Is Coffee Acidic to the Stomach? Understanding the Impact of Coffee’s Acidity on Digestion

Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages around the world. It is a staple in many people’s morning routines and a go-to pick-me-up throughout the day. But have you ever wondered if coffee is acidic to the stomach? Does it have any impact on digestion? These questions have been the subject of much debate and study. In this article, I will explore the acidity of coffee and its effects on the digestive system.

The Acidity of Coffee

Coffee contains certain compounds that contribute to its acidity. One of the main acids found in coffee is chlorogenic acid. This acid not only gives coffee its characteristic tangy taste but also affects its pH level. Additionally, coffee contains other acids such as citric acid and malic acid. These acids, along with chlorogenic acid, may contribute to the perceived acidity of coffee.

The pH Scale

To understand the impact of coffee’s acidity on digestion, it is important to have a basic understanding of the pH scale. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline or basic. The neutral point on this scale is 7, which is neither acidic nor alkaline. Anything below 7 is considered acidic, while anything above 7 is considered alkaline.

Coffee’s pH Level

The pH level of coffee can vary depending on several factors such as the type of coffee bean, the brewing method, and the roast level. On average, coffee has a pH level between 4 and 5, making it moderately acidic. This level of acidity is comparable to other acidic beverages such as orange juice and soda.

Impact on Digestion

Now that we understand the acidity of coffee, let’s explore its impact on digestion. The digestive system is a complex network of organs responsible for breaking down food and absorbing nutrients. Various factors can affect digestion, including the pH level of the stomach.

Stomach Acid

The stomach naturally produces hydrochloric acid (HCl) to aid in the digestion process. This acid is highly acidic, with a pH level of 1.5 to 3.5. The acidity of the stomach helps to break down food and kill harmful bacteria that may be present.

Acidic Foods and Beverages

Consuming acidic foods and beverages can potentially increase the overall acidity of the stomach. This increase in acidity can lead to discomfort, heartburn, and acid reflux. However, it’s important to note that the acidity levels of specific foods and beverages do not directly correlate with their impact on stomach acid.

Coffee’s Effect on Stomach Acid

Despite being moderately acidic, coffee has been found to have minimal impact on the overall acidity of the stomach. This is because the stomach tightly regulates its pH levels and can produce more acid as needed to maintain the optimal digestive environment. However, for individuals who already have digestive issues or a sensitive stomach, the perceived acidity of coffee may cause discomfort.

Reducing the Impact of Coffee’s Acidity

If you enjoy coffee but find it bothersome to your stomach, there are several measures you can take to reduce its acidity and potential impact on digestion.

Choose Low-Acid Coffee

Some coffee brands offer low-acid or acid-neutralized varieties. These coffees are made using specific techniques that aim to reduce the acidity levels. Opting for these types of coffee may help alleviate any discomfort caused by the acidity of regular coffee.

Consider the Brewing Method

The brewing method can also influence the acidity of coffee. Brewing methods such as cold brew and some espresso methods produce a less acidic cup of coffee compared to traditional hot brewing methods. Experimenting with different brewing methods may help find one that is gentler on your stomach.

Avoid Adding Acidic Ingredients

If you find that coffee upsets your stomach, consider avoiding the addition of acidic ingredients such as lemon or orange. These additions can further increase the overall acidity of the beverage.

Enjoy Coffee with Food

Having coffee with food can help buffer its acidity and reduce the impact on your stomach. The food acts as a protective layer, preventing direct contact between the coffee and the stomach lining, thus reducing any potential irritation.

Consider Decaffeinated Coffee

Caffeine, a natural stimulant found in coffee, can increase the production of stomach acid. If you experience digestive issues related to coffee, switching to decaffeinated coffee may be worth considering, as it contains less caffeine.


In conclusion, coffee is moderately acidic, with a pH level between 4 and 5. While it does contain acids that contribute to its acidity, coffee has minimal impact on the overall acidity of the stomach. However, for individuals with digestive issues or sensitive stomachs, the perceived acidity of coffee may cause discomfort. By choosing low-acid coffee, considering different brewing methods, avoiding acidic ingredients, enjoying coffee with food, and opting for decaffeinated varieties, you can reduce the potential impact of coffee’s acidity on digestion. As with any dietary concern, it is always best to listen to your body and make choices that work best for you.

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