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Sensitive Stomach? Here are the Best Low Acid Coffee Beans

If you want bold and round flavors from your coffee, combined with a low amount of acid, then there are certain countries and types of blends you should avoid. Get my best tips right here.

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Asser Christensen

Licensed Q Arabica Grader, M.A. Journalism
Acidity is a tricky element of coffee. Most people vehemently dislike it. This is often just a matter taste, but it can also be due to a sensitive stomach.

However, if you ask true coffee snobs, they are usually very fond of acidity.

Personally, I think a sparkling acidity adds character to the cup, but if that’s not your style I don’t hold any grudges.

In this article, I’ll explain exactly what you should be looking for if you want to find the best low acid coffee beans.

Is coffee acidic?

Coffee, in general, is an acidic beverage with a pH level of around 5. However, soda and orange scores around pH 3, so comparatively it’s not that acidic.

Green coffee beans contain acids from nature’s side. The most desirable ones are citric and malic acids. These compounds make coffee taste like lime and apples as well as a whole range of stone fruits and berries.

But coffee beans also contain something known as chlorogenic acid, which isn’t known to be tasty. It has a flavor and mouthfeel, which can be described as ‘unripe banana’. As you can imagine, that’s not very pleasant.

When coffee is roasted, all the acids gradually disappear.

A good rule of thumb is that darker roasted coffee beans are less acidic. Vice versa, lighter roasts are often extremely acidic.

Countries with low acid coffee beans?

How the bean has been grown also plays a role. Usually, beans that are grown at high altitudes have more fruit flavor — and they will also have more acidity, since this is part of the fruitiness.

Many specialty coffee roasters will specifically buy high-altitude coffee and roast it rather light to preserve these flavors. So contrary to what you might think, it can be a good idea to avoid expensive, small-batch roasters if you dislike sourness and acidity.

On the other hand, some countries grow a lot of low altitude coffee that will have milder flavors such as hazelnut/chocolate. Or more earthy and woody flavors.

Pro-tip: Avoid coffee from Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Guatemala as it’s almost always light roasted and very fruity.

Counter Culture Big Trouble

Counter Culture Coffee - Whole...

This is a seasonal blend, most often sourced from a small cooperative in Nicaragua. It offers low acidity and delicious notes of caramel, nuts, and chocolate. This coffee is very clean, sweet and smooth.

Reviewers claim that this coffee is excellent for pour over coffee or any kind of immersion brewing.

Counter Culture is a well-known and respected coffee roaster. They promise that the coffee is always freshly roasted and that the beans are from a new harvest.

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El Diablo Dark Roast

Intelligentsia, El Diablo -...

Intelligentsia is one of the founding fathers of the American artisan coffee movement. When buying from this brand you can be sure that the beans are ethically sourced and from reputable farmers.

This coffee is a rather dark roast, and it’s among the most well-regarded blends from Intelligentsia.

The notes are of chocolate, caramel, and molasses. Many customers on Amazon recommend this one mainly for the customers with sensitive stomachs, who want something round and balanced.

Pro-tip: Make sure that you pick Intelligentsia as the vendor when you add the beans to your cart. That way you’re guaranteed the freshest roast possible.
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Koffee Kult Dark Roast

Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark...

This is probably one of the most popular low acid coffee brands on Amazon with more than 2000 reviews and consistent top ratings.

It’s a dark roast but not entirely French or Italian style, as the beans aren’t oily and shiny. Still, this is fully developed in the roaster, meaning that the body and caramelized sugars are brought to the forefront, while the acidity has been muted.

The flavor notes are hazelnut, cocoa, chocolate. You can brew this pretty much any way you want and still get excellent results.

This coffee is a straightforward, solid coffee that doens’t have any acidity to speak of. It’s hard to go wrong with this one, if you’re in the market for a low acid blend.

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Stumptown Sumatra

Stumptown Coffee Roasters...

This is a single origin coffee from the Indonesian Island Sumatra. Coffee from this South-East Asian country is known to be full-bodied and low in acidity. It has more unique notes of dark spices and tobacco compared to the blends containing Brazilian coffee. I

If you want to go for low acid, while still getting some exciting coffee experiences, this is a good bet.

Also, Stumptown is known for having excellent quality control, in both sourcing and roasting.

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Go Deeper: Sourness, bitterness and Acidity

As mentioned before, low acid doesn’t always mean tasty. In the world of specialty coffee, acidity is also used to describe the brighter flavors that can be found in expensive, high-altitude coffees.

Real coffee lovers actually distinguish between:

The two first ones are negative traits, while the last one is an essential part of a quality coffee. Most regular coffee drinkers are unable to discern between these three attributes.

A perfect cup, according to true coffee snobs, is one that combines sweetness and acidity.

Think of it as a hamburger; you don’t only want the sweet or umami flavors from the bun and the beef patty – you also crave the acidic and fresh flavors from pickles, tomato, and raw onion. It’s a more complete experience that way.

This is exactly how coffee geeks approach the cup.

It’s worth remembering that your idea of what constitutes acidity is not the same as a pro coffee cupper’s view on the matter.

The reason that acidity might be undesirable in your cup of morning joe is that the coffee isn’t sweet in the first place, or because it’s actually sourness.

Read More: The Best Instant Coffee According to the People