Is Espresso Less Acidic than Coffee?

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Johny Morrisson


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♡ Written by Humans for Humans

In the world of caffeinated beverages, the acidity level can be a decisive factor for many coffee enthusiasts. One common debate revolves around espresso and its acidity compared to regular coffee.

Let’s cut out the chase: Espresso is less acidic than regular Black coffee

Now, I know what you’re thinking – isn’t espresso just a concentrated shot of coffee? And if coffee is already acidic, wouldn’t espresso be even more acidic? 

The Reality is Espresso is less acidic than coffee as it is made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans at high pressure, for a very short period of time. This rapid extraction method minimizes acid release from the beans, yielding a concentrated yet smooth shot of coffee.

Is espresso less acidic than coffee

The Acidity of Espresso

Espresso is known for its rich, strong flavor and its unique, bold taste. When it comes to acidity, it can depend on a variety of factors.

1. Bean Type or Origin: The bean’s origin heavily influences acidity. For instance, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans often boast citrusy, tangy notes, while Indonesian beans tend to be less acidic, with a smoky profile.

2. Processing Methods: Natural or dry-processed beans tend to have lower acidity, while washed or wet-processed beans exhibit a brighter, and more acidic profile.

3. Roast Level: The Roast level of beans also impacts acidity; lighter roasts preserve more of the bean’s inherent acidity, while a darker roast showcases richer, caramelized flavors with less acidity.

Overall, the acidity in espresso contributes to its depth and complexity, adding layers to its taste profile without overpowering the palate.

Espresso

Read Amazing health benefits of Espresso

Why is Espresso less acidic than other Coffee Methods

The pH level of coffee drinks might vary based on the drink and how it’s prepared. Coffee is often regarded as mildly acidic, with a pH level ranging from 4.5 to 5.5.

“Most coffee varieties are acidic, with an average pH value of 4.85 to 5.10”

Healthline

The pH level of the espresso is around 5.5 to 6 which is slightly higher than that of other Pour Over or Drip Brewing Methods which is around 4.8 to 5.2 because of the following factors.

  • Fast extraction: The short 25-30 second brewing process minimizes the extraction of acidic compounds from the coffee grounds, leading to reduced overall acidity.
  • Less water contact: The coffee ratio is very high in espresso, typically around 1:2, compared to the standard coffee ratio of 1:17. This reduced contact with water leads to very little extraction of acidic compounds.
  • Espresso Roasts: Espresso is generally prepared with Dark roasts and Darker roasts tend to be less acidic due to the extended roasting process that breaks down the organic acids present in the beans.

Note: pH is a scale from 1-14 for measuring the acidity or alkalinity of the substances. The higher the pH the higher the alkalinity the lower the pH the higher the acidity.

Can Espresso cause Acid Reflux?

A lot of people assume dark roasts or espresso will be easier on heartburn because they’re less acidic, right? Not so fast.

First off, coffee’s acidity and stomach acid that causes reflux are different things. Coffee acidity refers to flavor while stomach acid is the nasty stuff that burns your throat.

Second, even though espresso is less acidic tasting, it’s still acidic enough to irritate the stomach lining and sphincter muscle in some folks.

So the short answer is yes, espresso can definitely cause acid reflux, especially for frequent heartburn sufferers. That said, everyone has a different tolerance level for coffee.

At least I have never faced acid reflux no matter how much coffee I drink.

Caffeine — a major component of many varieties of both coffee and tea — has been identified as a possible trigger for heartburn in some people. 

Healthine

However, Espresso is generally easier on the stomach compared to regular Drip or Pour Over coffee.

3 Tips to Reduce Acidity in Espresso

I don’t know about you, but, I don’t like acidic or sour Espresso. Instead, I like a fully balanced nice, and sweet shot of Espresso.

For that reason, I am going to list 3 tips to lower the acidity in your Espresso shot

Use the Right Coffee Beans

Opt for beans from regions like Brazil or Sumatra known for producing low-acid coffee.

Always choose dried processed beans as they retain less acidic compounds than wet-processed beans. It is usually written on the package.

Additionally, darker roasts and some special slow-roasted beans have less acidity due to prolonged exposure to heat during the process.

Switching to decaf beans is also an option if you are suffering from extreme heartburn or acid reflux.

If you are using light-roasted coffee beans you will get a sour and acidic drink no matter how you brew.

Here’s the list of my favorite beans for Espresso

Use the Right Grind Size

If you are already using dark roasted beans and still facing the issue of an overly acidic shot you may be using too fine grind size.

In that case, try adjusting the grind size to a little coarser side.

Avoid Hard Water

Using hard water to prepare your espresso also leads to a greater acidity level. Hard water is heavy in minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can make your espresso taste sour and acidic. Instead, use filtered or soft water.

Also read a guide on reducing bitterness in Espresso

Final Thoughts

Whelp, I’ve gone deep on this whole espresso vs coffee acidity debate. It’s clear espresso wins when it comes to a low-acid flavor.

At the end of the day, the choice between espresso and coffee comes down to personal taste preferences. Do you like a bright, acidic kick or something more mellow?

Check out related Espresso Guides:

When Should You Not Drink Espresso?

I’d say the two times you’ll definitely want to avoid espresso are right before bed and on an empty stomach. Espresso’s high caffeine content can disrupt your sleep if enjoyed late in the day. And the acidic coffee may irritate your stomach lining if you haven’t eaten anything.

What is the least acidic coffee brewing method?

Cold Brew is the least Acidic Coffee brewing method. It’s brewed with cold water, which reduces the extraction of acidic compounds. The slow steeping process results in a smooth yet robust flavor profile, making it a perfect option for those seeking a gentler, less acidic coffee experience.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About, bringing passion and expertise to the world of coffee.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.