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In this article, we will be addressing low acid coffee, what it is, which of the “off the shelf” options are available and how you can make regular coffee low acid for yourself.
If you are immune to the relatively high concentrations of acid in your favorite coffee, and seem to be able to drink cup after cup with no ill effects consider yourself lucky!
Consider yourself lucky, but don’t discount the idea of enjoying low acid coffee altogether, because if you are anything like me, you drink plenty of java, and like a reduced intake of caffeine, a lower dose of acid won’t kill you.
On the other hand, if you have been living with high levels of acid in your coffee, and it makes your miserable, tormenting your stomach, you will definitely want to give these suggestions a try!
In a hurry? –> Read our buying recommendations for low acid coffee products
So What Is Low Acid Coffee?
Well first, you could be excused for not knowing, because the industry as a whole, for whatever reason, doesn’t seem to cater to those who have to deal with the pain of high acidity, or worse, not being able to enjoy coffee at all.
I’m not really sure why this is as you will find far more options for reduced caffeine, but it doesn’t matter because we will get you on the right track.
When we say “high or low” acid we are referring to any given pH value. Without getting too technical, neutral pH value (distilled water) is seven, lemon juice is typically around two and black coffee registers at a value of five.
At the other end of the scale, Milk of Magnesia registers a pH value of 10, so you get the idea here. If you suffer from acid reflux, GERD, indigestion, or heartburn, and you introduce a substance with a pH value lower than seven into your system the results are predictable.
Prepared, roasted coffee naturally contains acid, it is just one of the super complex attributes that make up the taste of the various coffees that we love so much. Removing the acid from coffee for some would be considered a “sin”; much like removing caffeine has a sort of stigma associated with it.
The simple fact, however, is that, in my opinion anyway, you can have a great coffee experience without the high acid. Much like beauty that is in the eye of the beholder, the brilliance and complexities of outstanding coffee can be had in many different forms. Snobbery with a super narrow point of view is silly.
Methods Of Lowering Acid In Regular Coffee
There are a couple of interesting choices on the market that claim to lower the acid in regular ground coffee. Along with low acid, many other benefits are cited in each products literature. One nice thing about these two devices, in particular, are that they are very inexpensive alternatives to some other, more traditional, means of coffee making.
Aerobie Aeropress Coffee & Espresso Maker
[easyazon-image-link asin="B000GXZ2GS" alt="Aerobie 80R08 AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31padqKSY1L._SL160_.jpg" align="right" width="89" height="160"]At first glance, this coffee maker looks a lot, in concept, like a French press. Aerobie (which incidentally is best known for their world-record setting flying discs) says Alan Adler spent years researching methods of making the perfect cup of coffee, and finally settled on the AeroPress design.
The AeroPress works by attaching a filter to the bottom of the manually operated device, then, after adding a measured amount of coffee and hot water to the beaker, pressing down on a plunger for around 30 seconds, it may sound a bit confusing, but think upside down French press, and you are pretty much there.
All of the factors that make the AeroPress work, and create their unique end product make me wonder if the resultant coffee is anything like the drink we are used to enjoying. Indeed the company instructs topping off a concentrated brew with hot water to create standard American style coffee, better known to us as an Americano. This then, will be a different product than you would expect from your regular drip maker, but this may be great news depending on your preferences.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
I really liked this one person’s objective point of view.
Those with a keen eye will recognize this viewpoint as the most helpful, “critical”, review as found on Amazon.com. What they point out is that the benefit of the AeroPress comes with the fact that all aspects of the manufacture of your coffee is in your hands, much like that of a French press.
What separates the AeroPress from a French press, however, is a quality that this gentleman refers to as “clean”, meaning the coffee, as pressed through a paper filter, is separated from its natural oils, and other ingredients that affect flavor. This would also be part of the process that reduces acid.
The consumer goes on to explain his technique for making his preferred coffee, and cleaning observations. He states that, because the AeroPress is made of plastic, it collects oils, and can be rather difficult/time consuming to clean, and although his review is of the critical nature, he still rates the product a three out of five stars on Amazons five star rating system.
- 5” X 5” X 11.5”
- 2 pounds
- Amazon Customer Rating (883 Customers) 4.6 out of 5 Stars
- One to Four Cup Capacity (Concentrate)
- Made in the USA
Toddy Cold Brew System
[easyazon-image-link asin="B0006H0JVW" alt="Toddy T2N Cold Brew System" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41HedrpYJSL._SL160_.jpg" align="right" width="160" height="147"]
The Toddy maker was developed by Cornell graduate, Todd Simpson, in 1964. This maker is totally different from others in that it uses cold or room temp water in place of hot water.
Because of the simple, non-electric operation of this unit, it comes in at a very reasonable price (around $40), similar to the AeroPress. The real benefit of the Toddy’s simplistic nature is that, again, like the AeroPress, it puts much of the control in your hands.
Our priority here, of course, is reduced acid and Toddy claims a 67% reduction over traditional coffee from the same ground beans. Unlike the AeroPress, this seems to be the manufacturers focus, and so for our purposes seems very much worth your consideration.
Cold brew coffee is a very simple concept, and making it is just as easy. The Toddy system is basically a brew chamber that contains a re-useable filter, a drain plug, and a glass decanter. Cold brew works by adding a measured amount of coffee to the brew chamber, then adding water, allowing the mixture to rest for about 12 hours, and then draining the coffee through the filter into the decanter.
The decanter can hold up to 56 ounces of concentrated coffee, which you can then mix with two to three parts water. The coffee concentrate can be stored in the fridge for up to three weeks.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
Most of what I found revolves around the claim that this method does indeed lower the acid content of coffee. Many coffee lovers who would otherwise have to give up, or at least reduce, their coffee intake found that the Toddy Cold Brew system of making coffee not only made coffee viable again for their tummies, but also tasted great, which is very good news indeed!
The only “complaints” that I came across were regarding the inherent cost of filters, which are re-useable to a point, length of time for the brew, cleaning hassle, and a few who say that you can make the same product with a couple of jars and a filter.
I cannot comment on any of those, but the last. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many Toddy customers, the convenience makes up for the price of the product. That’s subjective, just like coffee flavor, but most devices we buy, in the end, are purchased simply to make life a little easier, even if we could do the same job the hard way.
- 7.2” X 7.2” X 12.5”
- 2.1 Pounds
- Amazon Customer Rating (293 Customers) 4.4 out of 5 Stars
- 56 ounce Capacity (Concentrate)
What About Low Acid Coffee?
Puroast, according to their website, has been selling their low acid coffee since November, 2005. They claim their coffee has an acid reduction of over 50% versus regular coffee. When looking at how this is done exactly, they say that the original blend, first sold in the late 1990’s, had nothing to do with low acid, in fact, it wasn’t until they had several customers come to them, and tell them that their product was easier on their stomachs than other coffees, that they even realized this extra benefit of their proprietary roasting technique.
Puroast Coffee Company states that they have had their product tested by Dr. Taka Shibamoto of the University of California at Davis, and can use the findings to back their claims.
Hevla, meanwhile, makes no claims about a percentage of acid reduction. Hevla sells several different flavors and like Puroast, they say their acid reduction is also accomplished during the roasting process, but they also go on to say that, there is an added high pressure steam and vacuum procedure that reduces further irritants.
Of the reports by consumers that drink these coffees, I find regular glowing reports, usually by people who could otherwise not drink coffee. It would appear that these products not only work perfectly well, but taste great too. Have we found the Holy Grail here? Yes, no, maybe, I don’t know, but if not you could also try…
A Powdered Coffee Additive – JAVAcid
Now here’s an interesting option. JAVAcid is a powdered additive that comes in single use tube packets, like the ones you see Splenda or water bottle flavor packets packaged in.
Many people mistake this product as one that reduces the acid in the coffee that you sprinkle it in, but instead it treats the way your body reacts to the acid in the coffee. The reason this is important is that by being flavorless, and not changing the chemical make-up of the coffee, JAVAcid says your home or coffee-house coffees flavor is not impacted.
What’s in this stuff? Well, four simple all natural ingredients as it turns out:
- Dietary Fiber 800mg
- Diglicerized Licorice 200mg
- Calcium 200mg
- Vitamin D 200IU
That’s it. And JAVAcid says you can use the product with any coffee beverage, including shots of espresso. Incidentally, JAVAcid states on their website that the purchase of low acid coffees, going so far as to name the very brands looked at here, is no longer necessary with this product.
I’m not sure if they are insinuating that there is something wrong with low acid coffee, they don’t go that far. But either way, take a look at their website here http://www.javacid.com/ and don’t forget to get the free sample!
As for the “buzz” on JAVAcid, most of what I have found relating to this product is testimonials and of course, those are not going to give you the most objective point of view.
I did see one customer refer to their discovery of this product in the pages of the Interstitial Cystitis Network Newsletter, so maybe that lends credibility to the cause, I guess that depends on the contents of the article, which I didn’t get to read, but either way this customer saw the light, and couldn’t be happier, saying that they experienced “no burning in my bladder, and no increased urgency…” so if that speaks to you, by all means check this product out.
All of these products can be found at www.amazon.com
There may be package deals with some products, and there are different varieties of coffee flavors available:
|AEROBIE 80R08 AEROPRESS COFFEE & ESPRESSO MAKER|
|TODDY T2N COLD BREW SYSTEM|
|PUROAST LOW-ACID COFFEE|
|HEVLA LOW-ACID COFFEE|
In the end, if your choices were limited to not enjoying coffee, or drinking an unpalatable acid reduced product, your preferences, unfortunately, may have seemed removed for you, but don’t despair, you have several great options here to try out!
I think all the products here have something to offer people who suffer from stomach and related problems, finding the one that works for you will be the challenge. While I have yet to sample these alternatives myself, the AeroPress and Toddy systems do enjoy repeated praise for their ability to make fine beverages. The Toddy system, in particular, gets the nod in terms of sheer popularity as a tasty low acid work-around.
JAVAcid looks like a very interesting, and convenient way to take the sting out of coffee, and if you purchase your coffee by the cup from your favorite barista, it could be the best way to go.
Give one or both of the two most popular low acid coffees on the market a shot. Both of these products are totally natural, and have been blessed with low acid from birth by their makers without resorting to any tactics that cause any worry. For many people these are the ideal choice because the taste is perfect, and acid becomes a non-issue.
It doesn’t really matter which of these products you choose, what matters is that finally there are plenty of choices out there, and much like sugar reduced sodas you can focus on what tastes good to you instead of the market making the decision for you.
Now go forth, experiment, relax and enjoy!