Why Is Cold Brew Coffee Less Acidic? [Facts Explained]

Why Is Cold Brew Less Acidic

Coffee acidity and bitterness can be harsh to a sensitive stomach. And if you are suffering from acid reflux, I bet the most recommendation you’ve got is to limit or even put a stop to your coffee consumption. 

But, with the many health benefits of drinking coffee, giving it up entirely does not sound right. 

Luckily for you, cold brew has come to your rescue and we’ll explain why is cold brew is less acidic in this article.  

Cold-brewed coffee is less acidic than hot brew, as the brewing process relies on time to produce a sweet and mellow flavor. 

It is smoother, sweeter, and less acidic.  These make it appeal to coffee enthusiasts looking for caffeinated but less acidic beverages.

Cold brew has come to your rescue

Popular coffee shops, such as  Starbucks have picked up on this idea and advertised cold brew as a smoother, less acidic coffee compared to the traditional hot brewed drinks.

While cold brewing coffee is not new, it has turned into a specialty drink in coffee shops and households across the globe.

So, drinking cold brews became a trendy practice that invigorated the coffee industry.

The idea of a cold-brewed coffee is simple.

Rather than brewing dark roast grounds with hot water, coffee grinds are soaked in cold water for about 12 to 18 hours. Doing so will give you a significantly smoother and less acidic beverage than conventionally brewed coffee.

A quick tip: Most cold brew coffee enthusiasts steep their cold brew in the refrigerator for 16 hours. This results in the best-tasting cold brew that is not bitter but not weak.

Why does cold brew have less acid than hot brew?

When you brew coffee at a cold temperature, you are not exposing the coffee grinds to heat by increasing the extraction process, therefore, lessening the concentration of CQA content. Essentially leaving more acid behind.

The majority of roasted coffee beans, including the popular Arabica beans, are acidic with a pH level ranging from 4.85 to 5.10

Depending on the roasting process and the brewing methods, coffee can be quite acidic, and you may risk irritating your gut even with just a cup.

This finding alone makes many people limit their coffee consumption.

But don’t worry. You can still enjoy the benefits of coffee extracts but through a cold brew. That’s because brewing at cold temperatures dramatically reduces the acidity levels of coffee.

Your hot brew extracts are made from complex acid chemistry that occurs in a typical hot brewing process.  For instance, brewing the coffee at around 140°F  releases the acid contents of your coffee grounds.

Simple cold-brew coffee recipe

Preparing cold brew coffee might look complicated, but don’t worry, you don’t have to be a trained barista to make one.

A cold brew requires steeping ground coffee in water for an extended period at either a cool temperature before serving it with added water, milk, or ice.

Simple cold-brew coffee recipe

Here’s a simple cold brew recipe:

  • you will need 1 cup of coarsely grounded coffee beans and 4  cups of filtered water
  • combine the ground coffee beans with water, and stir
  • steep in the refrigerator for 12 to 18 hours
  • strain your cold brew with a coffee filter
  • add milk or water at a 1:1 ratio then simply pour ice cubes into the mix

Also, you may want to check this article if you are looking for a step-by-step easy cold brew concentrate you can enjoy for up to 2 weeks!. 

Benefits of cold brew coffee

Let’s travel back to a moment in history.

The history of cold brewing was first recorded in Japan during the 17th century. Interestingly, it was created not as a means to reduce coffee acidity, but to eliminate fire hazards that were likely to happen with the traditional brewing method.

Today, modern coffee shops are capitalizing on the emergence of cold brew as a popular drink.

By now, you’re probably wondering whether the 12 to 18 hours it takes to make a perfect cold brew coffee is worth it.

Today, modern coffee shops are capitalizing on the emergence of cold brew as a popular drink.

We’d say yes, and here are the benefits of drinking cold brew coffee:

  • The hot brew has a high level of acidic compounds that can trigger stomach discomforts, such as acid reflux. Cold brew is a less acidic coffee, which makes it easier on your stomach.
  • You are less tempted to add sugar and cream with a cold brew. It is smoother and less bitter, so you can easily drink it without additives.
  • Other than being downright delicious, cold brew coffee has mood-boosting properties
  • It boosts your energy without worrying about possible stomach issues.

Cold-brew vs hot brew coffee

Chances are, you’ve tried tasting a hot coffee that has cooled down and noticed that it tastes different from a cold brew.

So, what’s the difference between hot and cold-brewed coffee?

The distinct flavor, aroma, and chemical compositions all resulted from the different preparation methods. 

The type and amount of chemical released largely depend on whether hot or cold water is used in the process. 

Cold brew

Cold-brew vs Iced coffee

What’s the difference between cold brew and iced coffee?

Cold brew coffee is sometimes mistaken with iced coffee, however, the latter is different by the fact that it is served using ice cubes poured over with a hot brewed espresso.

Both are served over ice, which makes many people consider them as summer drinks.

But when you get to consider their distinct flavors, you’ll know that these beverages are made differently.

You make iced coffee by pouring brew over regular ice cubes.  It’s a quicker way to a refreshing coffee beverage served cold.

Iced coffee is more bitter compared to a cold brew, simply because it is a hot brew that goes through a cooling process.

A cup of Iced coffee

Do you want to learn more about the difference between a cold brew and iced coffee? 

In this article, you’ll know the unique cold brew extraction process and how this beverage taste so different from your classic iced coffee.  


Is cold brew better for acid reflux?

Cold brew is smoother, less acidic, and has a sweeter taste than hot brew.  The lesser chlorogenic acid concentration of a cold brew makes it less acidic than a hot brew. These make it appeal to coffee enthusiasts looking for a caffeinated alternative to other drinks.

This slow cold brew method is best for coffee lovers who have a sensitive stomach and are prone to suffer from acid reflux. 

How can you reduce the acid content of coffee?

  • Choosing dark roasted coffee beans over lightly roasted coffee beans may help reduce acidity.
  • You can alter the acidity of your coffee by brewing at a lower temperature.
  • You can also use an acid reducer to neutralize the acid content of your coffee.  You can reduce the acidity of your coffee up to 90%, so you can have your cup of joe without worrying about suffering acid reflux
  • Go for a glass of cold brew coffee instead of a hot brew coffee

Why cold brew your coffee?

You’ll get a more concentrated and better-tasting beverage by steeping your coffee grounds for an extended time.

Brewing grounds in hot water releases bitter coffee properties, but steeping coffee in cold water avoids this and gives the beverage a naturally sweeter flavor.

What makes hot brewed coffee more acidic?

If you’ve tried drinking a mug of hot brew and a cold brew from the same coffee beans, I bet you can tell the striking difference between the two beverages.

On the one hand, your cup of hot brew has a pleasing aroma, a tinge of sweetness, stimulating acidity, and distinct bitterness.

On the other hand, your glass of cold brew has a smoother and more flavorful sweetness, a slight hint of acidity, and almost no bitterness.

Hot coffee

How to adjust the flavor of cold brew coffee concentrate?

Cold brew concentrate is a more potent version of a cold brew coffee and is best served when diluted with water.

A quick tip: You can make a cold brew concentrate to save time and space in your fridge.  Cold brew tastes great for up to 2 weeks kept in the fridge. 

Is a cold brew coffee stronger than a regular coffee?

There are a variety of cold brewing techniques, but the general rule is to use a substantially larger coffee-to-water ratio for your cold brew.

With more coffee grounds in the mix, is cold brew coffee stronger than hot coffee?

That is possible, as the larger amount of coffee in the brewing stage is likely to result in a stronger drink.

But heat is better in breaking chemical bonds, which means it is better in extracting caffeine and other substances from your coffee grounds.

Cold brewing is not as effective in weakening molecular bonds, meaning it is particularly less efficient in extracting compared to hot brewing.

If you suffer from acid reflux, that’s enough reason to forget your cup of hot brew coffee.

A glass of cold brew

Instead, go for a glass of cold brew. It has antioxidant properties as traditional coffee but has a less bitter taste and less acidity that makes it easy on the stomach.

Can I heat cold brew coffee?

You can pour ice cubes on hot coffee to make a refreshing iced coffee.

But can you also heat a cold brew to make a hot cup while drinking coffee?

You may assume that heating up a cold brew coffee may alter what you love about the cold brew flavor.

Don’t fret. A cold brew is made from a concentrate, and heating it up will not affect the drink except for it becoming hot.

Heating it up will not affect the drink except for it becoming hot.


Now you know that one of the best ways to enjoy a low acid coffee is to go for a cold brew coffee.

So, start steeping that dark roast coffee grounds and enjoy a low acid beverage!

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