Which has more acid: coffee or tea?

In this text we will discuss whether coffee is more acidic than tea. In addition, we will discuss a little about the “acid” property of each of the drinks and the influences on the sensory part of the drink.

Which has more acid: coffee or tea?

Coffee is more acidic than most teas. Acidity is a chemical compound, and its presence will always affect the taste of coffee – for better or for worse.

For those who think that coffee, with its pH 5, is a very acidic food, it is nice to know that it is very close to some teas (pH 5.5) and far from citrus juices. It is also interesting to note that pressure extraction methods such as espresso tend to emphasize the acidity characteristic of coffee, which is often desired!

What is pH and what is its relationship to acidity?

pH is the acronym used for hydrogen ionic potential (or potency), because it refers to the concentration of [H+] in a solution. Thus, the pH serves to tell us if a solution is acidic, neutral or basic.

The pH scale varies between 0 and 14 at a temperature of 25ºC. If the pH value is equal to 7 (water pH), the medium of the solution (or liquid) will be neutral. But if the pH is less than 7, it’s acidic, and if it’s greater than 7, it’s basic.

What is acidity in coffee?

Acidity is an important sensory attribute in coffee as it creates the perception of a drink with greater liveliness, which is due to the presence of Citric Acid, which is the same found in fruits such as oranges and pineapples.

The coffee drink can have 5 different types of most important acidity: Citrus, Malic, Lactic, Phosphoric and Acetic. 

Citric acid originates in the respiratory process of all living beings, including the fruit and seeds of the coffee tree. The greater or lesser presence in the seed and, later, in the beverage can be defined by the place where the coffee plantation is located. 

There is a relationship between altitude and higher acidity content presented in the drink, that is, crops grown in higher altitude places, such as mountains, present greater acidity in the drink. 

This also explains why Conilon and Robusta drinks have less acidity in the drink, as they are grown in low-altitude places, even close to sea level.

The malic acidity, typical of apples and some pears, is also caused by the breathing of the coffee tree, but is characteristic of crops located at high altitudes, above 1,800m. 

It has the characteristic of presenting a lot of astringency, drying the mouth, and being a little uncomfortable. It is very common in coffee plantations in Central America and Colombia.

Lactic acidity is not natural to coffee. It originates from the process of removing the pulp that involves the seed by fermentation in tanks, very common in Colombia and Central America. Its presence, which gives a buttery perception in the mouth, makes drinks from very high regions, which are more acidic, more pleasant.

Phosphoric Acid is very special and rare, being characteristic of crops located in very high regions in Kenya, being one of the trademarks of their coffees. It’s exactly the same potent acidity found in Cola-type soft drinks, which leave your mouth slightly dry in addition to reacting with your teeth.

When very concentrated the acetic Acidity brings vinegary notes to the coffee, a defect, but when balanced, it gives notes of lime. This is one of the representatives of volatile acids, so they also build the aroma in the cup, while citric and malic are non-volatile, building in turn the flavor.

What influences acidity in tea?

The type of tea, how do you drink tea, how often do you drink tea and what do you add to your tea influence the acidity in tea. Black and green tea are generally less acidic than coffee. The acidity level of tea and coffee also depends on where you get it.

If you like tea, you might wonder if that means your cup of tea is hurting your teeth. Fortunately, it’s mostly fake. Homemade teas are not as acidic as fruit juices and other beverages.

But that damage also depends on other factors, including:

  • The type of tea
  • How do you drink tea
  • How often do you drink tea
  • What do you add to your tea

In general, the more “sour” a tea tastes, the more acidic it is likely to be. But a Turkish study found that fruit teas, which tend to be sweet, are more acidic than herbal teas.

Other factors that affect the pH level include:

  • How long do you drink your tea
  • How diluted is your tea}
  • Additives such as citrus aroma, milk and herbs

If you want a less acidic tea, a general tip is add more water as the addition of water to the tea reduces the acidity.


In this text we discuss whether coffee is more acidic than tea. In addition, we discussed a little about the “acidic” property of each of the drinks and the influences on the sensory part of the drink.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.