Instant coffee allows coffee lovers to have easy access to a tasty cup of joe anytime even without a coffee maker. However, there is a growing concern regarding its acidity level especially among people with sensitive stomachs or who have acid reflux. In this article, let us get to know if instant coffee is still a good option for coffee drinkers with health concerns.
Is instant coffee less acidic than brewed?
It depends. The acidity of instant coffee will rely on the type of coffee beans used as well as the roasting method. Arabica and Robusta are the main types of coffee beans that are usually used for instant coffee.
Arabica makes up around 60% of the coffee production globally. It is superior to Robusta because of the rich flavor and low acidity. It contains more sugar compared to Robusta but less of the caffeine level.
Additionally, dark roasted coffee beans tend to retain less acid compared to light roasts. Compounds that block acid production are developed due to the extra roasting time according to the American Chemical Society.
Coffee beans that are grown at lower altitudes such as in certain parts of Brazil also tend to be less acidic compared to coffee beans grown at higher elevations. The size of grind also determines acidity. Opt for coarsely ground coffee since it has less acidity compared to finely ground coffee. This applies not only to instant but to brewed coffee as well.
What is instant coffee?
Instant coffee is a coffee type made from dried coffee extract. Just like how regular coffee is brewed, the dried coffee extract is made by brewing ground coffee beans but to a more concentrated extent. Once it is brewed, the water is removed from the extract to produce dry fragments or powder which dissolve when water is added into them.
Two methods to make instant coffee include the following:
1. By spray-drying.
The coffee extract is sprayed into hot air that quickly dries the droplets and turns them into small pieces or fine powder.
2. By freeze-drying.
The coffee extract is frozen and cut into small fragments and then dried at a low temperature under vacuum conditions.
Both of these methods maintain the aroma, quality and flavor of the coffee. To prepare instant coffee, you simply add one teaspoon of the coffee powder to a cup of hot water.
What are the benefits of instant coffee?
These are the benefits of instant coffee:
1. It contains nutrients and antioxidants.
Some studies state that instant coffee may contain higher amounts of certain antioxidants because of the way that it is processed. Also, a regular cup of instant coffee tends to contain seven calories only and certain amounts of nutrients like magnesium, potassium and Niacin.
2. It has slightly less caffeine.
Instant coffee has slightly less caffeine compared to regular coffee. A cup of instant coffee with one teaspoon of powder contains 30 to 90 mg of caffeine compared to a cup of regular coffee that has 70 to 140 mg of caffeine. It is also available in decaf which has very little caffeine.
Other health benefits of instant coffee include the following:
- It decreases the risk of diabetes.
- It enhances brain function.
- It boosts metabolism.
- It improves mental health.
- It could help you live longer.
A downside concerning instant coffee is that it contains acrylamide, a chemical that forms as a result of a chemical reaction between sugars, heat and amino acids. It has been linked to cancer in certain experiments and has been found in some food, household items, personal care products and even smoke. Brewed coffee also contains this chemical. However, it has yet to be linked to cancer in humans.
Recommended low acid instant coffee brands
Here is our list of recommended low acid instant coffee brands:
- HealthWise 100% Colombian Supremo, Low Acid Ground Coffee
- Puroast Low Acid Ground Coffee, Organic French Roast
- Java Planet, Organic Coffee Beans, Colombian Single Origin, Low Acid, Gourmet Medium Dark Roast of Arabica Whole Bean Coffee
Instant coffee is a popular option for most people because it is convenient, easy to prepare and does not need a coffee maker at all. However, some are anxious to consume it because of health concerns such as acid reflux and heartburn. The acidity of instant coffee will depend largely on the type of coffee beans and the roasting method that was utilized.
Arabica coffee beans and dark roasts tend to have low acidity. Nevertheless, coarsely ground coffee also tends to be less acidic as well as coffee beans that are planted in lower altitudes.