Is All Coffee Really Created Equal? - Adaptive Nourishment

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This one is another topic that has come up in conversation recently, so I thought I would address it. I have some friends who have told me that they have issues with coffee, but only sometimes. The question they continually ask is why? Well, it is actually pretty simple. Not all coffee is created equal!

Coffee Acidity

The easiest answer to the aforementioned question is that the acidity is different. Here is a great article about the different acids found in coffee beans and how roasting affects them.

Basically, the most common acids found in coffee beans are:

  1. Acetic Acid
  2. Chlorogenic Acid
  3. Citric Acid
  4. Malic Acid
  5. Phosphoric Acid
  6. Quinic Acid
  7. Tartaric Acid

Quinic acid is the one that is most highly associated with stomach issues relating to acid. Although there are also plenty of people who don’t do as well with Citric acid or Malic acid either. Therefore, if your coffee happens to have higher levels of any of these, you could be doing your insides a disservice.


Acidity comes down to pH. Not only of the coffee we may be partaking in, but also of our own human body. The standard pH of the human body is anywhere from 7.3 – 7.45, which is slightly alkaline.

Coffee usually has a more acidic pH range, somewhere between 4 – 5.  This means that coffee can cause problems with people who may already be experiencing pH issues. Such as those who may be suffering from:

  • Acute Acidosis
  • Bone Reabsorption Acidosis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Renal Tubular Acidosis

For those of us that already have issues with the body being too acidic, then we should consider following an alkaline diet to balance the pH. Not only that, but since coffee is naturally acidic, it may be best to avoid it altogether.

Lower Acid Options

If the acidity in coffee is what gets you, then you are in luck. There are a few options that decrease the acidity in regular black coffee so that you can still enjoy it.

The first option is to drink a lighter roast coffee. Usually the lighter roasts are also a bit more alkaline. So this may be the first thing to try.

The second option is to try a cold brew coffee instead. Since the extraction method used for cold brew extracts less of everything, that just happens to include acidity.

The third option is to order a milk based espresso/latte/fancy coffee drink. The more alkaline pH in the milk lowers the acidity of the coffee. Therefore, making it more palatable for your stomach.

The fourth option is to make your own craft coffee at home. By doing it this way, you can choose a lighter roast and add some more alkaline qualities to your coffee. Not only this but you will be helping your budget!

The Takeaway

If you have experienced issues with coffee and your tolerance for it, then you may need to switch things up. You could be doing more damage to your body by continuing to partake. So it makes more sense to either cut coffee out all together or change to a lower acidity brand.

As much as I like coffee, really more for the flavor than the caffeine, I would stop drinking it if it caused me pain. But if you just can’t stop, then tweak your habits so that you can tolerate it without causing your body distress. After all, we want to be able to enjoy everything in life, and that includes our coffee!

Have you experienced stomach problems when drinking coffee? What have you done to resolve the issue?