Coffee and its effect on acid reflux – Vitamins and Supplements Online Canada - Shop With Free Shipping

Free Shipping - Buy 2+ Products, Get 20% Off With Code "VORST20"

Coffee and its effect on acid reflux

Coffee and its effect on acid reflux

Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines, including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.

Table of Content

  • Introduction
  • Understanding Acid Reflux
  • Impact of Coffee on Acid Reflux
  • Factors Contributing to Coffee's Effects
  • Types of Coffee and Their Influence
  • Mitigating Coffee's Effects on Acid Reflux
  • Alternative Beverages for Acid Reflux 
  • Conclusion

Acid reflux, a common gastrointestinal disorder, affects millions worldwide, causing discomfort and disruption to daily life. This condition occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, leading to symptoms like heartburn, regurgitation, and chest pain. While various factors contribute to its occurrence, dietary choices, including consumption of certain beverages like coffee, play a significant role. Understanding the relationship between coffee and acid reflux is essential for managing symptoms effectively and improving quality of life.

Understanding Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) weakens or relaxes inappropriately, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. This acid irritates the lining of the esophagus, leading to uncomfortable symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing. Chronic acid reflux can cause complications like esophagitis, ulcers, and even esophageal cancer if left untreated.

Impact of Coffee on Acid Reflux

Coffee is a widely consumed beverage known for its stimulating effects, but it can also exacerbate acid reflux symptoms in some individuals. The high acidity of coffee can irritate the esophagus and trigger reflux episodes, leading to discomfort and worsening of symptoms. Additionally, coffee can relax the LES, further promoting the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus.

Factors Contributing to Coffee's Effects

Several factors contribute to coffee's impact on acid reflux, including its acidity, caffeine content, and the presence of certain compounds like catechols and N-alkanoly-5-hydroxytryptamides (C-5HTs). These compounds can stimulate acid production in the stomach and relax the LES, increasing the likelihood of reflux episodes. Furthermore, drinking coffee on an empty stomach may intensify its effects on acid reflux, as it can lead to more significant acid production and faster gastric emptying.

Types of Coffee and Their Influence

The type of coffee and its brewing method can also influence its effect on acid reflux. For example:

Roast Level:

  • Light Roast: Lighter roasts tend to be more acidic compared to darker roasts. The prolonged roasting process of dark roasts reduces the acidity, making them gentler on the stomach for some individuals.
  • Medium Roast: Medium roasts strike a balance between acidity and flavor, making them a popular choice among coffee enthusiasts. They may be tolerated well by some acid reflux sufferers but can still trigger symptoms in others.
  • Dark Roast: Dark roasts have the lowest acidity among coffee varieties due to the extended roasting process, which caramelizes the sugars and reduces the acidity. As a result, they are often recommended for individuals with acid reflux as they are less likely to cause irritation or trigger reflux episodes.

 Brewing Method:

  • Hot Brewed Coffee: Traditional hot brewed coffee is prepared by steeping coffee grounds in hot water, extracting the flavors and oils. This method tends to produce a more acidic beverage compared to cold brew or espresso.
  • Cold Brew Coffee: Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, typically 12-24 hours. This method produces a smoother, less acidic coffee with a milder flavor profile, making it a preferable option for those with sensitive stomachs.
  • Espresso: Espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans under high pressure. While espresso is bolder in flavor, it is also more concentrated and can be more acidic, potentially exacerbating acid reflux symptoms in some individuals.

Decaffeinated Coffee:

  • Decaffeinated coffee undergoes a process to remove most of the caffeine content while retaining the flavor and aroma of regular coffee. While decaffeinated coffee may seem like a suitable alternative for individuals with acid reflux, it's essential to note that it still contains small amounts of caffeine, which can contribute to reflux symptoms in some cases.

Specialty Blends:

  • Low-Acid Coffee: Some coffee brands offer specialty blends marketed as low-acid or acid-neutral coffee. These blends are typically created using specific coffee bean varieties or processing techniques that reduce acidity while preserving flavor. They may be a preferable option for individuals with acid reflux seeking a milder coffee experience.
  • Acid-Free Coffee: Acid-free coffee varieties are processed to remove virtually all acidity, making them extremely gentle on the stomach. However, these coffees may sacrifice some flavor complexity compared to traditional varieties.

Single-Origin vs. Blends:

  • Single-Origin Coffee: Single-origin coffees are sourced from a specific region or farm, allowing for distinct flavor profiles influenced by factors like soil composition, climate, and altitude. While these coffees can vary in acidity depending on the region and processing method, they offer unique tasting experiences for coffee enthusiasts.
  • Coffee Blends: Blended coffees combine beans from different regions to achieve a desired flavor profile. Blends can vary in acidity depending on the types of beans used and the roasting process. Some blends may be formulated to be lower in acidity, making them more suitable for individuals with acid reflux.

Mitigating Coffee's Effects on Acid Reflux

Several strategies can help mitigate the effects of coffee on acid reflux. These include opting for low-acid coffee varieties, such as dark roasts, and limiting consumption to smaller amounts. Diluting coffee with milk or non-dairy alternatives can also help reduce its acidity and lessen its impact on reflux symptoms. Additionally, avoiding coffee consumption on an empty stomach and refraining from drinking coffee late in the day can help minimize reflux episodes and improve symptom management.

Alternative Beverages for Acid Reflux 

For individuals with acid reflux, there are several alternative beverages that are gentler on the digestive system. Herbal teas, such as chamomile, ginger, and licorice root tea, have soothing properties that can help alleviate reflux symptoms. Decaffeinated coffee or tea is another option for those looking to reduce their caffeine intake without sacrificing flavor. Additionally, consuming water or alkaline-based drinks like coconut water can help neutralize stomach acid and provide relief from heartburn and discomfort.


In conclusion, understanding the relationship between coffee and acid reflux is crucial for managing symptoms and improving quality of life for individuals with this condition. While coffee can exacerbate reflux symptoms due to its acidity and caffeine content, making informed choices, such as opting for low-acid varieties and moderating consumption, can help mitigate its effects. Exploring alternative beverages and implementing lifestyle modifications can further support symptom management and promote digestive health. By taking proactive steps to minimize the impact of coffee on acid reflux, individuals can enjoy their favorite beverage without compromising their well-being.

References and Resources