Whether you prefer an automatic drip coffee maker or the meditation of a perfect...
Love coffee but hate acid? If you’ve been avoiding coffee because your sensitive stomach doesn’t like it as much as you do, you’ve got coffee choices. There are several brands of low acid coffee on the market, each of them featuring a different way of reducing the acid in brewed coffee. But if you’d rather not buy specially treated coffee or can’t find low acid coffee on your supermarket shelves, there are ways that you can reduce the amount of acid in your coffee at home.
A lot of the acid in coffee comes from the brewing process. When ground coffee comes in contact with boiling (or almost boiling) water, the heat causes chemical reactions between the fats and sugars in the coffee grounds. The end result is the rich flavor and aroma of freshly brewed coffee—and a lot of different kinds of acid. If you “brew” the coffee without heat, those chemical reactions don’t happen, and thus, those acids don’t form.
That’s the theory behind the Toddy, a cold-brew coffee system. The Toddy, developed in 1964 by chemical engineer and entrepreneur Todd Simpson, is only one way to make cold-brewed coffee. The Hourglass Coffee Maker is a newer entry in the cold brew coffee maker market. Both make coffee concentrate overnight in your refrigerator. In reality, all you really need to make cold brewed coffee is a jug, a gallon of water, a cup of ground coffee and some cheesecloth. Let the coffee grounds soak overnight in the water to extract the flavor, then drain it through cheesecloth to remove the grounds. The liquid is a highly concentrated coffee extract that will keep in your refrigerator for up to a week. The coffee contains about 65% less acid than coffee brewed the traditional way.
Many Midwestern coffee lovers remember the old way of making coffee on the stovetop by boiling the grounds in water, then adding a whole egg, crushed eggshells and all. The resulting coffee is sweeter and smoother than drip coffee or percolated coffee, and many aficionados of coffee made this way swear that it causes less stomach problems. While there is no research to support the contention, the science makes sense. The calcium in the eggshells may neutralize some of the acids released by the hot water.
There are a number of coffee varieties that are naturally lower in acid than others. According to Ken Davids, coffee gourmet and author of many books on coffee, coffees grown at lower altitudes in Brazil, Indonesia and Sumatra have less acid than coffee grown at high altitudes or in volcanic soil. If you’re trying to cut down on acid, try drinking those sweeter, smoother coffees. Cold brewing those coffees would logically result in coffee that is even lower in acid.