Coffee and why we love it are heavily influenced by the 22 different acids it contains. Of course, coffee is much more than just acids. Still, for some people, drinking coffee can cause heartburn or reflux. This is mainly due to the acidity of the coffee, which might make it necessary to search for a less acidic coffee.
If you drink instant coffee, you probably ask yourself the following question. Is instant coffee less acidic? No, instant coffee has a similar level of acidity as regular coffee. The level of acidity in instant coffee is determined by various factors such as origin, variety of coffee beans, roasting level, grind size, and the brewing process.
The easiest method to get a less acidic instant coffee is choosing a 100% Arabica product. So you might want to skip instant coffees made from Robusta beans.
Acids In Instant Coffee
As mentioned earlier, coffee gets its flavor and stimulating effect from the acids contained in coffee. According to a German study on the individual acids in coffee, the following types of coffee acids are present in your cup of Java.
Here are the percentages of 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%
These are the primary acids in instant coffee that contribute to the acidity of your cup of coffee; as mentioned, there are 22 different acids in total.
The chlorogenic acid in coffee is the one that breaks down into quinic acid and caffeic acid. Caffeic acid gives coffee its strength, while quinic acid is responsible for its astringency and bitter taste.
The darker the roast, the more quinic acid is present in this coffee. On the pH scale, Java has a pH of 4.9 to 5.1. If you compare this pH to other things we consume regularly, you will find that coffee is less acidic than most. For example, fruit juices and soft drinks are more acidic than instant coffee.
What Makes Instant Coffee Acidic?
Several factors determine the acidity of instant coffee, as explained below.
Arabica and Robusta coffee beans make up most of the coffee bean market. Arabica beans are known for their high quality. They are more expensive and hold 60% of the market share.
They have a rich flavor and lower acidity.
Robusta beans are affordable, so most instant coffee brands use mostly Robusta beans. They are also sharper in taste and smell. Robusta beans have a higher acid content than Arabica beans. In addition, their caffeine content is twice as high.
So, if you are looking for an instant coffee with low acidity, you should go for one made from Arabica beans.
Type of Roast
Roasting plays an essential role in adding acidity to instant coffee. The coffee beans used for making your instant coffee, when lightly roasted, have a higher acidity. The longer the coffee is roasted, the lower the acidity.
In addition to the type of roast, the temperature held during the process and the duration also contribute to acidity.
Light roasts can be too acidic, while darker roasts can taste bitter or sour, depending on the beans used. For balance, you can opt for a medium roast coffee.
Place of Origin
Coffee grown at higher elevations has higher acidity than coffee grown at lower elevations.
Coffee from Africa, especially Ethiopia and Kenya, has higher acidity than coffee from Asia, where it is grown in different soil and at lower elevations. Instant coffee that comes from a low-altitude area may have lower acidity.
Another factor is the grind of the coffee beans from which the raw material for instant coffee is obtained.
If the grind is too small, more acids can be extracted from the coffee grounds, increasing the acidity of the coffee.
You can expect less acidity if you make your instant coffee by dehydrating the coarse ground concentrate.
Instant coffee is made by dehydrating regular coffee. The brewing method of this usual coffee affects its acidity.
The recommended brewing method to reduce the acidity of the coffee is the cold brew method. When instant coffee is prepared this way, you can expect it to contain less acidic components.
You can also reduce the acidity by brewing the coffee longer.
Reducing The Acidity Of Instant Coffee
You might have one burning question at this point: How to make instant coffee less acidic?
Fortunately, there are many ways to neutralize the acidity of instant coffee. So let’s review them one by one:
100% Arabica Instant Coffee
Arabica beans are an (a tasty albeit more expensive!) alternative to Robusta beans because they are less acidic.
So, instant coffee made from Arabica beans is naturally lower in acidity. In addition to this advantage, you also get a better taste worth the extra money you pay.
Arabica coffee also has lower caffeine content. If you appreciate a higher caffeine content, you might need to consider the trade-off between caffeine and acidity.
You can neutralize the acidity of your coffee and make it less acidic by adding additives like oat milk.
Oat milk, almond milk, and other vegan milk are great for neutralizing the acidity of your coffee. The best part is that this milk has a smooth and slightly sweet taste and can balance the tasting profile of even the strongest espresso drinks.
Adding baking soda to instant coffee can reduce its acidity. Baking soda is an effective anti-acid agent against acids. Its addition can make the beverage softer and easier to drink.
A small side effect of this is that it might burp, as mixing baking soda with water releases carbon dioxide. Baking soda will give you a carbonated coffee.
Bottom Line: Is Instant Coffee Less Acidic?
There you have it! Instant coffee is similarly acidic to regular coffee, and some people will love this. Others might have to try different instant coffee.
If you want to avoid acidic instant coffee drinks, we recommend using 100% Arabica products only. There are many other tricks and tips that might help, such as adjusting the grind size or adding a splash of milk to neutralize acidity in your cup of Joe.
Featured Image credit: Sigmund, Unsplash