When comparing filter coffee with a pH around 5 and soluble Arabica coffee with a pH around 6, that is quite a difference. Can you tell me if it makes a difference filtering the coffee with alkaline activated water?
Manfred M.: In your book: “Service Handbuch Mensch”, you show in a drinking comparison chart that coffee is an acidic drink. From filter coffee at ca. pH 5 and soluble Arabica coffee at ca. pH 6 the difference is quite vast – yet I don’t want to drink a soluble coffee! Can yo tell me if it makes a difference filtering the coffee with alkaline activated water?
- These are for many people downright existential questions, because they want to give up everything, just not coffee. I receive a lot of questions regarding this subject and I would like to give a detailed answer.
- Yes, coffee is sour, as well as varied. Robusta coffee beans, which are mixed into filter coffee blends – these are cheaper – are the sourest, Arabica coffee is more alkaline than most mineral water. Regarding the acid/alkaline balance one should opt for the more expensive Arabica bean.
- I am speaking of basic black, unsweetened coffee. Additives like milk, cream or sugar can change the values of your special properties.
- Also the method of preparation plays a role with the pH values. The most acidic is Turkish coffee/Greek mocca. When the coffee powder mixes with the boiling water and does not get separated, most of the acids go over to the water. Since this mix is usually offset with sugar, the acidic taste is masked. Also filter coffee has a relatively long contact time with the powder, so it is correspondingly acidic. The least contact time is with Espresso/Café Crema, and has a correspondingly low acidic burden. Instant Arabica Espresso is mixed by experts optimally and dissolves immediately. The pH level varies according to the used water.
- If you use alkaline activated water, you can marginally push the pH value up with each preparation method, since coffee is a strong acid buffer liquid, which through water, similar to stomach acids, hardly gets disrupted when acidic in character. There are a couple of other points that speak against cooking coffee with alkaline activated water: Fresh alkaline activated water is rich in minerals and harder than regular tap water. Therefore you have to decalcify your kettle or coffee maker more frequently because if not, when heating more minerals fall out. Also when heating normal tap water minerals fall out as limescale.
- More sensible would be to mix the fallen out minerals with the coffee powder. With a small trick you can buffer up the activated water stronger, in which a neutrally tasting, calcium rich mineral powder (1/2 teaspoon) is mixed with it. The result, for example is a Café Crema from the Espresso machine with a difference of 0,5 pH in favour of the buffered coffee powder. Also the Crema gets stronger. There is no discussion about the taste, yet coffee connoisseurs know that calcium is a wonderful taste and aroma carrier and therefore and prefer, contrary to tea preparations, hard water. Especially if they have very soft water at home, then the trick with the mineral powder helps.
- The answer to your question is thus actually done, but I allow myself pointing out that acidification is not even the main problem with coffee. Because coffee, in the worst case, is not as acidic as most other daily, favourite drinks and is not consumed in such large quantities, such as cola, fruit nectars, lemonades or beer. We even know that a single cup of coffee can bring the salivary pH down, but this is also quickly compensated if you continuously drink not more than 1 to 2 cups a day – best espresso.
- The real health issue when it comes to coffee is its antioxidant content. Although by roasting the green beans there is a loss of a lot of antioxidants, but there still remain plenty of antioxidants during the gentle and slow roasting of the more expensive varieties.Americans are not known for their healthy and balanced diet. Fruits and vegetables as a supplier of antioxidants tend to be more of an exception in their diet. Therefore, there is according to a study in 2005, actually coffee is by far the most important source of antioxidants for the population. In Europe there is fortunately a health orientated food culture, so that coffee can only be regarded as a luxury and doesn’t lay a role as an antioxidant supply.The antioxidant power of alkaline activated water can be seen, like with coffee, because of its low or even negative ORP. With various coffee samples we have measured values between + 157 mV (espresso macchiato cup from the refrigerated section) and – 285 mV (instant coffee, alkaline activated water pH 9.5 / -350 mV, heated by a microwave). In an ordinary heating method (electrical stove, coffee maker, kettle), the use of alkaline activated water does not cause a reduction of the ORP in coffee, as all heating methods destroy obviously faster the redox potential compared to the coordinated water molecules of a microwave. Nevertheless, with an electric espresso machine we have prepared freshly ground Café Crema – no matter with which water we used to prepare it – we measured an average of -70 mV ORP.
- If you just want a cool, caffeinated soft drink, I recommend my method: Two cups of espresso with 1/2 teaspoon powdered mineral additive (like calcium carbonate) produced in the machine. Place fresh alkaline activated water in the soda machine to carbonated it. Pour the Espresso into a glass with the 0.5 liters of activated soda water. Add some ice cubes if you wish. Delicious, very rich in antioxidants, lightly carbonated, sour, bitter and aromatic. This is anything but “cold coffee”, rather Coke for coffee lovers! For me, of course, without sugar or sweetener.