking for that morning wake up jolt.
But if your primary concern is not to get as much acid from the caffeine and not give up coffee altogether, then a decaf is a great compromise.
Coffee Vs Tea Caffeine Content
Since coffee is acidic, you might be looking into other alternatives, and tea usually comes next after coffee.
Similar to coffee, teas also have varying levels of acidity, and the type of tea dictates the pH level. Using the pH scale, and as mentioned earlier, coffee falls between 4 to 5, black teas almost have the same acidity.
In comparison, green teas are more acidic because it is between 7 to 10 on the acidic pH scale(source).
Meanwhile, fruity teas are even more acidic than coffee. These are the likes of blackberry and lemon because they have an acidity score of between 2-3 pH.
Coffee is acidic in a lot of ways. It is acidic based on the pH scale and also acidic for your palate. Although it is technically acidic, it is not the most acidic beverage that you can take.
How much caffeine in coffee can vary; thus, not all coffee has the same level of acidity. The process of brewing and roasting can impact its acidity. Its roots and the climate where the coffee is cultured also affects the pH level.
There are a lot of ways to reduce the acidity of your coffee. You also have alternatives like other coffee types and even another drink like a cup of tea.
Coffee, although acidic still falls under the classification of healthy drinks. You have to drink in moderation and if possible, choose coffee that is less acidic to prevent any existing medical conditions from getting worse.
Coffee is everyone’s happy pill, and with the correct choice of coffee, it can retain as your happy pill without worrying about any adverse effects of its acidity.