Is Espresso Less Acidic Than Coffee?

Some people find coffee too acidic. If you don’t want to aggravate existing health conditions, you could be concerned that your espresso may trigger acid reflux, gastric ulcers, or IBS. So, is espresso less acidic than coffee, and what factors determine its acidity?

Is Espresso Less Acidic Than Coffee?

Espresso is less acidic than coffee because it’s brewed using dark roast beans. Dark roast beans are roasted for longer than the light to medium roast beans used for regular coffee. The more you roast coffee beans, the less acidic they will become.

Coffee beans surrounding a cup of coffee

Additionally, the ground coffee used for espresso is more refined, which extracts less acidity from the beans because the extraction process happens quickly. A coarse grind commonly used in making regular coffee results in a slow extraction process, thus raising the acidity levels in a coffee. 

The brewing method, pH levels, and the soaking duration of coffee beans also affect the acidity of espresso. 

pH Levels 

The average pH of coffee is at 4.85, while that of espresso is around 5-6, making regular coffee more acidic than espresso. Acidity increases as a coffee’s pH level decreases. The pH level of espresso comes down to its different components. 

Espresso is a result of a combination of water, air, and pressure. Water is important because it absorbs some of the acids from your coffee beans. The air and pressure help to create a more intense flavor by extracting more of the coffee bean’s oils and flavors. 

Characteristics like the crema on top of espresso also contain oils and fats that help reduce the acidity in the drink.

Brewing Process

The hotter and longer coffee beans get roasted, the less acidity they tend to have.

The brewing temperature of espresso is averagely between 195-205 degrees fahrenheit. This is the temperature when water comes into contact with the coffee grounds

This temperature range also lengthens the brewing time, which helps reduce the acidity levels of espresso. 

Soaking Duration

The longer the soaking duration of coffee beans, the more acid is extracted from the beans and into the espresso. This is because chlorogenic acids are water-soluble and will leach out into the espresso during longer soaking durations.

Espresso machine pouring coffee for 2 cups

Tips to Reduce Acidity Levels of an Espresso 

  • Use Bottled, Filtered, or Spring Water: Hard water contains higher levels of calcium and magnesium, which extract more flavor leaving you with a highly acidic espresso. Soft water has high sodium levels, leading to high acidity. Switching to bottled, filtered, or spring water in making your espresso helps reduce its acidity levels. 
  • Use quality coffee beans: Using high-quality coffee beans will help to ensure that the espresso is less acidic. Low-quality coffees have a higher acidity percentage than those from better roasters and grinders. 
  • Use low acidity coffee beans: These beans have had the majority of their chlorogenic acids removed, resulting in a less acidic cup of coffee. A good example is using Robusta coffee beans instead of Arabica.
  • Add milk: Milk is a neutral substance that can help balance out espresso’s acidity. So, if you are looking to reduce the acidity levels, add a splash of milk to your espresso.
  • Grind Size: The finer the grind, the more surface area of the ground coffee will be exposed to water. This means that there will be more extraction of acids and other compounds from the coffee bean, resulting in a less acidic cup of espresso.
  • Use a longer brewing time: If you want to reduce the acidity levels further, try brewing the espresso for a more extended period. This will allow for less acid to be extracted from the coffee bean.
  • Try a different brewing method: Drip coffee methods typically produce a more acidic cup of coffee than espresso. If you’re looking for a less acidic cup of coffee, try an espresso machine instead.
  • Water Temperature: brewing espresso with water that is not hot enough will result in an over-extraction of acids and other compounds from coffee beans. This will make the espresso more acidic. So, make sure to use hot water at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit to brew your espresso.

How Does Acidity Affect the Taste of a Coffee?

The acidity in coffee can have a positive or negative effect on the taste of the coffee. Some people enjoy the bright, acidic flavor that coffee has, while others find it too harsh. The acidity levels can also affect how bitter or sweet the coffee tastes.

Higher acidity levels will make the coffee taste more bitter, while lower acidity levels will make the coffee taste sweeter. So, if you want to reduce the acidity levels in your espresso, it might also change the taste of the coffee. 

If you don’t like how reducing the acidity affects the taste, you can always add sugar or milk to help balance out the flavors.

Spoon inside a cup of espresso

Benefits of Espresso

  • Friendly to the digestive system: Since espresso is less irritating, it’s easier on the stomach. If you have trouble with heartburn or acid reflux, low acid coffee like espresso may help reduce your symptoms.
  • Reduced risk of cavities: The lower pH level of espresso can help prevent tooth enamel erosion. This is because it has a protective effect on the surface layers that form your teeth’s outer structure, making them more resistant to detrimental effects like drink spills or other food items in their environment. 
  • Higher antioxidants levels: Antioxidants are beneficial because they can help protect your body against free radicals, which can cause damage to cells. Espresso has a higher concentration of antioxidants due to its low acidity levels than coffee, which is potentially more beneficial.
  • Improves physical performance: If you’re looking for a pre-workout coffee, espresso is better than coffee. The caffeine in espresso can help to improve your physical performance, and the low acidity levels won’t cause stomach discomfort.

Related Questions

Is Espresso Bad for Acid Reflux?

Espresso is a good choice for people with acid reflux because it is less acidic than coffee. It has a pH level of 5-6, making it less likely to cause acid reflux, heartburn, or other stomach problems due to its more alkaline nature. 

Can Espresso Cause Stomach Pain?

Espresso can cause stomach pain in some people because of its acidity levels. This is usually a problem for people sensitive to acidity in general. If you find that espresso bothers your stomach, you can try drinking it with milk or cream to help neutralize the acids in the coffee.

Which Coffee Is Less Acidic?

Dark roast is a less acidic coffee as it’s roasted for more extended periods. This helps to preserve some compounds found in beans, such as caffeine and polyphenols, which can cause stomach issues if they’re present at high levels or concentrated within certain types or brands. 


So, is espresso less acidic than coffee? Yes, espresso is less acidic because it contains fewer chlorogenic acids making it a good choice for people sensitive to acidity. However, the acidity of espresso may change depending on the brewing process, type of water used, and the soaking duration.