Low Acid Coffee Brands [Ulitmate Guide]

Low Acid Coffee Brands [Ulitmate Guide]

Low Acid Coffee Brands [Ultimate Guide]:

Welcome to Mavericks Coffee special review of low acid coffee brands. At the time of writing this post, this list is the most complete list of known low acid coffee companies on the internet. Since the internet is a big place and some of these coffee roasters are not, we apologize if we missed anyone. We will add to the list if any other low acid coffee brands come to our attention.

According to Coffeebeaned.com, which compiles a list, there are approximately 1,600 coffee roasters in the United States. Considering there is less than 20 low acid coffees roasters that I have found that means there are less than .01% of coffee roasters that concern themselves with producing coffee with less acid.low_acid_logo

So not only is choice, supply, and availability a concern, but you might have a hard time finding a roaster that even makes coffee with low acidity.  Also, keep in mind that not every coffee roaster that claims to have a low acid coffee, produces a truly low acid coffee.

So what is the best low acid coffee? Who are the least acidic coffee brands? I will be endeavoring to answer this and other questions.

In our ultimate guide to low acid coffee brands, I will be putting each of these low acid coffee brands through a rigorous test. I will be evaluating each roasting company’s entire process from roasting to fulfillment and everything in between. I will also be detailing what you can expect to taste in your cup and I will also be sending each coffee out to a lab for an independent analysis from a third party lab in order to see just how low in acid these coffees really are.  Here is a list of the areas will be evaluating.

1. Coffee Origin7. Ordering
2. Green Coffee Process8. Fulfillment
3. Low Acids Method9. Roast Analysis
4. Roast Intention10. PH Lab Evaluation
5. Packaging11. Final Presentation
6. Transparency12. Comments

My testing will not include any national coffee brand that happens to make one coffee that is low acid.  For example, if Folgers or Maxwell House produces a less aciditic coffee, you will not need this list to find them as they have the resources to get their product found. This list is for people that are searching for low acid coffee beans that are specialty grade and well worth drinking.

What is Low Acid Coffee?

Before I start the review, I want to take a moment to establish what is meant when most people talk about low acid coffee. When people discuss low acid coffee, they really mean coffee that is low in Chlorogenic acid.  Chlorogenic acid is an organic acid found in coffee plants. In fact, coffee plants contain among the highest levels Chlorogneic acid within the plant kingdom. Since coffee beans are the seed of a coffee cherry much of that Chlorogenic acid is stored within the coffee bean itself. 

As a result, coffee beans are inherently acidic and contain nearly a dozen configurations of Chlorogenic acid at the molecule level. While other organic acids are present in coffee beans like Quinic acid, Citric acid, Phosphoric acid, and Acetic acid, Chlorogenic acid has received the most notoriety because it not only affects taste [insert citation], but it can also have a  negative impact on human physiology.  I will briefly discussing what has become an issue for many people in our next section.

Why Low Acid Coffees?

Due to the high levels of Chlorogenic acid in coffee, many coffee drinkers suffer discomfort and pain when they drink coffee.  Some of the reported symptoms can be reflux, heartburn, gerd, among many others, including general digestive discomfort and overly active bowel to name a few. Many people can even be affected with some of the more mild and generalized symptoms and be completely unaware. While some coffee drinkers have had to stop drinking coffee altogether.

Today, there appears to be more people than ever suffering from the negative effects of high acid coffees.  In the next section, I will give a brief explanation of some of the reasons that more people seem to be suffering and why low acid coffee is becoming more popular.

low_acid_coffee_brands_2

Why People are Suffering from High Acid Coffee?

I have observed many trends within my 13 years in the coffee industry, and I have identified three major reasons that more people are suffering from drinking coffee today than ever before. 

  1. Coffee continues to gain in popularity and the in the frequency consumed. This is not your Daddy’s cup of coffee. More people than ever including kids drink coffee, and the frequency of consumption per individual has increased dramatically.

 Coffee is not only trendy and cool, but most importantly coffee tastes better than ever before. Thanks to big coffee national chain stores, popularizing espresso based hot and cold drinks like mochas and flavored lattes, the pool of drinkers has become both larger and there is a more broad appeal to a much younger audience. While sugar helps, one of the reasons coffee tastes better today, is the specialty coffee industry and its firm reliance on specialty grade high-grown Arabica coffees. These high-grown Arabica coffees are better quality and simply taste better. This brings us to our second reason that more people are suffering from affects of high acid coffees.

  1. These great tasting high-grown specialty Arabica coffee beans today can be higher in acidity.  High-grown Arabica are typically denser in cellular structure and can contain more organic acids, including Chlorogenic acid.   Many of these organic acid compounds can present unique flavor notes in the cup. Which leads us to our third reason, more people are struggling with sensitivity to coffee.
  1. Coffee roasters today are roasting their coffees shorter and at lower temperatures in an attempt to capture the flavor notes presented by these other organic acid compounds. The conventional roast profile used by most coffee roasters today is simply less effective at reducing acidity in coffee. (link to article)The modern roast profile is the main culprit in contributing to this problem. In a nut shell, modern roast profiles, roast coffee much faster and they finish the roast at much lower temperatures.

To produce low acid coffee beans through the process of roasting, time and temperatures are key. Typically, you will find that lighter and medium roasts do not achieve the necessary heat and nor do they have the duration of roast time to significantly impact coffee acidity levels.  Key temperature points must be achieved and sustained for a specific duration in order for roasting to impact acidity level in any significant way.

Not only does the science bare this out, but it is mostly a given within the coffee industry that darker roasts, which are longer in duration and typically achieve higher temperatures can be low in acid then light and medium roasts.  But even with modern roast profiles darker roasts can only moderately affect acid levels. So the coffee drinker is still left with a coffee that contains a fair amount of acid, and are left with only dark roasts to chose from that still retain rather higher levels of acid.

This is where slow roasting excels in the reduction of Chlorogenic acid. iN the next section I will discuss several methods and processes developed that can yield coffee that is lower in acid.

How Does Coffee Become Low Acid?

There are several ways to produce reduced acid coffee. I will mention a few of them here. Unfortunately, most of the roasters do not give much information on the process of how they produce their low acid coffee.

First Method – Chemical Treatments: Is by the addition of certain additives and treatments. I have found little information about this approach on any of the roasters websites that we tested. An interested coffee drinker may wish to get more information from the roaster about this process before ordering.

Second Method - Steam Bath: A steam bath can be used as pre-roast processing method.  Known as the Darbovan Improvement Procedure, this process involves using high pressure stream and a vacuum to remove many of the irritants found in coffee. Little information was provided on the roasters website regarding this process. I would recommend obtaining more information from the roaster before making a purchase decision.  Incidentally, when we cupped the coffee we could detect this process method in the cup. It was similar to a water process decaf flavor note. While not unpleasant, it is noticeable.

Third Method - Green Selection: Using a green coffee (raw) that is processed allowing for more time for fermentation in the coffee bean. These coffees are called naturals (not to be confused with organic).   Several of the coffees we tested took this approach. The lab results showed this to be only slightly effective reducing acid and can negatively impact taste, including perceived body in the cup.

Four Method – Slow Roasting: By slow roasting the coffee beans for a much longer duration. The best results that we got back from the lab were the coffees that were slow roasted. The slow roasted coffee were the lowest acid among in all the categories we sampled.

The other roasts provided little to no information about their method or process. However, in the interests of transparency, slow roasting is a rather simple and highly effective means of reducing Chlorogenic acid.  There might be another approach to slow roasting, but this is how I approach the coffee.   Coffee is a thermally processed beverage, temperature, time, and airflow are not only critical to roast any coffee, but are precisely the key to producing coffee with less acid.

Scientists L.C. Trugo and R Macrae studied the application of heat and duration on Chlorognic acid composition in coffee. They charted the affect that temperature has on CGA levels over longer roasts. They noted the significant reduction in acidity levels based on two factors in combination: temperature and duration.

These findings were also supported by K. Fujoka, and T. Shibamoto in their study of Chlorogenic acids in brewed coffee. They concluded “[c]hanges to roasting times and temperatures seem to affect CGA contents significantly in final coffee products”. A brief side note about taste. Slow roasting can not only affect acid levels in coffee, it can also affect taste in several ways.  The Trugo and Macrae study also pointed out the CGA can significantly impact taste.  They noted that “levels of individual Chlorogenic acids in coffee and the study of their transformation during coffee processing are important for establishing correlations between the chemical composition and the sensory attributes of coffee products for quality control purposes”.

Additionally, coffees that are roasted longer, have more time to fully develop, and in my experience, produce a coffee with more body. Rob Hoos has some of these observations as he made a correlation between development time of coffee during the Maillard reaction as he extended his roast duration.  Mr. Hoos’ book Modulating The Flavor of Coffee, gave some good observations on the length of roast and impact on body. Even though  his roasts were not what I would consider slow roasts by any stretch, he was able to quantify increase in perceived body as development in his roasts were lengthened.

For this reason and others, I was very excited to have the opportunity to sample other coffee roasters that produce low acid coffees. I am anticipating tasting coffees that are less bright and bitter.

Testing Low Acid Coffees

When buying low acid coffee brands you should know how coffee is tested for acidity and what that measurement means to you. Please keep in mind, there is no standard within the coffee community as to what qualifies as low acid coffee. To make matters worse, most roasters are not transparent with their claims. They neither give you their scoring, nor do they post there lab results, so you just have to take their word for it.

There are two types of scoring coffee for acidity that you might see when are looking for a low acid coffee are PH and HPLC.

Coffee Acidity on PH Scale

One measure of acidity in coffee is by using the PH scale.  The PH scale measures how acidic or basic a aques solution, such as the coffee that you drink might be.  The PH scale ranges from 0 to 14 with 7 being the neutral point. For context, on a PH scale battery acid would be around 1, tap water 7, and ammonia would be about a 12. Most coffees will range in a PH scale on the acidic side of the scale between 4.5 to 5.0 and are very high in acid.

Here is where is gets most interesting. PH levels are expressed in a logarithmic fashion. So a change expressed in 1 whole unit of PH is actually ten-fold. For those in California, think the Ritcher scale. Let’s look at an example of two different coffees.
mavericks-coffee-versus-national-brands

PH Scale examples:
Coffee #1: Bucks House: pH 5.0
Coffee #2 Mavericks House: pH 5.8

Based on the pH scale, an increase or decrease of 1 whole unit, which is a 10 fold increase can also be expressed in a percentage basis as 100%. In our example the Mavericks Coffee would be .80 or 80% lower in acid then Bucks Coffee. Keep in mind the further away a number is from 7 on the acidic side of the PH scale the more acid you will have. Coffees with higher numbers have less acidity.

So what might appear as small differences in the pH scale are actually very mathematical significant and for sensitive coffee drinkers may be the difference in being able to drink and enjoy a cup of coffee and not being able to drink a cup at all.

Coffee Acidity using HPLC Testing

Another method of measuring acidity in coffee is by use of a High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). The HPLC is an instrument used to provide a chemical analysis of chemical composition of a coffee bean. The HPLC can actually detect and isolate for specific chemical compounds, such as Chlorogenic acid. Done before and after a roast, the HPLC analyses can a detail the levels of Chlorogenic acid and since Chlorogenic acid can also affect taste, being associated with bitterness in the cup, roast profiles can be modified using this information.

However, as a consumer, this analysis might not prove to be as useful as one might think. While isolating for Chlorogenic acid is great, HPLC does provide an overall reading of the entire cup, only the isolated organic compound or its isomers.

As side note, I have my own criteria that I have developed over the last 13 years in the industry that I use as a standard, which you can read about here. (see link)

Organic Low Acid Coffee

While some of these coffee brands use organic coffee, many of them use conventional coffees.  Concerning, the additives and treatments used by some of these coffee roasters on their coffees, I would spend some time researching those methods and practices so that you will know how that coffee is processed and what if anything might be added to it.

Results:

To obtain an independent analysis for each of the coffees, we selected Certified Laboratories, Inc., which has several nationally recognized laboratories around the United States that conducts tests on microbiology, chemistry and food forensics analysis. To conduct the pH test, Certified Labs used the AOAC 970.21a method. The equipment used was a Metler Toledo Seven Compact PH/Ion S220 meter.

It was my intention to give you the nuts and bolts of each coffee company’s offerings, including their processing, pricing, shipping, and methodology of producing a low acid coffee. Additionally, I wanted to give you my unscripted general impressions highlighting the positives in each cup of coffee. Lastly, I wanted to bring you independent lab results, which you can use in your evaluating each coffee for yourself.

To that end, it was my purpose to select a uniform coffee origin and roast style for each coffee among the roasters. I endeavored to select Colombia or similar origin that was light roasted. Unfortunately, very few roasters offered a light roast nor did ever roaster offer a Colombia or similar origin. This left me comparing light roast with dark roasts, coffee blends with single origins. While the process was not perfect, I was still able to gather a lot of information that I felt would be still useful to you. So here are the results.

 low-acid-coffee-brands

Mavericks Coffee:

Mavericks Peru Organic was selected. This is Mavericks lightest roasted coffee.  This was the lightest roasted coffee in our sample gropu. To be far, I was forced to also have medium and bold roast tested as well since, many of the other roasters did not produce a light roast coffee or their light coffee was much darker.

Summary: Mavericks has a full selection of single origin coffees and blends that are roasted light, medium, or dark. They also offer water processed chemical free decaf coffees and a full line of flavored coffee available in both regular and decaf. Mavericks posts their certifications and analytical reports on their website. They also have a lot of information about low acid coffee and each coffee is marked with badge showing the percentage reduction in acid. Mavericks produces low acid coffee by slow roasting their coffees for much longer duration. The website functioned well and I was able to checkout with a credit card.

pH Score: 5.5 (Light Roast), 5.84 (Medium Roast) 6.14 (Bold Roast) 6.35 (Dark Roast) 6.35.

Cupping Notes: Good aroma and body, sweet, and earthy taste. The Peru cups well.

Order Direct: Yes.  Credit Card: Yes.

  Size: 1lb (16oz) / Cost: $15.00 / Shipping Cost: Flat $5 on any size order.

Shipping Efficiency:  Yes.
Product Mix: High.
Transparent: High
Organic: Yes: Entire product line is organic. The certificates are posted on their website. All pH analytic reports are published on their site for review. Each product lists acid reduction as percentage.
Low Acid: Yes. Scores from ph of 5.5 to 6.35. The analytic reports are posted on their website.
Kosher: Yes. The certificates are posted on their website.

Coffee Altura

I purchased their regular roast, which was listed as low acid.  This coffee appeared to be a medium roast.

Summary:  They had some information about organic, shade grown, and Kosher but nothing that I could find of any significance regarding low acid. No PH score was given. I was able to locate what I needed and purchase directly from them and check out with a credit card.  I would note for the regular roast, I had to buy 2lbs of coffee, so you may wish to keep that in mind were purchasing from them.

pH Score: 5.22 (Medium Roast)

Cupping Notes: Very light sweetness, mild bitterness, the most prevalent note was fruity. Overall a very low body, and it dies on your palate. This coffee might perform better with cream.  This coffee was acceptable.

 Order Direct: Yes. Credit Card: Yes

  Size: 2lbs (32oz)  Cost: $28  Shipping Cost: $ /

Shipping Efficiency: Moderate
Product Mix: Moderate
Transparency: Moderate
Organic:  Yes.
Documented: No organic certificate was provided.
Low Acid: Yes.
Documented: No. pH score was stated on their website and no documentation was provided.

Kosher:Yes.
Documented: No documentation was provided on their website.

 

Healthwise Coffee

 Healthwise uses only coffee from a Colombia origin. I selected a bag of Organic Colombia.

Summary: Size of the product was not clear on the product page, I found out later that I was purchasing a 12oz size bag. They use a process they call “TechnoRoasting” (All rights reserved to Healthwise). No information was given regarding that process.  Healthwise did have a page touching on pH level and the pH scale. No certifications or documentation were provided.  If you are interested in purchasing their coffee and need more information, an interested consumer will have to contact them directly.

pH Score: 5.7 (Dark Roast)

Cupping: This coffee had a light, flat, and very mild coffee flavor. For a dark roast it is not bold. I detected a hint of nuttiness. The coffee is smooth. I did notice a small plume when brewing, so it was fairly fresh. This is an acceptable cup of coffee.

 Order Direct: Yes. Credit Card: Yes

Size: 12oz  / Cost: $14.30 / Shipping Cost: $5.95 flat Fee 

Shipping Efficiency:  Yes.
Product Mix: Moderate.
Transparency: Low
Organic: Yes. 
Documentation: No documenation was provided.
Low Acid: Yes. Claimed pH of 6.18 on website. 
Documentation: No documentation was provided. We could not verify that score. The independent lab scored it at pH of 5.7.

Hevla Coffee

I purchased Hevla’s Gourmet Blend Low Acid Coffee.

Summary: According to their website, Hevla produces their low acid coffee using the Darbovan Improvement Procedure. This method involves streaming the green coffee (raw) beans and then vacuuming the coffee to remove potential irritants. This is a process that can be done entirely without chemicals. Their website did have some helpful information. While I could not find a pH score, the website does state the results of an HPLC test, but no supporting documentation was given. Hevla’s website was functional, I order using my credit card, and the coffee shipped from their facility.

 pH Score: 5.78 (Medium to Dark Roast)

Cupping: The coffee had a mild sweetness, with a pleasing nutty aroma. The coffee did have a prevalent sour undertone. I could taste a tobacco note, probably from the origin but could be from the roast.  The coffee was not bold. It brewed fresh and had a nice plume. This is an acceptable coffee and scored well on our pH testing.

Order Direct: Yes. Credit Card: Yes

Size:  12oz / Cost: $12.99 Shipping Cost: $8

Shipping Efficiency: Low
Product Mix:  Moderate
Transparency: Low
Organic: No
Low Acid: Yes.
No documentation provided. An HPLC score was given on their website. No documentation was given for that test. To keep the testing uniform among all the coffee we had it pH tested. It scored well at 5.78 for a medium roast.
Kosher: No.

 

Higher Grounds:

  I purchased the Bolivian Caranavi. Higher Grounds sources from three different cooperatives in Boliva for this coffee.

Summary: I navigated to High Grounds website and found a blog post stating which coffees are lower in acid that they produce. The website had some good information about the regions they buy the coffee from. It appears they place an emphasis on using “naturals, which are green coffee beans processed using a more fermentation than other methods, is Higher Grounds primary way to lower acidity levels. They have an adequate website, I ordered with a credit card and the order was fulfilled directly from their facility.

pH Score: 5.22 (Medium to Dark Roast)

Cupping: Very fruity aroma. This coffee seemed fresh and there was life in brew. The coffee did have a light fruity not. The coffee did have not body compared to some of the other coffees, which can be a hallmark of naturals. I detected a hint of bitterness. The coffee was not bold and had a rather mild flavor. I believe a hint of cream might bring out some notes in this coffee. This is a drinkable cup of coffee.

Order Direct: Yes. Credit Card: Yes

Size: 12oz  Cost: $ Shipping Cost: $12.99 

Shipping Efficiency: Low
Product Mix:  Moderate
Transparency: Low
Organic: Yes - various.
No documentation was given.
Low Acid: Yes.
Documentation: No score was given or verification provided on their website.
Kosher: No.

Lucy Joes:

I ordered their organic mellow belly roast, which is a mix of Brazil and Indonesian coffees. This is a medium to dark roast.

Summary: I went to their website, but apparently I ended ordering from the wrong website as I received an email the following day I received alerting me to this. There website did not have much information regarding low acid coffee  or their process. Based on the origins selected, I would estimate that they are relying on green processing methods as there means to yielding a low acid cup of coffee followed by a darker roast, but no information was given for to verify. I ultimately ended up buying this coffee from Amazon. I inadvertently purchased a ground coffee instead of whole bean (That is no fault to Lucy Joes. Sorry guys that is my bad).  This coffee was acceptable.

pH Score: 5.29 (Medium Roast)

Cupping: The coffee has an aged aroma, and aged taste. The coffee yielded a low body, was smooth, but mostly a flat cup with a mild sweetness and mild coffee flavor,

 Order Direct: Yes and on Credit Card: Yes

Size: 10 oz Cost: $13.99  Shipping Cost:

Shipping Efficiency: 
Product Mix: Low
Transparency: Low
Organic: Yes.
Documentation: No documentation provided.
Low Acid: Yes.
Documentation: pH score was stated on their website.
Kosher: No.

 

Manatee Coffee:

I purchased their Colombian coffee, which is a blend of several Colombian coffees. It is a medium roast.

Summary: They use coffee from the origins of Brazil, Sumatra, and Columbia. According to their website, the roast method they use also has an impact on acidity, but no information was provided about that process. The coffees they use they claim are inherently low in acid. Based on the origins one might surmise that they are using naturals as the primary means of yielding a low acid coffee. No pH numbers were provided.

Unfortunately, I was not able to checkout using my credit card. (Maybe I had already bought too much coffee that day!) I also contacted them via telephone. I ended up finding them an Amazon and bought it there. The minimum order was 2lbs.

pH Score: 5.25 (Medium Roast)

Cupping: The coffee did have amild but pleasing aroma. The coffee was tart, with a light coffee flavor. The body was very light and with a fruity finish. The coffee was smooth.  It was a drinkable cup.

 Order Direct: Yes, (But I failed in my attempts). or on Credit Card: Yes.

 Size:  2lbs (32oz)  Shipping Cost:
 
Shipping Efficiency:  High
Product Mix: Low
Transparency:  Low
Organic:  Yes.
Documentation: None given on their website.
Low Acid: Yes.
Documentation: No pH score was stated on their website. No documentation was provided.
Kosher:  No.

 

Mommee Coffee:

Summary: This coffee was not available directly from the roaster. I had to buy this coffee from Amazon. Coffee is time sensitive and introducing time via an order fulfillment, can impact the aroma and taste. I prefer to buy directly from the roaster.  The website did have information about low acid coffee, but no documentation was provided.

 pH Score: 5.18 (Medium Roast)

Cupping:  This coffee had a moderately uniform roast. The coffee was dry on the palate. It was fairly smooth with a hint of bitterness and coffee flavor was weak and had an aged note. I could detect a mild sweetness, and a touch of nutty flavor with a hint of chocolate note. The chocolate note was likely from the roast then the origin. This coffee was acceptable.

 Order Direct: No. Only on

 Size:  12oz Cost: $15.99  Shipping Cost: $

Shipping Efficiency:  Moderate
Product Mix: low
Transparency: low
Organic: Yes.
Documentation: Not verified. No documentation was provided.
Low Acid:  Yes.
Documentation: No pH score was stated on their website.
Kosher: No

 

Puroroast:

I selected the organic House Blend coffee, which is a medium roast. This coffee was a post roast blend with a medium and darker coffee blended together.

Summary: They have a functional website. They offered a good selection of regular and decaf coffees. I was able to buy directly from them and used a credit card to check out. Their website had some information about low acid and it included  a copy of scientific journal on low acid coffee.

 pH Score: 5.52 (Medium & Dark Roast Blend)

 Cupping:

Order Direct: Yes and on   Credit Card: Yes

 Size: 12oz $13.99 Cost: Shipping Cost: $0 

Shipping Efficiency:  High
Product Mix: High
Transparency: Moderate
Organic: Yes.
Documentation: No documentation was provided.
Low Acid:  Yes.
Documentation: Had a letter from a lab stating that the coffee was low in acid. They scored well on our lab analysis.
Kosher: No.

 

Simpatico:

I order the Simpatico Low Acid coffee.

Summary: They use coffees from the Mexico origin of Oaxaca. They pride themselves on direct buying from origin, and claim their coffees are free of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers. No documentation was provided. There also state that their coffees are naturally low in acid, presumably from the process method at origin. But no information was provided. For more information about the process, an interested consumer will have to contact them directly. Their website was functional. I was able to checkout with a credit card. They did require a 2 lb minimum for each order.

 pH Score: 5.41 (Medium Roast)

Cupping: The coffee was nutty, smooth, and mild. I did notice a slight chocolate note and it has body. This coffee might excel with a touch of cream.

  • Order Direct: Yes Credit Card: Yes

 Size: 12oz x2  Cost $21.98 Shipping Cost:

Shipping Efficiency:
  Moderate
Product Mix: Moderate
Transparency: Low
Organic: No. But they state their coffees are free of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers. No documentation was provided.
  Documentation: Non provided
Low Acid: Yes.
Documentation: A pH score of 5.75 was stated on their website. No documentation was given. We could not verify that claim. Our lab analysis scored this coffee at a pH of 5.41
Kosher: No

 

True Cup:

I purchased Born to be Mild Blend.  This is True Cups lightest roasted coffee. In fact, this is one of the few light roasts we could find among the roasters we tested.

 Summary:They had a functional website. I was able to find what I was looking for and checkout was smooth. True did state their pH score on their website, but I could not find any supporting documentation. The lab could not duplicate their pH score.

The roast was moderately uniform, but I did notice a lot of broken coffee beans, which might speak the the grade of coffee used, or perhaps excessive conveying of the coffee after roast.

pH Score: 5.15 (Light Roast)

Cupping: The coffee brewed fast and had an aged aroma and aged taste. There was a mild fruitiness that I could detect. Coffee was flat. It did have a smooth finish, that quickly dissipated.  A touch of cream might add some sweetness to the cup.  This was a drinkable cup of coffee.                                                  

Order Direct: Yes.  Credit Card: Yes.

Size:  14oz  Cost: 14.96  Shipping Cost: $

Shipping Efficiency:  Moderate
Product Mix: Low
Transparency: Low
Organic: No
Low Acid:  Yes:
Documentation: PH 5.74 was stated on their website. No documentation was provided. Our testing could not verify claim. Our lab scored the coffee at PH of 5.15
Kosher: No

 

Volcanica Coffee:

I purchased the Peru low acid coffee. It was a medium roast.

Summary: They had a acceptable website with a mix of organic and conventional coffees. They had several coffees that they offered as low acid. But I could not locate any information about the process of producing low acid coffee.  I wa able to check out using a credit card.

 pH Score: 5.15(Medium Roast)

Cupping: The coffee was a uniform roast, might be 2nd crack coffee. This coffee did have a moderate tartness and fruity note. The coffee presented smooth on my palate, and it did have a fruity finish. This coffee overall was smooth and had a light body.

Order Direct: Yes Credit Card: Yes

 Size:  1lb (16oz) Cost: 15.95 Shipping Cost: $5.95

Shipping Efficiency:  High
Product Mix:  High
Transparency: Low
Organic: Mix. They offer both conventional and organic coffees. Our subject coffee was not identified as organic.
Documentation: No documentation was given.
Low Acid: Yes.
Documentation: No pH score was given nor was documentation provided on their website. 
Kosher: No

low_acid_coffee_results
View Analytical Reports: Lab#1, Lab#2, Lab#3.

Summary:

So which was the best coffee? Well, that question really goes to taste and preference and can be very subjective.  For certain, all of the coffees were drinkable, some might need a little touch of cream to bring out some more flavor notes and add some needed sweetness. All of the coffee we tested are drinkable.

 If you are suffering from drinking a regular high acid coffee from you local roaster or that national coffee chain, any of these coffees would be an improvement. However, they was a very wide disparity between some of the PH scoring from the 3 party lab that tested each of these coffees.  The difference between Volcancia, the highest acid coffee and Mavericks the lowest acid coffee was over 120% percent reduction in acidity. The other coffees scored in between and varied widely from 5.2 to 5.8, with the best scoring coffee at 6.35.

So which coffee had the lowest acid? That was objectively answered by the scoring for the independent 3rd party lab. The analytical report from Certified Laboratories can be seen above.

 A final note about transparency. We take everyone’s claims that they are low acid at face value. Since there is not any agreed upon standard of what constitutes a low acid coffee, who am I to be the arbiter of what is low acid. However, I have developed my own criteria over the years to make an informed evaluation from my experience, customer feedback, scientific journals, and lab tests, which I think many might find helpful in selecting a low acid coffee. You can read about that here.

I must say, transparency was lacking in almost every regard among the coffee roasters we examined. Mavericks was the only company that provided documentation, including certificates and analytical reports, including information about how they produce their low acid coffees. Some coffee companies made many claims, which we are sure are true, but there was not any documentation given and in most cases the independent lab could not verify. That is not to imply an dishonesty among any roasters, after all we about talking about a seed of a fruit. Crops change from year to year. Roasts can change from roast to roast.  All the more reason, to test your product and test it often to make sure that you are meeting you customers expectations.

As I mentioned all of these coffee were acceptable, buy they taste did vary widely. I am not finished with my analysis. This is going to be an ongoing effort. As we find more low acid coffees will be appending this report to bring you the most current, comprehensive, and helpful information on the internet concerning low acid coffee. Is there a low acid coffee we missed? Please let us know and we test that coffee as well.  Thank you to all the roasters. They did not know we were doing this, but I thank them for  have taken the time to produce a low acid coffee.

-Ryan

Shipping Efficiency:  Yes.
Product Mix: Moderate.
Transparency: Low
Organic: Yes. 
Documentaion: No documenation was provided.
Low Acid: Yes. Claimed pH of 6.18 on website. 
Documentation: No documentation was provided. We could not verify that score. The independent lab scored it at pH of 5.7.
Shipping Efficiency:  Yes.
Product Mix: Moderate.
Transparency: Low
Organic: Yes. 
Documentaion: No documenation was provided.
Low Acid: Yes. Claimed pH of 6.18 on website. 
Documentation: No documentation was provided. We could not verify that score. The independent lab scored it at pH of 5.7.
Shipping Efficiency:  Yes.
Product Mix: Moderate.
Transparency: Low
Organic: Yes. 
Documentaion: No documenation was provided.
Low Acid: Yes. Claimed pH of 6.18 on website. 
Documentation: No documentation was provided. We could not verify that score. The independent lab scored it at pH of 5.7.

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