is espresso less acidic than coffee

Is Espresso Less Acidic Than Coffee?

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Espresso is less acidic than coffee since it uses dark roasted coffee. The longer the roasting and the higher the temperature, the less acidic the coffee is. For regular coffee, you use light roasts which are more acidic.  

There is more to explore about coffee acidity. Acidity isn’t a bad or a good thing. In fact, it’s necessary. Keep reading this post, we cover a lot of valuable information about espresso acidity.

Table of Contents

What is Acidity in Espresso

Acidity results from the presence of Chlorogenic Acids in any kind of coffee.  These acids are compounds of natural antioxidants and they are healthy. 

Studies revealed that they help to lose weight and decrease blood pressure. Also, they stimulate your mood, decrease blood sugar, and help against infections. 

Acidity isn’t bad or good for you. It’s one of the important elements of flavor in espresso. It helps or denotes to define the quality of the espresso.

is espresso less acidic than coffee

Chlorogenic Acids degrade fast within the roasting process. That’s why dark roasts are less acidic than light ones. Longer roasting time results in dark roasted coffee. 

For espresso aficionados acidity is a pleasing flavor sensation. They describe it as the sharpness you feel on the tip of your tongue. This sharpness finishes as dryness at the back of your palate. [1, 2]

Why Acidity is Important for Espresso Flavor

Acids in espresso can be bright and bold. Also, they can be smooth and subtle. Acidity is essential for espresso flavor. Yet, it should be in balance with all sensations: body, tannins, and sweetness.

Acidity can define the whole flavor profile of an espresso shot. The right acidity level can transform your espresso from acceptable to perfect. 

The result in your mouth could boast notes of citrus that make your lips pucker with a sense of sourness. Acidity can be bright and clean like the aftertaste of a delicious apple.

Yet, an increased espresso acidity will result in a lower quality flavor profile. A coarse grind is the typical cause of espresso acidity. A coarse grind will lead to the under extraction of coffee. The water won’t have enough time to extract the elements from your grounds into the shot. [3]

How Acidity Affects Your Stomach

Acidity is necessary for your stomach for food processing and digestion. Coffee acids further increase the acidity levels of the stomach. 

Some people are more sensitive to acidity and may suffer from gastrointestinal distress. Also, caffeine can cause aches in the digestive system. 

If you’re facing the same problems with espresso or coffee you could do a few things to deal with it. 

Don’t skip breakfast or drink coffee when you have an empty stomach. Consider decaf coffee since they’re less acidic. But, if you suffer from this the best thing to do is to get your doctor’s opinion. [4]

What Affects Coffee Acidity Levels

There are several aspects affecting espresso acidity. The origin, blend, roasting, grind size, brewing, decaffeination, and some more.

espresso shot

Coffee Origin

There are some regions that produce coffee with lower acid levels. For some coffee snobs, this is half-true but if you want coffee with fewer acids, you could start from the origin. 

India, Brazil, Sumatra, and El Salvador. These are the regions known for producing coffee with lower natural acids.

In these regions, coffee plants are growing on low plains. This results in lower acids in their coffee production. In contrast, higher altitude locations yield coffee with more natural acids.

Arabica Vs Robusta Acidity

Arabica is the most popular for espresso and for good reasons. It’s a better quality coffee with less caffeine but with more acids. Robusta contains 25% of the world’s coffee production and contains fewer natural acids.   

Even though Robusta is less acidic, go for a quality Arabica blend and look for other ways to reduce its acidity. Arabica is better coffee, a little more expensive but it has a far better flavor profile. [5]


Roasting is the main factor that defines the levels of acids in coffee. Both temperature and duration of roasting have a strong correlation with acid levels. 

Studies revealed that hotter and longer roasting decreases chlorogenic acids in coffee. This roasting delivers dark beans that we use for espresso brewing. [6]

Size of Grounds

To prepare espresso you need fine ground coffee. Coffee particles should be around 1/32 inch or 0.8mm. Studies show that a finer grind makes less acidic coffee. In contrast, a coarse grind will bring more acids to your coffee. 

This is another reason why espresso is less acidic than coffee and besides the dark roast.

Brewing Method

Espresso extraction is the fastest and lasts about 25 seconds. A shorter time of extraction means less acidic coffee. Yet, espresso brewing uses pressure and high-temperature water. This method let more acids drain from the grounds into the cup.

The high temperature of the water increases the acids in coffee. Acids tend not to be extracted when the brewing method uses colder water. Even though a cold brewing can last hours, it’s a less acidic coffee than espresso. 

Acids are responsible for the intense flavor and aroma. The lower temperature of cold brewing (below 68 F) has a disadvantage. It doesn’t allow the complex flavor profile to show. Yet, it’s the less acidic coffee brewing you can have. [7]

Decaf & Acidity Level

There are 4 methods to remove the caffeine content from coffee:

  1. Direct solvent
  2. Indirect solvent
  3. Supercritical carbon dioxide process
  4. Swiss water process

For any of the above methods, the coffee beans must be unroasted. 

Many people doubt the safety of the decaffeination process. But, there is no reason for these doubts. All the methods are safe. You should know that decaffeinated coffee still has 3% of caffeine. 

After the process, coffee beans are cleaned and steamed at high temperatures. This process disperses the liquids that farmers use for decaffeination. 

Several studies revealed that decaffeinated coffee is less acidic than caffeinated. After the caffeine extraction, the levels of phenolic acids decreased. So, coffee drinkers with gastroesophageal reflux symptoms can turn to decaffeinated coffee. [8]

The Swiss water process is the best low acid choice. This method uses the least chemicals for decaffeination.

espresso with milk

Adding Milk or Ice

Espresso is a beverage that Italians drink fast and straight (no additions like sugar or milk). Yet, if you add some sugar or milk, espresso will be even less acidic.

Putting a little milk and sugar into your espresso, you’ll have a somewhat less acidic drink. The reason is that dilution helps your stomach to absorb the added acids. [9]

Low Acid Espresso Blends

Puroast is a brand that markets blends with 70% fewer acids. These blends keep their antioxidants while the taste isn’t bitter at all.

The company originated in Venezuela and offers high-quality coffee. Click here to check their products and reviews on Amazon.

The Bottom Line

So, is espresso less acidic than coffee? Well, yes! The brewing process uses dark roasted coffee beans which are less acidic than light ones. 

This makes for a smoother, less acidic cup of coffee that many people prefer. So if you’re looking for a less acidic cup of joe, espresso might be the way to go.

What to Do Next

Now you know that espresso has fewer acids and it’s your turn to prepare your cup. If you’re looking for espresso beans or espresso gear don’t miss our buyers’ guides and reviews. 

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