Does Cold Brew Coffee Have Less Acid?

Does Cold Brew Coffee Have Less Acid?

The smell of freshly brewed coffee never fails to wake up the senses and provides focus and energy. However,  it is hard to appreciate it when it is sweltering outside because it is the middle of summer! Thankfully, there is cold brew coffee so you can still enjoy your caffeine fix despite the rising temperature. Is cold brew coffee ideal for people with acid reflux and sensitive tummies? Read on and let try to get into the heart of the matter. 

Does cold brew coffee have less acid?

Cold-brew seems to have less acid compared to hot brew but only slightly. According to a scientific report published in 2018,  the pH values of both hot and cold brew coffee samples are said to be comparable between the range of 4.85 to 5.13. While cold brew is widely marketed as a less acidic option, there does not seem to be enough evidence to solidify this claim.

On the pH scale of zero to 14, the pH of seven is neutral, less than seven are acidic while greater than seven are alkaline or basic. 

In one particular study on the acidity and antioxidant activity of hot and cold brew coffee, it was found out that cold water coffee did not result in a lower acidity level. The scientists who did the study used a similar coffee-to-water ratio for the hot and cold brewing methods. 

Another scientific report by the same scientists states that both hot and cold brew coffee has comparable 3-chlorogenic acid concentrations. These acids contribute to the flavor and aroma of coffee and are responsible for potential antioxidant effects and protection against diabetic cataracts.

Based on the aforementioned studies, cold brew coffee may not be a preferable alternative for you if you have heartburn or acid reflux. Needless to say, there is anecdotal evidence of certain people who felt better when they started drinking cold brew instead of hot brew coffee. This could be attributed to the crude polysaccharides in the cold brew which may decrease the bad effects of acidity in coffee.

People also tend to react differently to beverages and the same may also apply when it comes to cold brew coffee. It affects people differently and what may feel acidic to some may not bother other people at all.  What is often observed with cold brew coffee is that it results in a rich cup with enhanced natural sweetness while the bitterness and acidity are considerably decreased compared to hot brew coffee. 

Also, oxidation and coffee molecule degradation slows down when coffee is brewed with cold water. It will not go bad quickly if it sits out and it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

What makes coffee acidic?

According to coffee experts, the acidity and pH level of coffee depends on factors such as the soil where the coffee plant is grown as well as the elevation of the land or height at which it is grown. Some coffee plants are grown in volcanic soil that is acidic which can also increase the acidity of the plant. Coffee grown in higher altitudes tends to be more acidic since it produces harder beans with concentrated qualities.

The coffee beans contain various acids like chlorogenic acids or CGA’s, the main acids responsible for the acidic taste of coffee. They also contain the same acids in citrus fruits owing to the fruity undertones of coffee. The more pronounced acids will depend on the roasting process and how long the beans were roasted or heated.  As a general rule, darker roast beans are less acidic. 

If coffee beans are exposed to heat, they can also make coffee more acidic since heat could release the oils and acidic compounds. Not brewing coffee long enough also makes it more acidic. Brewing releases the sugars, giving coffee a sweeter taste. The longer coffee is brewed, the more sugars are released resulting in better-tasting coffee. 

If coffee is not brewed long enough, sugars are not fully extracted from the beans which makes coffee acidic. You should also be careful not to brew coffee for too long as it may taste sour. 

What is cold brew?

The cold brewing method is also called Toddy brewing, culled from the name Todd Simpson, the person who claimed to have brought back the cold brew process to the USA. He claims to have first tasted it in Peru in 1964. 

This method combines ground coffee and cold water, using time instead of heat to extract the flavor. It is brewed in small batches and steeped for up to 48 hours.  The result is a cold brew concentrate that is used to make cold brew iced coffee beverage which is best served unsweetened.  

Benefits of cold brew coffee 

These are the benefits of cold brew coffee:

  • It could boost your metabolism.
  • It can lift your moods. 
  • It can lower the risk of heart disease.
  • It can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. 
  • It can help you live longer. 
  • It is easier on the stomach compared to hot coffee


Cold brew coffee is a refreshing way to enjoy coffee, especially on hot summer days. It does not go bad easily since oxidation is slowed down when coffee is brewed with cold water. It also seems to be less acidic compared to hot brew but only slightly as cited by several studies. However, while there seems to be a slight difference, certain people with a sensitive stomach claim to feel better when they switch to cold brew coffee. This could be attributed to the crude polysaccharides in cold brew coffee that decrease the bad effects of acidity in coffee. 

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