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Is Espresso Less Acidic than Regular Coffee?

Is Espresso Less Acidic than Regular Coffee?

Jan 24, 2023


Ryan Beckley

Is espresso less acidic than coffee ? Yes, in many cases espresso is less acidic the regular coffee, but that is not always true. And here is what you need to know.

The acid content of a roasted coffee bean is almost entirely dependent on the time and temperature of a roast. Many espressos today are roasted at a much lower temperature for a much shorter duration, that makes that type of espresso highly acidic. So a espresso that was traditionally less acidic than a regular cup of coffee, that espresso is now more acidic than a regular cup of coffee.

Does that surprise you? Well, here are even more reasons why? When discussing espresso, you really need to understand there are three elements to espresso; The roast, the grind, and the brew (pulling the shoot).

The Espresso Roast

Classically, a coffee that was intended to be used as espresso was roasted very dark. It was called an espresso roast. This roasting process was designed to present a roasted coffee bean that was very bold in flavor. To achieve that flavor profile, roasting methods involved roasting the coffee for a much longer duration than a regular coffee and roasting to a much high finished temperature.

Interestingly, because espresso denotes the roast and not the bean, any coffee bean can be used for an espresso. It is the roast that makes an espresso bean and not type of bean that is used. Simply, espresso is not kind of coffee bean. You do not cultivate espresso. Espresso does not grow on trees!

roast degree

The Espresso Grind

Before using an espresso bean, the bean first must be ground. Making an espresso requires a very finally ground coffee. The bean is typically ground so fine that it resembles a powder. This finely ground powered is necessary to improve extraction of the coffee during brewing (pulling a shot).

Portafilter with Espresso

The Espresso Shot

The espresso machine is designed to maximize the flavor from a roast by loading a small filter (portafilter) with a finally ground coffee. The machine has a heater boiler that shots hot water under bar pressure through the finely ground coffee in the portafilter. This extracts the maximum flavor from the coffee.

Espresso Shots

Classic Espressos

Over time, coffee roasters have adapted the style of roast to augment this brewing method. These roasts are know as Espresso roasts. Often, French Roasts and Italian roasts, which are very dark roasts can be used well. The process of roasting coffee at a longer duration and at a higher finished temperature, yielded a coffee bean that was less acidic, than a regular (traditional) coffee.

The classic espresso process yielded a dark bean, near black in color, with a bold charcoal, Smokey flavor, and a bitter edge.

Espressos Today.

However, be warned, today with changes in roasting techniques, such as third wave roasters, and Nordic roasting to name a few, everything has changed. These new "espressos" utilize a roast style that is very light in comparison. The roast time is much shorter and the finished temperature of the roast is much lower. This will leave more of the natural acids in the coffee beans and deliver a much, much, more acidic shot.

This roasting style for modern espressos yields an espresso bean that had much more acid content that a traditional cup of coffee. And be warned too, this shorter and light approach to roasting is not just with espresso, but with regular coffee as well. Unless otherwise noted as low acid coffee or it is roasted by one of the low acid coffee brands, chances are whether espresso or a regular coffee, the acidity is increasing in what you drinking today. That is the trend in the coffee market.

The hallmark flavor of acidic coffees are a fruity quality, winey, or a a tea like taste and light body. If you taste these notes, the coffee you are drinking is most assuredly high in acid.

Slow roasted coffees

Many low acid and even no acid coffees still have lots of Chlorogenic acid, which contributes to a coffees acidity. However, Chlorogenic acids are not the only natural acid that impacts the pH of coffee. You can learn more about acids in coffee in my article Everything You Should Know About Coffee Acidity.

Is Coffee an Acid? Everything You Should Know About Coffee Acidity!

Slow Roasted Espresso

Keep in mind, even a traditional dark roast coffee still retains much of it's acid content. Slow roasting coffee is the most effective means of reducing acidity levels in the coffee bean. So much so that slow roasted light coffees have much less acid the traditional espressos, without having to be a dark roast at all.

The long duration and higher temperatures of an slow roasted coffee destroys the natural coffee acids. Unlike most roasts today, which fail to achieve significant reduction in the most problematic Chlorogenic acids, caffeoylquinic, I also cover volatile and nonvolatile acids in Everything You Should Know About Coffee Acidity article as well.

Slow roasted espresso and the darker slow roasts reduce the acid down to trace levels. They are the lowest acid coffee on the market with the best pH scores.

Acidity's Affect on Coffee Bean's Flavor

With high acid coffees, expect bright and vibrant acidity. These notes can be winey notes and teal like body. Juicy and slight sour notes are also a hallmark. If you are wanting a coffee that tastes like coffee, slow roasted coffee are a great place to start if you never had a low acid coffee before. Medium and full bodied coffees abound with rich and smooth flavors. They are savory and can be syrupy sweet.

You should enjoy the taste and you will not miss the acid

Acidity's Affect on Peoples Health

Be aware, while millions suffer effects of high acids diets and coffee drinking with various conditions such as acid reflux, soft reflux, Barret's esophagus, GERD, IBS, Interstitial Cystitis to name only a few, our physiology changes as we age and we can become more susceptible to acid in our diets. So even if you do not currently suffer from any underlining medical conditions, no sense in subjecting your body to all the acid, which over time can have a cumulative affect.

Low acid coffees and espresso roast

For those individuals with severe sensitives to acid but wish to drink coffee, the best low acid coffee to start with will be the darker roasts, such as French or Italian style roasts and espresso. Not because lighter roast can't be an option, but most low acid coffee brands and no acid coffee brands still have a fair amount of acidity in the cup because they are not slow roasted.

Slow roasted coffees will not only give you a more natural tasting product, the acidity will be much lower, meaning lighter roasted coffees can be safely drank.

I hope this information was useful to you. I have been in the coffee industry since 2004, producing slow roasted low acid coffees that work for people. I will send you a high value coupon just shot me you email below. Thanks for reading!



Is espresso high in acidity?

Traditionally, espresso roasts have less chlorogenic acid that a regular cup of coffee, but modern espresso roasts retain much of the coffees acidity.

Is espresso better for GERD?

While darker roasted espresso have have less acidity, many modern espresso roasts can have much more acid. You need to find a low acid coffee to use as espresso.

Is espresso a low acid coffee?

With the changes to modern espresso roasting techniques, many espressos today have a much higher acid content and should be avoided by people with GERD, acid reflux, and other medical conditions sensitive to high acids foods and beverages.

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