Is Decaf Coffee Acidic?

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Written By Anh Dung Pham

Decaf coffee has become increasingly popular among coffee drinkers as an alternative to regular caffeinated coffee. Many individuals opt for decaf due to its perceived benefits, such as reduced caffeine content and the potential to minimize caffeine-related side effects like jitters or insomnia.

However, an important question arises: Is decaf coffee acidic? The acidulousness of coffee has been a longstanding concern for individuals with those prone to gastrointestinal issues.

I would like to introduce myself a little, I am Pham Anh Dung, a barista with more than 15 years of experience in the field of coffee preparation, and in this article, In this article, I will explore the acidity levels of the process of decaffeinated coffee and whether it can potentially trigger stomach discomfort.

Additionally, I will delve into differences among various types of decaf, including café grumpystomach, coffee cause, coffee pods, organic coffee, and Vitacup. Join me as unravel the mysteries behind decaf coffee’s acidic content and its potential impact on digestive systems.

Is Decaf Coffee Acidic?

Yes, decaf coffee can still be acidic. The acidulousness of coffee is primarily determined by its chemical composition and the roasting process, rather than its caffeine content. Decaffeinated coffee is made by removing caffeine from regular coffee beans, but it doesn’t necessarily eliminate the acidic compounds present in the coffee.

Is Decaf Coffee Acidic?

As someone with acid reflux who loves coffee, I used to wonder if switching to decaf would reduce my discomfort. After researching, I found that while decaf retains some natural acidulousness, the decaffeination process substantially lowers by about 97%.

By choosing low-acid beans and cold preparation methods, I can enjoy flavorful decaf coffee that is much gentler on my sensitive stomach. The right beans and preparation can provide a smooth, tasty cup of decaf that works for coffee lovers with reflux like me.

What does it mean? Acid vs acidity

Coffee contains acids that give it its bright, vibrant flavors. The acidity level refers to the pH of the coffee, which measures how acidic or alkaline it is. Acidulousness is just one component of the overall flavor profile.

When talking about acid vs acidulousness in coffee, we are referring to the level of acidulousness present in the beverage. Coffee with lower levels is often desired by those with sensitive stomachs, such as cafe grumpystomach. However, it is important to note that even decaf coffee may still contain some level of acidulousness due to compounds like quinic.

Where does coffee acidity come from?

The acids in coffee come from compounds like chlorogenic acids, citric acid, and malic acid. These types are antioxidants found in green coffee beans. As the beans are being roasted, the acidulousness levels diminish.

When you drink coffee, the acidulousness in the beans is activated by the preparation process. Roasting coffee also affects its acidulousness levels, with darker roasts generally being more acidic.

Additionally, cold coffee is less than regular coffee due to the longer steeping time. Therefore, individuals looking for a low-acidic option can opt for decaf or cold coffee, or try a darker roast coffee to potentially remove.

The Disadvantages of Acidic Coffee

Acids vs Your Teeth

The acids in coffee can erode tooth enamel over time. Coffee has a pH of around 4.7, making it moderately acidic. The lower the pH, the more damaging it can be to teeth.

The Disadvantages of Acidic Coffee

Acids & Your Stomach

Coffee is high content and can aggravate conditions like symptoms of reflux and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). The acid may relax the esophageal sphincter, allowing stomach acid to rise up. This causes the burning feeling of heartburn.

Benefits of Decaf coffee for health

While regular coffee is acidic, decaf coffee is less so. The decaffeination process removes the caffeine but leaves behind the antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. This coffee has been linked to reduced blood pressure, lower risk of diabetes and cancer, and more.

Benefits of Decaf coffee for health

Nighttime decaf coffee effects are another consideration around acidity. Some people experience discomfort drinking coffee close to bedtime, as the residual acids and caffeine can disrupt sleep.

This coffee offers several health benefits over regular caffeinated coffee. First, since this coffee has less caffeine, it can help reduce the potential negative effects associated with caffeine consumption, such as anxiety and sleep disruption. 

Moreover, the absence of decaf cold brew is one of the best options for low-acid coffee, making it gentler on the stomach for those who are sensitive to the acidulousness of regular coffee.

Best low-acid coffees

Which coffee has a low level of acidity? The top-quality items are available for purchase. Some coffees are naturally less acidic than others. Seeking out low-acid coffee is the best option for people sensitives.

Decaf that goes through a mountain water process is best for low acidulousness The mountain water process is chemical-free. It removes caffeine using water and activated charcoal, helping preserve the coffee’s original flavor and acidulousness level.

Tanzania Peaberry Mbili Twiga

Feature Roast: Tanzania Peaberry Mbili Twiga

Tasting Profile

A smooth coffee with notes of dark chocolate, honey, and lemon. Medium-bodied with a syrupy mouthfeel.

Why I love it

This single-origin, mountain water decaf is low and easy. It retains the complex flavors of the beans.

I recommend

For coffee lovers with GERD or other stomach acid issues, Tanzania Peaberry Mbili Twiga is a delicious, low-acid option.

Methods of decaffeination

There are various methods used for decaffeination of coffee beans. One method involves roasting the beans to reduce their caffeine content. Another method is the use of chemicals, such as methylene chloride or ethyl acetate, to extract the caffeine.

Some decaf coffee is made from single-origin beans, which means they come from a specific region or farm. Additionally, the pH scale of water can also be used to remove caffeine from the beans.

However, it is important to note that the original moisture content of the beans might affect the decaffeination process. Ultimately, it is a personal choice to consume decaf, as some individuals may still experience discomfort due to the residual trace amounts of caffeine. 

There are two main methods used to decaffeinate coffee beans: solvent-based and water-based.

Solvent-Based Decaffeination Methods

Methyl Chloride

Methyl chloride is an organic solvent used to remove caffeine from beans. It effectively draws out caffeine while preserving taste. However, trace amounts may remain.

Ethyl Acetate

Another chemical solvent is used to decaffeinate beans. It occurs naturally in fruits and is generally recognized as safe by the FDA. Like other solvents, trace amounts may linger.

Water-Based Decaffeination Methods

Swiss Water Processed

Beans are soaked in hot water to extract caffeine and flavor compounds. The solution is passed through a charcoal filter, removing just the caffeine. The beans are then re-infused with the flavorful liquid.

Mountain Water Processed

Similar to the Swiss water process but uses mountain-sourced water. The water’s natural minerals extract more caffeine while preserving flavor. This chemical-free method results in very low acidity.

Comparison: Acid Levels in Caffeinated vs. Decaf Coffee

Multiple studies have analyzed and compared the acidulousness levels between regular and decaf coffee. They found that decaf has significantly lower acidity due to the decaffeination process. The acid content is reduced by 97% on average.

Comparison: acid levels in caffeinated vs. decaf coffee

 When comparing the levels of caffeinated and decaffeinated, there is a noticeable difference. Coffee without the decaf process tends to be coffee more acidic, while decaf coffee has less acid due to the process used to remove it.

For those who enjoy coffee but are sensitive to high acidulousness levels, decaf can be a good alternative. The difference in acidity also affects the overall taste of the coffee, making it a factor to consider for regular coffee consumption. Additionally, decaf beans also have less caffeine content compared to their roasted counterparts. 


While all coffee is naturally acidic, the process of removing caffeine also reduces acidity substantially. Seeking out low-acid beans and preparing them properly can further minimize acidity issues. For those with reflux or stomach sensitivity, decaf coffee is less likely to cause discomfort.


Decaf has virtually no caffeine. Swiss water process or mountain water process decaf tends to be lowest in acid. Beans from Africa or Indonesia also tend to be less acidic.

There is no such thing as entirely acid-free coffee. However, the content in decaf is extremely low, up to 97% less than regular. This makes it much easier.

Yes, the brewing method impacts. Cold brewing is 70% less acidic since the grounds never come in contact with hot water. More dark roasts are less acidic too.

Decaf is generally considered safe for reflux, especially Swiss water processed or mountain water processed decaf. The reduced acidity is less likely to relax the esophageal sphincter and trigger reflux.

Low-acid in beans of coffee plus cold brewing is the best combination for acid reflux. Seek out dark-roasted, coffee is water-processed decaf from beans originating in Africa or Indonesia. Cold brew this coffee to maximize the low acid content.

Visit to learn more about my passion and extensive experience with coffee.