Is Instant Coffee Less Acidic Than Ground Coffee

Is Instant Coffee Less Acidic Than Ground Coffee

Why the Concern About Acidity in Coffee?

The acids in coffee are what give coffee part of the flavor and the zing. There are some people who suffer from acid reflux who are also avid coffee drinkers. And sometimes those people suffer from heartburn or acid reflux attacks after their favorite cup in the morning or if they have maybe had one too many cups throughout the day.

For those people, paying attention to the lower acid beans and choosing a larger grind is a worthwhile endeavor

Arabica and Robusta Coffee Beans Differ In Acidity Levels

The acid content in coffee depends on the type of bean used to make the coffee and the roasting method. It does not matter if the coffee is instant or ground for brewing.

Arabica beans are the most popular beans and make up 60% of the world’s coffee production. These beans are considered by many to be superior to Robusta beans because of flavor and lower acidity.

Arabica beans are more pleasant because they contain almost double the amount of sugar compared to Robusta beans and half the caffeine level. There are some low acidity Robusta instant coffees as well however.

Dark roasted coffee beans retain less acid than lighter roasts. The extra roasting time also develops a compound that blocks acid production in the stomach, according to the American Chemical Society.

Coffee beans grown in Brazil generally have less acid than beans from other regions. Beans grown at lower altitudes aren’t as acidic as those grown at higher altitudes as a rule, no matter where the beans originated.

The Size of Grind Matters Too

The size of the grind is usually determined according to the type of coffee maker and how quickly water flows through the coffee.

If you have a choice, choose coarsely ground coffee. This will have less acid than a fine grind. Therefore, a very simple way to reduce acidity is to choose a coarser grind in either instant or brewed coffee.

Acidity in Instant and Brewed Coffee

Often, Instant coffee is a large grind coffee so that when hot water is poured over the coffee, the brew is actually less acidic. However, this can be the same as with a large grind of brew coffee.

And the acidity is the same between both instant and brewed coffee. Both are smooth, tasty cups of coffee that are lower in acidity because of the size of the grind of the coffee.

Instant coffee that is made from Robusta beans will have lower acidity than instant coffee made from Arabica beans.

The same is true with brewed coffee.

Is Instant Coffee Bad For You?

Acid levels aside, surrounding instant coffee is much debate over health implications.

Most of these debates deal with its long term health effects and ingredients.

However, though instant coffee rarely beats brewed coffee for taste, its health effects and ingredients are nearly the same.


Acrylamide is a chemical that forms as a consequence of a chemical reaction between heat, sugars, and amino acids. This chemical has been linked to cancer in experiments using rats.

The bad news is that both instant coffee and brewed coffee contains acrylamide.

The good news is that acrylamide, despite experiments, has yet to be linked to cancer in humans.

If acrylamide was found to be a harmful substance, then instant coffee would be worse for you than brewed coffee, as it contains almost double the amount of acrylamide per cup of coffee.

Though, as of now this level of acrylamide makes instant coffee no worse for you.


Believe it or not, some avid coffee drinkers are affected negatively by excessive amounts of caffeine. This has these drinkers staying away from lighter roasts, but will it have them staying away from instant coffee?

Well, in fact instant coffee contains less caffeine than brewed coffee.

This lack of caffeine in instant coffee is a result of its production. Since it was brewed coffee liquid before, it has already underwent a caffeine reduction once before.

Now, being added into water again during the “brewing” process the caffeine reduces again.

Instant Coffee VS Brewed Coffee

When compared side by side, it is clear instant coffee lacks the balanced and flavorful profile that brewed coffee contains. However, for an individual looking to cut down on their caffeine intake, instant coffee could be the perfect solution.

Also in its favor, instant coffee can be taken on the go and “brewed” in most places. All you need to produce a cup of instant coffee is a cup, some instant coffee grounds, and hot water.

The only blemish on instant coffee’s resume, besides its lack of taste when compared to brewed coffee, seems to be its increased level of acrylamide. Though, for now acrylamide has still yet to be identified as harmful to humans.

So Can You Make Instant Coffee From Your Own Low Acid Coffee Beans?

Unfortunately, instant coffee cannot be made from regular ground coffee beans. This is mostly because instant coffee dissolves in water where as regular coffee beans will not.

Grinding up regular coffee beans and adding them to hot water would only result in a muddy beverage that you wouldn’t want to consume.

However, there is another way that instant coffee made using your favorite coffee beans may be possible.

Liquid Instant Coffee

Some individuals have had success making liquid instant coffee using regular coffee beans. Instead of pouring the instant coffee grounds into a cup with hot water, you mix one part liquid instant coffee with three parts hot water.

Here is how you can brew liquid instant coffee.

  1. Grind Your Beans

Take your favorite coffee beans and finely grind them. To achieve fresher results, make sure you are using the freshest beans possible. It is also important that you try to grind the beans a fine as you can.

Some individuals have reported that they have used this stage to experiment with mixing different coffee strands together to create their own perfect coffee match-up.

  1. Brew Your Coffee

You can make as large or as small of a batch as you would like. However, it is recommended that you add four times as much coffee as you normally would. This guarantees that every glass of instant coffee you brew is as strong as the first.

  1. All Your Coffee to Cool

Place your vat of brewed coffee in your refrigerator. The instant coffee should at least cool for 15 minutes before you remove it from the refrigerator and begin the next steps.

After your coffee has finished brewing you can add it to a clear glass container with a secure fitting lid.

  1. Prepare Your Instant Coffee

As needed or as desired. Boil water and mix it with your brewed coffee. Again, the recommended mixture is 1 part coffee and 3 parts hot water. You can also now add any creamer or sweetener if you desire.

You can see this post on doing this with cold brew which naturally creates a lower acidity level. Many people call this a cold brew concentrate which they can then use later on in concentrated form or for a low acid version of liquid instant coffee as described above.

What’s in Your Cup?

Whether you choose instant coffee, cold brew concentrate, or traditionally brewed coffee the magic bullet for acidity is not in whether the coffee is instant or brewed, but rather what bean is used and how the bean is ground to make the brew.

These are the keys to less acidic brew.

If you love instant coffee, you can find a less acidic coffee. By the same token, if you love brewed coffee, you can also choose a less acidic coffee. It’s up to you!

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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