Last Updated on April 11, 2023 by brewthatcoffee
We all know that a strong cup of coffee is a quick way to increase alertness and give us a pick-me-up when we feel sluggish, but it is also the cause of many heartburn issues. But does decaf coffee cause heartburn?
Coffee is naturally acidic, but the common reason for heartburn symptoms is due to the caffeine content of the beans. The decaffeination process of coffee results in decaf coffee blends that are easier on the stomach lining and helps reduce the flare-up of heartburn.
Heartburn can cause extreme discomfort and pain. Suppose you suffer from heartburn but can’t dump the coffee habit. Decaffeinated coffee may be the best option to help reduce the symptoms and severity of the attacks. This article explains why decaf coffee is a better option for acid reflux.
Acidity Of Decaf Coffee (Is It Less Acidic? pH level?)
Regular coffee is naturally acidic, which is not a bad thing as this is what gives the coffee its flavors, and they y
Regular coffee has a pH level of between 4.8 and 5.1, depending on the beans and the roasting process.
Once the coffee has been decaffeinated, the decaf coffee has a pH level similar to regular coffee with a slight variance but nothing drastically different.
Different acids are naturally found in coffee beans, and roasting methods can affect these levels by increasing the activity or removing it. That is why light roasts are more acidic than dark roast coffee, as the higher and longer roasting process extracts more of the bean’s volatile compounds.
So, in short, regular and decaf coffee are both mildly acidic on the pH scale with very little difference in the acidity level.
Why Coffee Causes Acid Reflux
The reason coffee cause acid reflux is more caused by the caffeine found in the bean than the acidity of the coffee.
One of the most common gastrointestinal disorders diagnosed in outpatients in the USA today is Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Caffeine is the more prominent reason people with GERD suffer from heartburn and acid reflux, as caffeine is a stimulant and causes the stomach cells to create more acid.
The acid can irritate the esophagus or weaken the esophageal sphincter, leading to stomach content flowing backward and creating acid reflux.
So even choosing low-acid coffee can cause acid reflux due to the high caffeine content.
Although decaffeinated coffee is still acidic, the extracted caffeine is easier on the stomach lining, and people suffering from acid sensitivity will be less to have a case of acid reflux.
What To Do During An Acid Reflux Attack
Acid reflux is when acids from the stomach spill into the esophagus and create a burning sensation called heartburn, which can be quite painful and, in severe cases, can be mistaken for chest pains or heart attacks.
Here are some things you can do if you experience any symptoms of an acid reflux attack.
Elevating the head of your bed will create a downward gravity that helps reduce the upward motion of reflux.
Take over-the-counter antacids like Tums and Rolaids. Proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium, Prilosec, or Pepcid can also help reduce heartburn symptoms.
For quick relief, you can use baking soda which neutralizes the acid, but this should be limited as it contains high sodium levels that can affect blood pressure.
Chew some gum to increase the production of saliva. Saliva has a neutral pH level which will help balance the pH level in your stomach and reduce acidity.
Heartburn is a great excuse to eat some ice cream. The ice cream alleviates the burning sensation. Like cold milk, calcium will aid digestion and reduce and maintain pH levels.
Pineapple juice helps to control hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach because of the bromelain enzyme.
For a natural antacid, take some cinnamon to soothe the stomach and aid digestion.
Chew some basil leaves; these help the stomach increase the mucus, which relieves heartburn.
Coffees We Recommend For Acid Reflux
Here are some coffees that we recommend you try to enjoy a cup of joe without worrying about aggravating your acid reflux.
Lifeboost Dark Roast Decaf
Lifeboost dark roast decaf is perfect for heartburn. Their coffee is roasted at high temperatures and over a more extended period to break down acids that increase the effect of heartburn.
The dark roast, commonly referred to as Italian or French roast, has a unique aroma with a full-bodied flavor that is bold with a deliciously smooth aftertaste that is easy on the gut.
The coffee is decaffeinated using a Swiss water method making the product organic and chemical-free. Lifeboost uses sustainable farming, producing fairly traded coffee of single-origin beans that are USDA approved.
Kicking Horse Decaf
Kicking Horse decaf dark roast is an organically certified Canadian roasted blend of Arabica beans sourced from Central and South America. The dark roast produces a lower acidic coffee and is decaffeinated using the Swiss water method.
The roast has a deep chocolaty aroma with a nutty complexity that translates into a roasted chocolate hazelnut balance full-bodied blend with rich, smooth, long-lasting flavors.
Lavazza Caffe Decaffeinato
Lavazza Caffe Decaffeinato is a sustainable aromatic blend of Arabica and Robusta beans sustainably sourced from South America and Southeast Asia.
It’s perfect for an enjoyable cup of delicious java without flaring up acid reflux. Their decaffeinated medium roast coffee of sweet balance of dried fruit and florals with notes of almond and milk chocolate balanced with mild honey sweetness. The aftertaste is light and floral.
Volcanica Sumatra Mandheling Reserve
Volacanica Sumatra Mandheling Reserve is a single-origin dark-roasted coffee made from rare Indonesian coffee beans. The dark roast beans are roasted at higher temperatures and for an extended period to ensure that acidic compounds are processed out for a higher pH level.
This Fairtrade coffee bean undergoes a washed process and is later sun-dried naturally. The flavors are expertly balanced with exotic flavors of dried fruits and brown sugar. The coffee is rich and smooth with a heavy body and low acidity, sweet syrupy, and rich earthy finish.
How To Make Coffee Less Acidic
There are different ways to reduce the acidity in coffee to brew a cup of joe that is lighter on the stomach.
Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew coffee can be far less acidic than a regular cup of drip coffee. The oils in the coffee beans need high heat to extract the flavors from the beans. As we previously mentioned, the coffee’s acid compounds are what give a cup of java its flavors.
Cold brewing takes more time and patience and requires more forethought to prepare your coffee. Cold-brewed coffee takes 12 to 24 hours to extract the flavors from the beans, but it produces much less acid than a quick cup of hot coffee.
Coarser Grind Coffee-Making Methods
Adjusting your coffee grind size will also help reduce some of the acidity of your coffee. The smaller the grind of the bean, the more surface area is exposed for extracting flavors. Using a coarser ground of coffee exposes less of the bean and releases less acidity in the brew.
Shorten Brewing Time
Shortening the brewing time of your coffee can help reduce acidity. Espresso is one such example because the coffee grounds are exposed to high heat for a shorter period. They contain less acidity than a drip coffee, for instance.
Another way is to make an espresso ristretto-style, which reduces the extraction time to 15 seconds versus the 30 seconds it takes for a regular shot of espresso.
Choose Darker Roasts
If you have a sensitive stomach and acidic beverages, flare up heartburn, then stick to darker roasts.
Lighter roasted coffees are considered acidic and contain the most caffeine. The longer a bean is roasted and exposed to high heat, the more the compounds in the bean will break down, which makes darker roasts less acidic with lower caffeine content.
Decaf Coffee And Heartburn FAQs
Here are a few frequently asked questions to which you may be interested in knowing the answer.
Coffee is a great beverage, either hot or cold, for a quick pick me up or simply because you love the taste. However, acidity and caffeine can play a role in heartburn flare-ups. However, you can rest easy that there are ways around this problem so that you can still enjoy a cozy cup of your favorite java.