Are you a coffee lover, but hate experiencing its acidity? If so, adding cinnamon to your coffee might be the low acid coffee hack to make your morning cup of Joe more enjoyable.
Cinnamon has been used for centuries as a home remedy and spice, and recent scientific studies have identified numerous benefits of adding it to coffee. In this article, we’ll review the health benefits of cinnamon, why you should add it to coffee, and other low-acid tricks you can use. Plus we'll share the best brands of coffee beans to pair with cinnamon.
So if you're looking for a better coffee experience, read on to discover the power of cinnamon and how to hack your coffee for a smooth, low-acid cup of coffee.
- What Makes Coffee Acidic?
- Organic vs Conventional Coffee
- Problem With Acidity
- Effects of Acidity
- Dental Health
- Digestive Health
- Benefits of Adding Cinnamon to your Coffee
- Incredible Benefits of Cinnamon
- What Type of Cinnamon to Use?
- How to Choose the Right Cinnamon
- How to Use Cinnamon in Coffee
- More Ways to Make Coffee Less Acidic
What Makes Coffee Acidic?
The acidity of coffee is related to the many natural acids in coffee beans. Some of these acids include citric acid, quinic acid, acetic acid, lactic acid, phosphoric acid, linoleic acid, chlorogenic acid, palmitic acid, and malic acid. When heated and brewed the acids convert into chlorogenic acids or CGAs. These acids mixed with the naturally occurring caffeine contribute to the bitter taste that coffee is famous for.
Despite increasing coffee's acidity levels, the CGAs in coffee have been linked to positive effects. CGAs have antioxidant properties that help to reduce free radicals that cause damage at the cellular level.
If you have heard of the health benefits of coffee, tea, and yerba mate, this acid is one of the many reasons why! Chlorogenic acid also helps with weight loss, preventing heart disease by reducing high blood pressure, improving brain function, regulating blood sugar levels, preventing liver damage, and more.
Organic vs Conventional Coffee
Another contributing factor to the acidity of your coffee may very well depend on how it was grown. Conventional coffee plantations utilize high levels of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and more.
These acidic chemicals absorb into the plant and it is not able to be completely washed off. The chemicals transfer into the grinding and brewing process and likely transfer into the coffee. This is one of the main reasons it is highly important to purchase organic coffee.
Organic regulations prevent a vast majority of highly toxic chemicals used in soils and on plants and crops. The lack of toxins makes organic coffee far healthier for you than its conventional counterparts with higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many people say that after switching to organic coffee, you can taste the difference. Conventional coffee is almost always highly acidic coffee.
There are a few other factors including the type of coffee, the altitude of growth, the brewing method, and the water temperature that all affect the acidity of the coffee. Read on to find out more below. But first, what is the problem with acidic foods and drinks?
Problem With Acidity
A Ph scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 1 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. Numbers below 6 are considered acidic and The human blood needs to maintain a Ph balance between 7.35 and 7.45.
Naturally, there are pros and cons to being both "too alkaline" and "too acidic" which is why we must maintain a balance. Some acidic foods are good for us in certain ways and bad in other ways. For instance, citrus fruits are highly acidic on their own, but once ingested convert to being alkaline.
Many foods range in Ph levels, including fruits and vegetables. Many fruits and vegetables are more on the acidic side but often contain acid-neutralizing vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that end up promoting an alkaline environment as opposed to the acidic one.
The problem tends to happen with diets that include large amounts of highly processed foods that have been treated with chemicals. Sugar and animal products also tend to be highly acidic. This is why it is important to eat minimal animal products and always pair them with fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.
Effects of Acidity
The body not only struggles to break down these unnatural ingredients but also uses a great number of resources to neutralize the acidity. In order to maintain its specific Ph, the body pulls stored resources from within itself. This often includes pulling from bones, including your teeth. Over time, this may lead to degeneration and related health problems.
When the body struggles to neutralize a large amount of acidity in the body, it often results in lowered ability to send oxygen to its cells in order to heal and repair itself. The weakened defenses often lead to inflammation and other vulnerabilities. In fact, cancerous tumors thrive in an acidic environment. (source) A great way to heal when faced with the throes of cancer treatments is maintaining a highly alkaline diet as cancer cells cannot survive in an alkaline environment!
Additionally, drinking large quantities of acidic drinks such as coffee, tea, soda, and some juices may affect the health of your teeth.
When left on your teeth, the acids cause erosion and degeneration of the teeth similar to sugar. It is especially important to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth each time after consuming acidic foods and drinks.
Many people have experienced an upset stomach, diarrhea, heartburn, acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) after a cup of their favorite morning coffee. The feeling is similar to eating an excessive amount of spicy foods.
For some, it may even trigger stomach acid to come up into the throat when the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes at the wrong time. This is what typically causes these symptoms and if not remedied can lead to damage to the esophagus.
This painful side effect is enough for most people to start the search to preserve their favorite morning ritual. Some may search for ways to buy low-acid coffee beans for their coffee or lower acidity in their current coffee. Or both! Whatever method you choose, we are here for you! Let's get to it!
Benefits of Adding Cinnamon to your Coffee
What does cinnamon have to do with lowering acidity? At very high levels cinnamon can be acidic, but in small quantities, cinnamon is actually a natural antacid.
Due to its high antioxidant content, this popular spice has not only a unique flavor but an incredibly healthy remedy to many acidic coffee-related symptoms.
The addition of cinnamon is an easy way to neutralize acidity without compromising the benefits of the antioxidants in high-quality coffee drinks.
In fact, a teaspoon of cinnamon after a meal helps to reduce acidity and aid in digestion. So go ahead and add cinnamon to your coffee as an easy way to prevent acid reflux and other symptoms related to acidic foods.
Incredible Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon has a range of health benefits due to its unique antioxidant compounds. Cinnamic acid, cinnamaldehyde, and cinnamate are three of the chemical compounds that influence the vast majority of benefits in high-quality cinnamon.
These compounds aid in digestion, neutralize free radicals, balance blood sugar levels, neutralize acidity, decrease inflammation, may prevent Alzheimer's disease, and may slow the growth of cancer cells.
Cinnamon is most popular for its recent studies involving blood sugar regulation for those with type two diabetes.
Many health and wellness companies have even added cinnamon to their health food blends and have developed supplements with cinnamon or its extract as the main ingredient.
It is important to note there are several different varieties of cinnamon that contain different chemical compounds that affect its effectiveness and potential side effects.
What Type of Cinnamon to Use?
The type of cinnamon makes a major difference in its benefits. The majority of cinnamon products sold in stores are highly processed which means the cinnamon is stripped of its natural healing properties.
The cinnamon is also often cut with fillers, preservatives, and other artificial ingredients. Sadly food producers have cut corners and produced more of a food-like product in the name of cost and time-saving efforts.
In order to reap the full benefits of cinnamon's anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-acidic properties we must consider the process and source.
Companies with a good reputation for the care of their products and consumers often use organic processes and include zero additional ingredients in the spice.
Note: Some small companies do not have the money to purchase the expensive USDA organic certification that comes on organic labels, but still follow organic guidelines. Researching the company and its methods helps to determine the quality of the product you are considering.
How to Choose the Right Cinnamon
First, it is important to read to ingredients label. There should be no other ingredient besides CINNAMON. The cinnamon ingredient may have a modifier to identify which variety of cinnamon.
Second, choose the right variety. Ceylon cinnamon has been found to have the highest and most beneficial antioxidant activity as opposed to its counterparts. The majority of cinnamon on the market is cassia cinnamon.
Studies have shown that cassia cinnamon contains higher amounts of a compound called coumarin.
Coumarin is known to cause liver damage in sensitive individuals including small children and those with liver issues. In order to avoid this potential pitfall, opt for Ceylon cinnamon.
Ceylon is a far higher quality product that comes from Sri Lanka. It is important to be prepared for a bit of a price difference.
The availability of the conventional forms of cinnamon is much easier to mass produce and, thus cheaper.
A higher quality product usually involves more care in the process to preserve its precious medicinal properties!
How to Use Cinnamon in Coffee
In order to reap the benefits and create a low-acid cinnamon coffee, simply add a dash of cinnamon to your cup of coffee. It doesn't take much cinnamon to experience its many benefits.
You may also consider adding a cinnamon stick to your drink instead of dissolving the powder into your coffee. This will produce a lovely cinnamon aroma, especially with hot coffee.
Another method would be to add a small amount of ground cinnamon to your coffee grounds before brewing.
More Ways to Make Coffee Less Acidic
- Purchase low-acid coffee beans. Low-acid beans are produced in low altitudes and roasted at a lower temperature for longer periods of time. The lighter roasts are produced with less heat in a shorter period of time. Dark roast coffee is heated longer or at high temperatures. Dark roasts tend to be less acidic than their light roast counterparts. Arabica beans are a variety of coffee beans with the lowest acidity. If low-acid coffee is your goal, be sure to check the origin of the beans to ensure the best quality and lowest acidity.
These methods produce far less acid than their traditional counterparts. For some reason, high altitudes produce higher acidity. Similarly, higher roasting temperatures or longer roast times reduce acid as well.
Note: Some companies may add ingredients that claim to lower acidity. It is important to buy organic coffee to avoid the use of potentially toxic ingredients used in the process of production.
2. Use alkaline water when brewing your pot of coffee. Alkaline water can help to reduce acidity and improve the Ph of your coffee. Many water specialty stores and grocery stores sell alkaline water. This water typically has a higher Ph than conventionally purified water. Alkaline water should have a Ph of 8 or 9.
3 . Use a pinch of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) Baking soda is highly alkaline and helps to neutralize the acid in liquids. It only takes a small amount and should not alter the taste of your coffee
4. Consider using plant-based milk as your creamer. Almond milk or coconut milk is rich in alkalinizing minerals and can help reduce acid in your cup of coffee in the morning. Be sure to minimize sugar as sugar can be very acidic. Check the ingredients in your milk and avoid any extra additives. Homemade plant milk is always best!
5. Cold brewing coffee produces a far less acidic product. If you can control the temperature of the water, ensure the temp is 195-215 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Use paper filters over mesh or plastic. The filtering of the paper reduces acidity during the brewing process as well.
7. Add a pinch of pink Himalayan salt. Pink Himalayan salt is rich in every essential and trace mineral needed by the body. These minerals are alkalinizing. A tiny pinch of salt is all you need and like the other methods presented here, should not affect the coffee taste.
8. Use a fine grind of coffee. The finer the grind, the less acidic the coffee will be! Check out this helpful coffee grind size chart for more info!
Check out this article to learn more about the comparison of acidity in tea vs coffee!
Whether you want to preserve your dental health, reduce acid reflux, consume a more alkaline diet, decrease inflammation, or simply boost overall health, you can still consume your beloved cup of coffee by adding cinnamon to your coffee regimen. If cinnamon isn't your jam or you want some additional acid-reducing tips, there are plenty to choose from! Have you tried cinnamon in your coffee or made reduced-acid coffee? How did it work for you? Let us know in the comments!