To many people, the whole point of enjoying a cup of coffee is because of the caffeine. That nostalgic aroma is close to childhood memories, coffee shop conversations, and college late-night study sessions.
Plus, there’s nothing quite like the first sip of this caffeinated beverage that provides a surge of energy for many people to start their day, get through that afternoon slump, or whiz through a night shift.
However, what happens when you take the caffeine away? Is the beloved bean rendered useless? While it’s up to each individual to decide whether they’d like to pursue the decaffeinated version of coffee, there are a few factors and questions to dive deeply into.
Is Decaf Coffee Acidic?
Technically, decaf coffee is still acidic. Coffee contains phenolic acid. When the coffee is decaffeinated, this also decreases the amount of phenolic acid in the beverage.
This subtraction impacts the amount of acid content that’s found in decaf versus caffeinated coffee. Studies also have shown that drinking decaf coffee can help with stomach acid issues.
Acidity is measured using the pH scale, ranging from a highly acidic “0” to a completely basic “14.” A pH level of 7 is neutral. So, the lower the number, the higher the acidity. Any number above seven is considered alkaline.
Is Decaf Coffee Just As Acidic As Regular Coffee?
However, it’s not nearly as acidic as regular coffee. This is why it’s an excellent alternative for those who still want the taste and flavor of coffee without the negative impact of acidity.
To provide context, consider the amount of caffeine in a regular cup of caffeinated coffee compared to decaffeinated coffee. Decaffeinated coffee contains around 3 mg per cup.
A regular cup of caffeinated coffee contains anywhere between 70 mg and 140 mg per cup. This is a significant difference to factor in. However, it also sparks the idea that there’s more to coffee’s acidity outside of the caffeine.
Does Decaf Coffee Cause Acid Reflux?
When a person experiences the discomfort of acid reflux, a few other components come into play. While decaf coffee can provide its small share of the blame related to acid reflux, it’s not the main culprit.
Some studies point out that other smaller components within coffee cause acid reflux, and caffeine is not the leading cause.
After conducting a study on several patients who suffered from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), researchers saw that decaffeinated coffee reduced the impact of discomfort or acidity within patients compared to when they consumed regular coffee.
Even though caffeine content may vary by roast type, you should also consider overall caffeine consumption. For example, many coffee drinkers drink several cups per day. If you find that caffeine aggravates your symptoms, you might want to opt for a darker roast.
Is Decaf Coffee Safe To Drink For Someone With Chronic Acid Reflux?
If chronic acid reflux is a significant concern, eliminate caffeinated beverages and switch to low acid coffee beans. Decaf coffee beans are also available for someone who really loves coffee, struggles with highly acidic drinks, and still wants the health benefits associated with coffee drinking.
Although drinking coffee comes with many benefits, one should be aware of the side effects of drinking more than the recommended (1-4) cups a day.
Does Decaf Coffee Cause Heartburn?
Some research is inconclusive as it relates to heartburn and decaf coffee. It truly is a case-by-case predicament. Many people consume decaf coffee as a happy alternative because regular coffee causes heartburn, acid reflux, and more.
Others can’t handle it. If decaf coffee still proves to be a point of contention for your body, it’s a great idea to change how you prepare it. If you drink it hot, try cold-brewing it in the refrigerator overnight.
The process is longer, but it might provide some relief as you’ll be able to consume your favorite beverage without the pain or discomfort. To cold-brew coffee, add your coffee grinds to a glass of water.
Upon mixing the two, place the cup in the refrigerator to brew throughout the night. The brewing process will be complete by the morning as it slowly extracts the nutrients and flavor into the water for a potent coffee drink.
Or another alternative is to drink organic coffee, such as Arabica beans which are less acidic and help prevent heartburn.
What Does Decaf Coffee Taste Like?
The taste will vary from person to person. For most people, decaf coffee tastes a lot like regular coffee. It all depends on the type of bean a person is using.
It’s possible to find decaf versions of your favorite beans. It’s also better to go more in the direction of light roasts instead of dark roasts. Dark roasts are known to contain more acid.
Are There Any Health Benefits to Decaf Coffee?
There are plenty of health benefits of decaf coffee. One of the benefits is linked to how it’s prepared and consumed. For example, cold brew coffee provides a few unique benefits from hot coffee.
Cold brewing can lower acid levels in coffee by 67%. This makes it ideal for people living with acid reflux! It’s a different process, using cold water instead of hot water, which results in some chemical changes, like lower acid.
Heart disease is a major silent killer. There are specific compounds that can help lower a person’s blood pressure, stabilize one’s blood sugar, and reduce a person’s chances of getting heart disease.
If a person has high blood pressure, caffeine is a bad idea.
The decaf version can be a healthy alternative. The chlorogenic acids found in decaf coffee can help with decreasing a person’s risk for Type 2 Diabetes.
Just be mindful that if Type 2 Diabetes is a primary concern, don’t drown the coffee in tons of creamer, sugar, and artificial sweeteners. This will only sabotage your efforts.
If you’re looking to watch your waistline (weight loss), decaffeinated coffee that’s cold-brewed can provide many benefits. There are plenty of people who are riding the wave of intermittent fasting.
During the fasting period, unsweetened tea and coffee are welcomed. Furthermore, some scientists encourage people to consume the cold-brewed version of coffee and tea during the fasting cycle because it is much easier for the body to absorb these beverages’ fat-burning benefits.
If you’re looking to burn visceral fat (the unhealthy kind), in addition to practicing intermittent fasting, work on consuming cold-brewed coffee as you proceed in the fasting cycle.
Note: While cold brew coffee has lower acid levels, it also had lower levels of antioxidants as well.
If you’re breaking a fast at 10:30 am, and you start your day at 7:30 am, drink your cold-brewed, unsweetened coffee between the hours of 7:30 am and 9:30 am.
This will help you get as many benefits as you can before you break your fast. It’s not the most effortless adjustment for many people, but it can provide health benefits and potentially impact the amount of acidity the body experiences.
Is Decaf Coffee Healthier Than Regular Coffee?
If individuals look to decrease their caffeine intake for health purposes dramatically, decaf coffee will be much healthier than regular coffee.
When someone suffers from neurodegenerative diseases or wants to continue the aging process positively, a cup of coffee can help with prolonging the mental decline.
Chlorogenic acid is found in coffee (whether it’s decaf or regular). This acid is what helps with mental diseases such as dementia. Ultimately, decaf coffee has its fair share of benefits. Still, individuals must review and look at their own needs and desires to determine whether it’s worth a sip.
If you’re trying to decrease your intake of coffee yet you still love the taste; the decaf version can serve as a happy medium.
If you’re looking for less acid in your beverage and less caffeine for health purposes, this is an excellent option as well as you weigh the ups and downside, alternate regular caffeine for decaf to start.
A gradual transition can make it easier to create realistic expectations for yourself. Before long, you might get used to the decaf version and prefer it.