Is Coffee Acidic?

As much as we might look forward to a hot cup of coffee in the morning, it can be a source of pain and discomfort for some. Coffee has a reputation for being acidic, and acidity is often associated with gastrointestinal symptoms like heartburn. But how acidic is coffee? And should we avoid it if we're prone to indigestion?

In general, the acidity of various solutions is determined using a pH scale from zero to 14; the lower the number, the more acidic a solution is (via Healthline). Most coffees range between 4.85 and 5.10 on the pH scale. This is still lower on the scale than many other common beverages, including beer, which has a pH of four, and orange juice which has a pH of three, according to Higher Grounds Trading. While acidity can be a common culprit for gastrointestinal distress, don't feel the need to pull out your pH tester kits just yet. Other factors could be contributing to your tummy woes.

Caffeine is a common culprit for stomach upset

According to Medline, acidity isn't the only aspect of coffee that can cause an increase in stomach acid, but the caffeine content as well. While it's generally considered safe to consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, it's easy to meet that threshold quickly. For example, one 8-ounce cup of coffee contains between 95 and 200 milligrams of caffeine. Considering that a grande coffee at Starbucks is 16 ounces, a single drink could be supplying you with 400 milligrams of caffeine (via Starbucks).

That being said, if you're under the 400 milligrams of caffeine per day and still experiencing discomfort, there are other considerations to keep in mind. For one thing, opting for a dark roast over a light roast can help, according to Healthline. Also, cold brew coffee has less acid than regular coffee. And if you're brewing coffee at home, grind your coffee more coarsely and increase your brew time if using a French Press.