Drinking coffee is the best part of the day. You, your mug, and a cozy blanket on the couch — it’s the ultimate me time, right? Slowly sipping ounce after ounce of java, savoring the flavor notes until that cup’s empty.
It’s not until later when, well, the problems can begin.
If you’re an avid coffee consumer, you’ve probably experience the dreaded side-effects of imbibing too much of the good stuff. You don’t have to quit coffee cold turkey, though; perish the thought!
Just take a look at this list of the best low acid coffee brands in 2020 and keep on chugging along.
Whether it’s just a flat out discomfort in your stomach or it feels like someone’s repeatedly stabbing your heart with jagged blade, it’s quite possible that coffee has contributed to that nightmarish circumstance.
It’s the acid.
One of the most-oft commented on aspects of your cuppa joe is making short work of meddling in your digestive system.
Whether it’s aggravating your acid reflux, causing heartburn, or any other mess of unpleasantness, there’s one culprit: the acid.
Let’s clarify something very quickly, though — coffee typically clocks in at a 5 on the pH scale. To put that in perspective, that’s less than soda or beer, which both clock in at a pH of 4.
If you just said, “hey, wait! That’s less-” I’d like to cut you off right there. The pH scale is a little backwards, at least in my opinion. Soapy water clocks in at a pH of 12, a pretty basic number, while battery acid is 0. Your natural stomach acid remains just above that, at a pH of 1.
When critics talk about “acidity,” though, they’re actually talking about flavor notes.
Coffee contains chlorogenic acids (antioxidants) which, as you probably know, are all the rage. But they also have little to do with what we’re talking about, actually. While antioxidants are in your morning brew, “acidity” is actually used more as an indicator of quality in the coffee world. Fruit grown at a high altitude and put through an exact roasting process would likely earn the word “acidity” in their review.
Many professionals have begun bending to social convention and using words like “bright” rather than “acidic,” mostly due to the misunderstanding of its use. The point here is that you shouldn’t automatically count out a type or brand of coffee because it has the word “acidity” slapped onto it.
Dark roast coffee is often perceived as being less acidic because of its flavor profile, but dark roast is actually higher in quinic acid, which can actually cause that sour stomach feeling.
There are better ways to evaluate the acid level of your morning cup (or 7), and they include where the beans are grown, how they’re roasted, and how you, yes, you, are brewing your coffee.
Depending on where a fruit is grown, it can yield beans with less acidity. You’ll want to scour labels for places such as the Sumatras, Mexico, Peru, and Guatemala. The soil there naturally yields beans with less of those gut-wrenching acids, so this is going to be one of your most valuable tools of trade when choosing your fresh bag.
That brings me to my next point: fresh coffee. The longer coffee sits, the more likely those acid levels are going to change. You can sincerely hope it’s for the better (less acidity) but you’d likely lose that battle. Unless you enjoy playing Russian Roulette with your personal comfort and health, it’s easiest to just grab a fresh bag whenever you need it.
You’ll also want to avoid any coffees that include robusto — these hardy beans are naturally high in acid and many coffee makers use them to add a strong flavor profile to their arabicas. Double check, make sure, scrutinize, whatever you have to do, but ensure that your coffee is 100% arabica 100% of the time.
Finally, and this is something within your control (which is always nice), you can reduce the pH balance by cold brewing your coffee. Don’t gripe. It’s easy. You can even get a low-cost cold brewer to start, so don’t worry about the price. It’s more low-maintenance than you think, too. You literally dump the coffee grounds in the pitcher along with some water 12 hours before you intend to drink it. Presto chango, you have low-acid coffee.
I know it’s a pain to look through all of the options and reviews and vet the company, so we've done it for you. You’re extra welcome!
Our top pick for low acid coffee is Lifeboost Coffee.
The secret behind this low acid bean? Nothing is added and nothing is taken away. It’s all about the region and the way these incredible beans are grown.
Lifeboost Coffee is slow grown and allowed to completely mature. Only the best of the best beans are hand picked and mountain spring water washed.
These Nicaraguan beans are fair trade, small batch roasted, pesticide free, specialty bean, USDA certified organic, certified Kosher, single origin (from a single farm), and shade grown at an elevation above 5700 ft and these beans are NON GMO.
What’s ironic? Most low acid beans are grown at low elevations, but these are grown a mile above sea level, which also keeps mold and mycotoxins from growing on the beans.
Shade grown coffee acquires complex, desirable flavors as the coffee cherry has time to properly mature. The fruit’s natural sugars burst through and add a rich flavor to the final product. Less than 2% of the world’s coffee is shade grown and Lifeboost is at the top of that 2%.
Lifeboost beans are sun dried to the perfect humidity of 11.5% to ensure there is no mold.
The flavor? Smooth. Very, very smooth with a nice chocolate - caramel flavor that is ultra low acid with no bitter aftertaste.
Take a peek at this…
We used pH testing strips to make sure that Lifeboost is legit. It comes out at a pH of 6! (Remember water is neutral at 7 on the pH scale.)
There is one negative, and unfortunately, it’s hard to avoid.
They are a bit pricey. But, high quality often comes with a price.
A portion of the proceeds do go to Rainforest Trust to help protect the wildlife and lands of the area. (They particularly focus on the birds, since being shadegrown protects thousands of species of birds and keeps them safe)
They are running a special right now for 30-40% off your first order. (You can buy multiple bags for a nice volume discount)
It’s in the name. Puroast achieves their low-acid coffees by their “pure roasting” process, which consists of slowly roasting the beans in a wood fire. They’re pretty old school about the whole thing, which, in this case, is good for your digestive tract.
They are, coolly enough, backed up by the University of California in their claims of having 7% more antioxidants than green tea and 70% less acid than other coffees. Two numbers which made me squint at them for several seconds — because what a parallel. There were hand sculpted and gifted to the Puroast marketing team by of UC Davis’ Dr. Shibamoto.
Just buy a bag. The story’s cool.
If you want as many ground up beans as possible per dollar, you probably won’t get much better value than the Simple Smooth line of coffees from Folgers. They’re specifically designed to be easy on your tummy so that the best part of wakin’ up can be Folgers in your cup — without getting burned later. Literally.
Highly rated and available in a number of forms, including in K-cups, Simply Smooth can help you cut your system some slack.
Though you do have to deal with your brain automatically singing the 'Best Part of Waking Up' jingle every morning. That’s your call, my friend.
Tres Hermanos has a patented process that they use to rid the beans of 80% of their acidity. They custom-make air roasters to ensure an even roast for every single little bean. They also pay a great wage to all of their workers, so there’s no bitterness in there from that!
This Brazilian-harvested java is roasted only in small batches and it’s non-GMO, which means you won’t be sipping up foreign metals of chemicals from fertilizer to go along with your mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
I can appreciate a brand that gives you a heads-up of all the benefits: on top of taking it easy on your stomach, the low-acid air-roasted beans of Republika are gentle on your tooth enamel. Coffee and teeth, I’m telling you.
Either way, this organic 100% arabica coffee is perfect for a sensitive tummy. It’s also a good candidate for your first pot of cold brew. Just think about it!
It’s non-GMO Rainforest Verified, and, like I’ve mentioned, organic and fairtrade. It’s the kind of coffee you’ll feel good purchasing and drinking.
This coffee has all of the buzzwords: it’s 100% arabica (ding), the beans are harvested from Indonesia and Brazil (ding, ding), and it’s small batch roasted by hand (ding, ding, ding!).
Lucy Jo's is totally family run and organic, not to mention that they pride themselves on providing the freshest (ding, ding, ding, ding) roasted coffee available.
They're also slowly expanding to a wider audience, which you can certainly be a part of by snagging a bag of this mellow belly brew. Lucy Jo's previously wasn't on our radar, but we recommend giving them a try!
I’m not throwing in my favorite yet by putting these two Lucy Jo’s one right after the other — they just cost the same.
In comparison, this batch is harvested from Sumatra, which is on our green-light-go list, and it’s a Certified Organic low acid coffee. This one’s a dark roast, so if you’re craving a cup of the black stuff, this could be your new best friend.
It’s all right on the label: 100% arabica and harvested from Central and South America. It’s medium roasted, too, which means they didn’t roast it to death. Three cheers for that.
What’s also on the label is that it’s mixed with matcha, as well as Rooibos Red Tea and Goji Berry powders. Before you cry “treason!,” let’s calmly talk this out.
Matcha is delicious and provides a longer amount of sustained energy after consumption. We drink coffee from energy, remember? The Rooibos is there to calm digestion, while the Goji Berry actually boasts anti-inflammatory properties, which is a large problem with stomach complaints.
Try it before you knock it!
Despite the fact that this company decided to try and cram everything they possibly could into that title, it does tell us what we need to know. Java Planet coffee is 100% USDA organic, arabica, low acid, harvested in Colombia, and it’s Fair Trade, which is always a good thing.
Like Lucy Jo’s, Java Planet is family-owned and roasted in small batches, once again to provide the freshness that helps keep acid levels constant. It is, however, a medium dark roast, and can be bitter because of the quinic acids. It’s generally well-received, though, so might as well take a shot!
If you’re pretty attached to your Keurig, trücup K-Cups these might be the best solution for you. They were made with people like you and I in mind — those of us with acid reflux, heartburn, or weak stomachs. Or those of us unlucky to suffer from all three.
This is all trücup does, too — cater to those of us who’re desperately clutching to our coffee consumption while making repeated trips to the loo. They’re a noble company, boasting a noble mission, and the pods are recyclable, too!
If K-Cups aren’t your thing, trücup does make bagged coffees. And if their bagged coffee is anything like the quality of the coffee in their K-Cups, you won't be disappointed.
Okay, okay. Don’t let the name (or the logo) deter you from trying these K-cups. They may look like they’re made for old geezers, but they come with some hefty ratings: like an FDA approval for their Techno roasting process.
HealthWise coffee uses a special processing technique that reduces the acids associated with causing heartburn. It’s also Kosher certified and produced in a nut-free building.
Which of these low acid coffee options should you try first?
Our vote is for the Lifeboost Coffee. These hand picked beans from the mountains of Nicaragua are fresh, flavorful, and test extremely well on the pH Scale. They're on the pricier end, but they're absolutely worth trying. (And what's wrong with splurging once in a while? If you're a serious coffee drinker, treat yourself to some serious coffee!)
Another great option is Tres Hermanos Fairtrade Low-Acid Coffee. It's a good choice that falls neatly in the middle of the price range while having everything you need to enjoy a cuppa without those unpleasant side effects.
If you're feeling a bit adventurous, try out Tieman’s Fusion Coffee (even if the coffee purists may criticize your sense of adventure!).
Any option you choose from our list of the best low-acid coffee brands in 2020 is worth trying, so pick your favorite packaging, toss it in the cart, and let us know your thoughts!