Coffee and Acidity

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

Among the countless compounds in this beverage, the brewing process releases nine major acids that contribute to its unique flavor profile.

Here are the nine major acids in coffee, listed from highest concentration to lowest: chlorogenic, quinic, citric, acetic, lactic, malic, phosphoric, linoleic, and palmitic.

Variations in acidity

When it comes to the acidity of coffee, several factors can play a role:


One main aspect that determines the acidity of coffee is how it’s roasted. Both roasting duration and temperature have been correlated with acidity.

One study showed that the longer and hotter coffee beans were roasted, the lower their chlorogenic acid levels.

This suggests that lighter roasts tend to be higher in acidity, while darker roasts are lower.


Another factor that affects acidity is the brewing method.

One study found that cold-brewed coffee was significantly lower in acidity than hot coffee.

Brewing time also appears to affect overall acidity, with a shorter duration resulting in a more acidic beverage and a moderate duration resulting in a less acidic one.

Ground Size

The size of the coffee grounds can also affect acidity. The smaller the ground, the greater the surface area exposed relative to volume, which can lead to more acid being extracted in the brewing process.

Therefore, using a finer grind may result in a more acidic cup of coffee.

Ways to reduce acidity

The acidity of coffee may be limiting for some. Here are a few ways to reduce it: 

  • Choose dark over light roasts.
  • Drink cold brew instead of hot.
  • Increase brew time, such as by using a French press.
  • Opt for a coarser grind.
  • Brew at a lower temperature.

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