Coffee is what it is because of the acids present in them. For some people, drinking coffee can cause acid reflux or heartburn. This is mainly because of the acid content in the coffee and it forces you to set out the search for a less acidic coffee. If you’re a consumer of instant coffee, then you’re sure to ask the following question.
Is instant coffee less acidic? No, instant coffee is just as acidic as regular brewed coffee. The acidity of instant coffee is determined by factors like the type of coffee bean, roasting process, and place of origin among other factors. The simplest way to get less acidic instant coffee is to switch to an instant coffee made from Arabica coffee beans.
Acids Present in Instant Coffee
As we already mentioned, coffee gets its flavor and stimulating capability because of the acids present in them.
According to this study of acids in coffee, we can find the following coffee acid types with their percentage contribution to acidity in instant coffee.
- Citric acid – 10.7%
- Acetic acid – 8.8%
- Quinic acid – 5.9%
- Phosphoric acid – 5.2%
- Chlorogenic acid – 4.8%
- Formic acid – 4.6%
- Malic acid – 3%
- Pyrrolidonecarboxylic acid – 1.9%
- High molecular weight acids – 9%
These are the major acids present in instant coffee that contribute to the acidity of your cup of coffee.
Chlorogenic acid in coffee is what is broken down into Quinic and Caffeic acid. Caffeic acid gives the punch you get from coffee while quinic acid is responsible for the astringency and the bitter taste.
The darker the roast, the more amount of quinic acid you’ll find in that coffee.
On the pH scale, coffee has a pH value of 4.85 to 5.10 as discussed in the post titled Apple cider vinegar in coffee.
When you compare this pH value with other things we regularly consume, you will find that coffee is less acidic than most. For example, orange juice, soda, and beer are more acidic than instant coffee.
5 Factors That Lead To Instant Coffee’s Acidity
Instant coffee’s acidity is determined by several factors as discussed below.
Arabica and Robusta coffee beans comprise the majority stake in the coffee bean market.
Arabica beans are well-known for the superior quality. They are more expensive and take 60% of the market share.
Their flavor is rich and they come with lower acidity levels.
Robusta coffee beans, on the other hand, are affordable so you will find most instant coffee brands predominantly using Robusta beans. They are also harsher in taste and flavor.
Robusta beans are more acidic when compared to Arabica coffee beans. The caffeine content is also twice as much.
So if you’re looking for an instant coffee with low acidity levels, get one that is made from Arabica beans.
Place of Origin
Coffee that is grown in higher altitudes will be more acidic than the ones grown in lower altitudes.
Coffee from Ethiopia, Kenya, Brazil, and Peru will have more acidity in them when compared to the coffee from Sumatra where coffee cultivation happens at a low elevation.
Instant coffee that comes with a low elevation area can assure you less acidity. Picking your coffee based on location might increase the cost of your coffee though.
Roasting plays a big role in imparting acidity to your instant coffee.
The coffee beans, used for your instant coffee, when roasted lightly will have more acidity. The longer you roast your coffee, the lower will be its acidity level.
In addition to the type of roasting, the temperature maintained during the process and the duration of the process also contributes to the acidity.
The light roast can be too acidic but darker roast coffee can be bitter or sour to taste depending on the beans used. To strike balance, you can go for medium roast coffee.
We know that instant coffee is made by dehydrating regular coffee. The method of making this regular coffee will affect the acidity in it.
The best brewing method to reduce the acidity in your coffee is the cold brew method. If your instant coffee is made this way, you can expect it to have fewer acidic elements in it.
You can also reduce acidity by brewing your coffee for longer periods.
The grind size of the coffee grounds used to make the raw material for instant coffee is another factor.
When the ground size is small (fine), you can extract more acids from the grounds which can increase the acidity in your resulting coffee.
If you make your instant coffee by dehydrating coarse ground concentrate, then you can expect it to have less acidity.
How To Reduce To Acidity of Instant Coffee?
How to make instant coffee less acidic is a question we hear a lot.
Neutralizing the acidity of your instant coffee can be done in a few ways.
Adding baking soda to your instant coffee can bring down its acidity levels.
Baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) is an antacid that is effective in working against acids. Its addition can smoothen the drink and make it easier for you.
One small side effect of this trick is that you will get burps as mixing baking soda with water releases carbon dioxide. With baking soda, you do get carbonated coffee.
Adding salt to coffee is a great way to combat the bitterness in it.
Once you take care of the bitterness, you will also handle the acidity in your cup of joe.
Putting salt in your coffee will also give a better flavor and several other benefits.
Arabica Beans Instant Coffee
Arabica beans are a better alternative to Robusta beans for their less acidic nature.
So instant coffee made from Arabica beans will naturally have lower acidity levels in them. In addition to this benefit, you will also get a better taste which is worth the extra money you will be paying.
Arabica coffee will have less caffeine content as well. So if caffeine is important to you, you will have to make a call here.
Add Alkaline Additives
You can fight the acidity in your coffee and make it low acid coffee by adding alkaline additives like almond milk.
Almond milk and other nut-based or legume-based milk are great for neutralizing the acid content in your coffee. You will also feel lighter as it comes with fewer calories.
Is Instant Coffee Less Acidic Than Regular Coffee? – Wrap Up
We’ve reached the climax of this topic.
If you had read this completely, you would know by now that instant coffee has the same acidity as regular brewed coffee. The acidity in your coffee is based on other factors like coffee beans, place of origin, and others.
Choose Arabica bean instant coffee if you’re looking for a low acid coffee. This is the easiest way to achieve that without micro-controlling the other aspects which, most of them, you can’t.
You can also add some alkaline additives to neutralize the acids in your instant coffee.