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Baking Soda In Coffee: Is It A Thing?

Have you ever heard about adding baking soda to coffee? 

It’s not exactly common practice, but there are a few articles out there explaining why people choose to season their coffee grounds with the pantry staple. So why should you add baking soda to coffee?

There are some potential benefits, ranging from making the coffee easier on sensitive stomachs to improving the taste of your coffee. Still, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider before taking the dive. 

Today we’ll be looking over why and how to add baking soda to your coffee.

baking soda in coffee

Common Uses For Baking Powder

Most of us have a container of baking soda hanging around in the pantry or fridge for various reasons. 

It’s a great chemical leavener in baking (hence the name), interacting with various ingredients to deliver fluffy pancakes and light, airy cookies.

It also does a great job of absorbing odors that can occur in closed environments like the fridge and freezer, and it works to take some of the effort out of several cleaning tasks like scouring pots and pans and cleaning drains.

But why should you put baking soda in coffee? To answer that question, we’ll need to delve a little deeper into what baking soda is and how it works.

Baking Soda Is Alkaline

pH Scale

Just about everything that exists in the world–and certainly everything we eat and drink–falls on the pH scale.

From acidic to neutral to basic/alkaline, the proportions of different subatomic particles define how acidic or alkaline a given substance is.

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) falls on the alkaline side of the scale, with a pH of 8. 

As you can see from the chart, it’s not strongly alkaline–for example, bleach has a pH of 11 to 13, which is a big part of why it’s dangerous to let it come into contact with your skin or internal organs.

Coffee, on the other hand, is acidic. 

At 4.85 to 5.10 on the scale, it’s not as dangerous as the acids in your stomach or some industrial acids. 

Still, it definitely can have an impact–and one that you can feel more strongly if you’re already susceptible to acidic food and beverages. 

Therefore, adding baking soda to coffee can help you adjust the Ph of the cup of coffee you’re about to drink, with a range of benefits that you can taste and feel. 

The mild alkalinity of the baking soda counteracts the mild acid of the coffee, bringing it closer to neutral and potentially helping to manage conditions like acid reflux and gum problems.

The Use Of Baking Soda In Coffee

So why should you put baking soda in coffee? 

If you have no problems with stomach acid or sensitive teeth and gum problems, you might just enjoy trying it because of the flavor component. 

But there are potential health benefits you can get from just a little pinch of this cheap and accessible compound.

For those sensitive to the higher acidity of certain foods and beverages, one way of mitigating the situation is to find ways to reduce the acidity levels in what you eat and drink. 

For many who have developed acid reflux, this has meant putting a moratorium on coffee–but some coffee lovers have discovered that adding a little bit of sodium bicarbonate into their coffee beans helps.

baking soda

While lower-acid coffee beans certainly exist, they are almost exclusively in darker roasts, which are not to everyone’s taste. 

Adding a pinch of baking soda to the grounds before brewing can be a good alternative if you tend to prefer light roasts but want something to make them less acidic.

There aren’t very many studies specifically on the impact of adding sodium bicarbonate/baking soda to coffee as an acid reducer. 

But, several reports have documented that the common chemical is safe for use as an emergency treatment for sudden-onset heartburn or acid reflux symptoms since it directly neutralizes the acid rising up in the esophagus.

Whether you just find coffee too acidic to fully enjoy, or you have stomach or dental problems that make it outright uncomfortable, there’s definitely merit and evidence to suggest that adding baking soda in coffee will help you get more enjoyment out of your cup of coffee.

Related Read: Low Acid Coffee

How Much Baking Soda Should You Use?

The good news is that it doesn’t take very much baking soda to get the effects you’re looking for. You really only need a pinch of the powder, or at most a teaspoon, in order to partially neutralize the acid in your coffee.

It’s also important to emphasize that it’s a better idea to add sodium bicarbonate to your ground coffee rather than to your cup itself.

It’s very easy to add too much to the cup of coffee you’re about to drink, and by adding a small amount to a large volume of coffee you’re brewing, you’re less likely to have unpleasant flavors.

In fact, one benefit of adding baking soda to your coffee can be to make it taste less bitter.

Why?

Because sodium blocks the receptors on the tongue for bitter flavor compounds, this occurs while enhancing the action of the receptors for sweeter flavors. 

So you might get a better-tasting cup of coffee on top of potential health benefits.

Too Much Baking Soda Side Effects

There are a few things to look out for when you’re using baking soda in your coffee and potentially unpleasant side effects that you might encounter if you use too much.

It is very possible to overdose on baking soda, although it’s somewhat less likely when it’s already been mingled with an acidic ingredient. According to researchers, here are some side effects to look out for:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating/feeling too full
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle spasms
  • Vomiting
  • irritability

If you’re drinking a lot of coffee or adding too much baking soda to the coffee you drink, you may run into some of these on a milder level.

There is also the early sign of unpleasant flavor in your coffee. 

Adding too much of the compound tastes salty and metallic, which is not at all what you want in your brew. So practice moderation, and you’ll be fine.

Wrapping Up Baking Soda In Coffee

Whether you have a sensitive stomach, don’t like the sourness that coffee can carry with it, or just want to moderate the amount of acid in your diet, it can make a lot of sense to put a little baking soda in the coffee you drink.

Yes. Sodium bicarbonate can help to neutralize the negative aspects of coffee. But it’s important to add it in moderation–too much can have a negative effect. 

As long as you’re using it properly, there’s no reason not to give it a try!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Baking Soda In Coffee Good For You?

It can be! 

Baking soda can help neutralize the acidic compounds in coffee, making it easier on your stomach. 

It’s important to stick with baking soda, and not baking powder–which has an acidic ingredient in it already.

Will Baking Soda Take The Bitterness Out Of Coffee?

A small amount of sodium bicarbonate in coffee can help to block your tongue from detecting the bitter compounds in the brew since the sodium blocks those receptors.