Coffee has acid, right? So how can coffee be low in acid? How is the acid removed? And is the reduced acid coffee still organic, or are dangerous chemicals used to lower the acid content? And is the answer different if the coffee is decaffeinated?
It’s definitely possible to reduce the acid content of coffee, and it can be done without using toxic or synthetic chemicals. One of the secrets that Alex’s Low-Acid Organic Coffee uses is an air convection roasting method, which, by the way, also has other benefits.
If you’re worried about caffeine, we’ve got you covered there, too. Our decaffeination process not only removes caffeine, which can be a trigger for acid reflux, but also sticks to guidelines in the National Organic Program. Here are the answers to burning questions on how acid can be removed from coffee and stay organic.
Quick Review of Coffee’s Acidity and Benefits of Low Acid Coffee
Coffee is an acidic beverage. You probably know that if you’ve ever dealt with acid reflux or other conditions that make you think about how much acid is in the foods and beverages you consume.
There are many acids in coffee. The ones that contribute the most to the acidity of coffee are acids that are called chlorogenic acids. There are a few different types of chlorogenic acids.
Caffeine is another acid in coffee, but it doesn’t contribute much to the acidity of coffee. That’s why decaf coffee has a similar acidity as regular coffee made from the same coffee beans.
Now, why is it important how much acid is in coffee? Many people with conditions such as acid reflux try to avoid high-acid foods because they believe that they trigger symptoms such as heartburn. Lower acid coffee may also be desirable if you like a smoother, sweeter coffee without as much of a sour, bitter acid flavor.
Conventional Drum Roasting: A Troublesome Process for Acid and More
After harvest and rinsing, coffee beans are roasted before they are packaged and shipped for sale. Most coffee producers in the United States use a drum roaster. In this process, the coffee beans are placed into a cylindrical drum that’s made of metal. The beans get hot through the contact with the hot metal. That method of heat transfer, from the metal to the coffee beans, is called conduction.
With drum roasting there’s also a bit of hot air circulating around to further roast the coffee beans. That method of heat transfer is known as convection. The trouble with drum roasting, when it comes to acidity, is that when you introduce green (unroasted) coffee beans to a hot drum, the acid content is preserved.
Patented Process of Air Convection Roasting to Reduce Acidity
Hot air roasting is an alternative to drum roasting. Alex’s Low-Acid Organic Coffee is roasted in a unique coffee roaster that we have designed ourselves. The roaster uses patented convection technology to roast coffee.
Convection heating can heat the coffee beans from the inside out. That reduces the acidity of the final product without using any chemicals. The raw coffee beans never contact hot metal. In addition, Alex’s Low-Acid Organic Coffee is roasted to a medium dark French Roast. This level of roasting further decreases the acid content while increasing the chocolatey flavor in the coffee.
Other Benefits of Air Convection Roasting
We also like air convection roasting for a few other reasons.
There’s a shorter roasting time. Air convection roasting takes 4 to 8 minutes per batch compared to 15 minutes per batch using drum roasting. The longer coffee beans are heated, the less authentic their taste may be.
There’s less of a potential for an unpleasant “burned” taste. A drum roaster doesn’t allow the chaff to be removed from the coffee beans. If the chaff is burned, it can alter the taste of the final product. That’s different than using hot air convection.
The coffee beans that you buy are more consistent in terms of degree of roast and taste. That’s because it’s easier to monitor air convection roasting using temperature. In contrast, drum roasting requires other measures of doneness, such as coffee bean color.
Decaffeination without Chemicals
There are a few reasons to choose decaffeinated coffee. The most familiar reason may be if you don’t want to get the stimulating effects of caffeine. For example, if you’re drinking coffee at dinner or with dessert, you may want to choose a decaf coffee so that it doesn’t keep you up that night.
But there’s another reason to choose decaffeinated coffee, especially if you’re opting for Alex’s Low-Acid Organic Coffee to prevent acid reflux. The reason is that caffeine can cause acid reflux even though it’s not the main acid in coffee. Caffeine causes acid reflux for different reasons besides its acidity.
It relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), so it’s easier for stomach acid to back up to the esophagus and cause heartburn.
It stimulates production of stomach acid.
Here’s an overview of the decaffeination process that is used by Alex’s Low-Acid Organic Coffee. It doesn’t involve chemicals, and the coffee is still organic. Instead, Alex’s Low-Acid Organic Coffee is decaffeinated using the Swiss water process. It gently pulls out the caffeine and leaves the taste. And, it doesn’t use methylene chloride, carbon dioxide, or ethyl acetate, which are often used in conventional decaf processes.
Brewing Your Coffee to Reduce Acid
Once you purchase reduced acid coffee such as Alex’s Low-Acid Organic Coffee, what can you do to keep the acid content down and reduce acid reflux? Here are some tips.
Cold brew is less acidic than traditional hot brew.
When you use alkaline water to brew your coffee, your beverage will be less acidic than using regular water.
If hot beverages bother your stomach, iced coffee may be a better alternative for you.
Milk may help reduce heartburn due to its calcium content.
It’s also a good idea to follow general guidelines, such as avoiding coffee right before bedtime.
There are so many neat things about Alex’s Low-Acid Organic Coffee, including its unbelievable taste and freshness. But something that stands out just as much, if not more, is its low acidity content. We’re able to offer reduced acid coffee that is still organic because of our unique air convection roasting technique. And, our decaffeinated coffee has a still lower acid content, without the use of chemicals, thanks to the Swiss water technique for decaffeination. You’ll notice the difference in taste and how you feel when you drink our coffee!