Does Milk Make Coffee Less Acidic? How to Reduce Acidity

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A latte being poured into a cup of coffee with ease.
Table of Contents
A latte being poured into a cup of coffee with ease.

Key Takeaways:

  • Adding milk to coffee raises its pH level, reducing acidity and improving taste.
  • Milk helps neutralize the acids in coffee, resulting in a smoother and more enjoyable flavor profile.
  • Milk can prevent teeth stains caused by the high acidity of coffee and provide added nutrition with essential nutrients like calcium and protein.
  • Techniques such as brewing cold coffee, using eggshells, adding salt, or trying baking soda can further reduce acidity in coffee.

Does Milk Make Coffee Less Acidic?

Yes, milk makes coffee less acidic. Milk acts as a natural neutralizer, raising the pH level of coffee and reducing its acidity.

Can’t get through the day without your espresso, but struggling with unpleasant acidity? This may be due to a high pH level in your coffee, which can make it more acidic. In this article, we’ll dive into how adding milk to your brew can lower its acidity and improve its taste.

So pour yourself a cup and let’s learn more about making our coffee experiences smoother and healthier!

The pH Levels of Coffee

Coffee is inherently acidic, with a pH level generally ranging between 4.5 to 6, depending on the type and roast level of the beans used. It’s this acidity, influenced by factors such as origin, processing method, and brewing technique, that often contributes to coffee’s bright and complex flavors.

Acid levels can vary greatly among different coffees. Arabica tends to have fewer acid-forming components compared to Robusta species due to its chemical makeup. The longer roasting process also decreases the acidity in coffee by breaking down the citric acid present in fresh beans into more neutral compounds.

However delightful these acidic notes might be for some enthusiasts’ palates though it can sometimes cause stomach discomfort especially for those who are prone to GERD or acid reflux which is where adding milk becomes beneficial because it increases coffee’s pH making it less acidic overall.

Factors that Contribute to Acidity in Coffee

The acidity of coffee is influenced by several factors. One contributing factor is the type of beans used, as different varieties have varying levels of acidity. Another factor is the roasting process, with darker roasts generally having lower acidity than lighter ones.

Brewing methods can also affect the acidity, with certain techniques like cold brewing resulting in a less acidic cup of coffee. Finally, the water used for brewing can play a role as well, as hard water tends to result in more acidic coffee.

Understanding these factors can help you make informed choices when it comes to reducing acidity in your morning brew.

Types of Acids in Coffee

  • Coffee contains several types of acids, including chlorogenic acid, quinic acid, citric acid, acetic acid, and malic acid.
  • Chlorogenic acid is the most abundant acid in coffee and is responsible for its bitterness and acidity.
  • Quinic acid is also present in coffee and contributes to its sour taste.
  • Citric acid adds a citrusy flavor to coffee.
  • Acetic acid provides a slight vinegar-like taste to coffee.
  • Malic acid gives coffee a tart flavor similar to green apples.

Benefits of Adding Milk to Coffee

Adding milk to coffee not only enhances the taste and texture, but it also provides several benefits such as preventing teeth stains, adding extra nutrition, and potentially reducing the risk of cancer.

A person pouring latte into a cup of coffee to reduce acidity.

Improved Taste and Texture

Adding milk to coffee not only reduces its acidity but also improves its taste and texture. The creamy consistency of milk helps mellow out the strong, bitter flavors of coffee, giving it a smoother and more enjoyable flavor profile.

It adds a touch of sweetness that can balance out any acidic or harsh notes in the coffee, creating a well-rounded taste experience. The proteins and fats in milk add richness and body to the coffee, resulting in a thicker mouthfeel.

So whether you prefer your coffee black or with added milk, incorporating this dairy product can enhance your overall coffee drinking experience.

Teeth Stain Prevention

Adding milk to coffee not only enhances the taste and texture, but it can also help prevent teeth stains. Coffee is known for its ability to stain teeth due to its high acidity levels.

When you add milk to your coffee, it acts as a protective barrier against tooth discoloration. The calcium in milk helps neutralize the acid in coffee, reducing its staining effects on your pearly whites.

The proteins in milk form a layer over your teeth that prevents the coffee pigments from sticking and causing stains. So next time you enjoy a cup of joe with some milk, rest assured knowing that you’re not only improving the flavor but also protecting your smile from those dreaded coffee stains.

Added Nutrition

Adding milk to your coffee not only enhances the taste and texture but also provides added nutrition. Milk is packed with essential nutrients like calcium, protein, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to a balanced diet.

Calcium, in particular, plays a crucial role in supporting strong bones and teeth. By incorporating milk into your coffee routine, you can increase your daily intake of this vital mineral while enjoying your favorite beverage.

The proteins found in milk help slow down the absorption of caffeine in your body, providing sustained energy throughout the day. So go ahead and enjoy a creamy cup of coffee with milk knowing that you’re getting more than just great flavor – you’re nourishing your body as well.

Potential Cancer Prevention

Adding milk to your coffee not only enhances the taste and texture but also provides potential cancer prevention benefits. Milk contains calcium, which has been linked to a reduced risk of certain types of cancer, including colorectal and ovarian cancer.

Milk proteins have shown anticancer properties by inhibiting the growth of tumor cells. By incorporating milk into your daily coffee routine, you can enjoy its potential cancer-fighting effects while savoring a delicious cup of joe.

Techniques to Reduce Acidity in Coffee

To reduce acidity in coffee, you can try brewing cold coffee, using eggshells, adding salt, or experimenting with baking soda.

Brewing Cold Coffee

To further reduce acidity in your coffee, you can try brewing it cold. Cold brew coffee is known for its smooth and low-acid taste. Here are some techniques for brewing cold coffee:

  1. Coarse Grind: Start by grinding your coffee beans to a coarse consistency. This helps reduce the extraction of acids and other compounds that contribute to acidity.
  2. Time and Temperature: Unlike traditional hot brewing methods, cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in cool water for an extended period of time, usually 12-24 hours. The ideal temperature for cold brew is between 36-46°F (2-8°C), ensuring a slow extraction process that results in a less acidic beverage.
  3. Water-to-Coffee Ratio: Use a higher ratio of water to coffee when making cold brew. A common ratio is 1 part coffee to 4 parts water, but you can adjust this based on your preferences.
  4. Filtering and Straining: After the steeping process, strain the brewed coffee using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any remaining grounds. This will give you a smooth and clean cup of coffee.
  5. Dilute and Serve: Cold brew concentrate is typically quite strong, so it’s best to dilute it with equal parts water or milk before serving. You can also add ice cubes for a refreshing iced coffee experience.

Using Eggshells

Eggshells can also be used to reduce acidity in coffee. Here’s how:

  1. Crush the eggshells into small pieces.
  2. Add the crushed eggshells to your coffee grounds before brewing.
  3. The calcium carbonate in the eggshells will help neutralize the acidity of the coffee.
  4. Brew your coffee as usual and enjoy a less acidic cup.

Adding Salt

Adding salt to coffee is another technique that can help reduce its acidity. Salt is a natural neutralizer and can work to balance out the pH level of the coffee. Here’s how you can use salt to make your coffee less acidic:

  1. Start by brewing your coffee as you normally would.
  2. Once your coffee is brewed, add a pinch of salt to your cup or mug.
  3. Stir the salt into the coffee until it dissolves completely.
  4. Taste the coffee and adjust the amount of salt if needed, but be careful not to add too much as it may affect the taste.
  5. Enjoy your less acidic cup of coffee!

Trying Baking Soda

To further reduce the acidity in your coffee, you can try using baking soda as an alternative method. Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a popular household ingredient that has alkaline properties. Here are some techniques for using baking soda to reduce acidity in coffee:

  1. Add a pinch of baking soda to your ground coffee beans before brewing. The alkaline nature of baking soda helps neutralize the acids present in the coffee, resulting in a smoother and less acidic taste.
  2. If you’ve already brewed your coffee and find it too acidic, you can try adding a small amount of baking soda directly to the brewed coffee. Start with just a pinch and gradually increase if needed until the desired level of acidity is achieved.
  3. It’s important to note that while baking soda can help reduce acidity in coffee, adding too much may affect the flavor profile of your brew. Experiment with small amounts at first to find the right balance that suits your taste preferences.
  4. Remember to stir the baking soda well into your coffee to ensure it is evenly distributed and fully reacts with the acids.


In conclusion, adding milk to coffee can help reduce its acidity and provide numerous benefits. The calcium and proteins in milk act as binding mechanisms that neutralize the acids in coffee, resulting in a smoother taste and texture.

Milk adds essential nutrients and may even have potential cancer-preventing properties. By utilizing techniques such as brewing cold coffee or using milk alternatives like almond milk, you can further enhance the acidity reduction process.

So go ahead, enjoy your cup of coffee with some creamy goodness!


How does milk in coffee affect the acidity?

Milk in coffee can lower the acidity of the beverage. The milk has a higher pH level than coffee, so when it is added to the coffee, it can help to neutralize some of the acidic compounds present. This can result in a smoother, less acidic taste.

What is low acid coffee?

Low acid coffee refers to coffee that has a reduced acidity level compared to regular coffee. There are various types of low acid coffee available, and they are often marketed to individuals who experience acid reflux or stomach acid sensitivity. These coffees are made using specific roasting techniques or with coffee beans that naturally have lower acid levels.

How can I reduce the acidity in my coffee?

There are several ways to reduce the acidity in your coffee. One option is to choose a coffee brand that is known for its low acidity. Another method is to opt for dark roast coffee, as it tends to be less acidic than lighter roast options. Additionally, you can try adding a small amount of milk or cream to your coffee, as this can help neutralize some of the acids.

What is the acidity level of coffee?

The acidity level of coffee can vary depending on factors such as the type of coffee bean and the roasting process. On the pH scale, coffee typically falls in the range of 4 to 5, which is considered acidic. However, the acidity can be reduced by choosing certain types of coffee or adding substances like milk or cream.

Does dark roast coffee have less acid?

Yes, dark roast coffee generally has less acid compared to lighter roast options. The longer roasting process breaks down some of the acidic compounds present in the coffee beans. This results in a smoother, less acidic flavor profile.

Can adding salt to coffee reduce its acidity?

Some people believe that adding a small amount of salt to coffee can help reduce its acidity. However, the effect of salt on coffee acidity is minimal and may not make a significant difference in the overall taste. It is important to experiment and find the method that works best for your preferences.

What are some low acid coffee brands?

There are several low acid coffee brands available on the market. Some popular options include Puroast Low Acid Coffee, HealthWise Low Acid Coffee, and Lucy Jo’s Organic Mellow Belly Low Acid Coffee. These brands are specifically designed to have reduced acidity levels while still delivering a flavorful coffee experience.

How does coffee acidity affect the flavor?

Coffee acidity plays a crucial role in determining the flavor profile of the beverage. Higher acidity can result in a brighter and more vibrant taste, while lower acidity tends to produce a smoother and richer flavor. The desired level of acidity varies depending on personal preferences and the type of coffee being consumed.

Can low acid coffee still be flavorful?

Absolutely! Low acid coffee can still offer a flavorful and enjoyable coffee experience. While the acidity is reduced, the coffee flavor is not compromised. Many low acid coffee brands focus on using high-quality beans and precise roasting methods to ensure that the flavor remains intact, providing a delicious cup of coffee for those with sensitivity to acidity.

About the Author:
Oliver Bennett, a seasoned barista, focuses on the technical aspects of coffee-making. His journey from local cafes to specialty coffee shops has equipped him with skills in the science of coffee, from grind size to latte art. Oliver's articles and how-to videos delve into brewing techniques and coffee science, fostering a community of home baristas and elevating the home coffee experience.