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Add One Pinch of Baking Soda to Coffee(Does These 4 Things)

Coffee is loved globally for its tantalizing aroma and the invigorating kick it provides. However, this cherished beverage is known to be acidic, with a pH of around 5, leading to an uncomfortable reaction in those with sensitive stomachs or specific health conditions, such as acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) [1].


But what if there were a simple pantry ingredient capable of toning down this acidity while improving coffee’s overall flavor profile? This article explores the magic that happens when you add baking soda to coffee.

The Science Behind Coffee’s Acidity and the Role of Baking Soda

Coffee beans inherently contain various acids that give the beverage its distinct flavor. Some of these acids, such as chlorogenic acids, may even have beneficial health effects like antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties [2]. However, an excessive amount can upset the stomach and lead to acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion [3].

That’s where baking soda comes into play. This ubiquitous kitchen ingredient, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is an alkaline substance. When it interacts with the acids found in coffee, it slightly alters the drink’s pH, making it less acidic. This trick doesn’t eliminate the acid completely — we wouldn’t want that because it’s what makes coffee taste like coffee. But the addition of just a tiny bit of baking soda can offer multiple benefits.

Sweeter Coffee with Baking Soda: Making Every Cup Worthwhile

When faced with bitter coffee, particularly from lower-quality or cheap coffee beans, most people resort to several methods to improve its flavor:

  • Brewing the coffee using filtered water
  • Adding milk, cream, or non-dairy alternatives
  • Adjusting the brew time
  • Incorporating sweeteners (i.e., sugar, honey, agave syrup, stevia, or artificial sweeteners)
  • Infusing spices (i.e., cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or ginger)
  • Adding a pinch of salt or even butter

While these tactics work, adding a smidgen of baking soda is an easier and less expensive alternative. This simple addition neutralizes the acids, reduces bitterness by altering our taste receptors, and ultimately enhances the sweeter flavors. As a result, even your inexpensive coffee can taste smoother and more satisfying.

Alleviating Stomach Discomfort: Coffee for Ulcer Sufferers

Coffee doesn’t directly cause stomach ulcers. Still, those living with this condition often report exacerbated stomach pain and other symptoms post-consumption [4]. This reaction results from coffee’s acidity, which may irritate the gastric mucosa.

Adding baking soda to your cup of coffee neutralizes the acids and lowers the acidity levels within the stomach. This adjustment can lead to an overall reduction in gastrointestinal discomfort related to stomach ulcers, making it possible for sufferers to enjoy their favorite caffeinated beverage without worry. This benefit is particularly helpful for coffee drinkers who prefer lighter roasts, which, according to Harvard University, are more acidic than darker roasts due to their shorter roasting process and lower temperature [5].

Baking Soda to the Rescue: Improving Heartburn, Acid Reflux, and GERD

Heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD sufferers may find significant relief by adding baking soda to their coffee. This method is supported by several healthcare professionals who recommend drinking a mixture of baking soda and water to alleviate these symptoms [6]. Sodium bicarbonate’s strong neutralizing ability is so effective that it’s used by pharmaceutical manufacturers in over-the-counter antacids and effervescent tablets.

Rather than rushing to the store for a remedy, adding a pinch or two of baking soda to your coffee could offer a more immediate and convenient solution to these unpleasant symptoms.

Regulating Uric Acid Levels: A Gout-Friendly Solution

According to the Hospital for Special Surgery, gout is a painful form of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream [7]. This condition leads to the formation of crystals in the joints, causing intense pain, tenderness, redness, and swelling.

Baking soda, with its alkaline properties, can help lower uric acid levels. A study published in the “Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism” journal found that oral sodium bicarbonate regulated urine pH and decreased uric acid crystals in urine [8]. Therefore, gout sufferers might find relief by adding baking soda to their daily cup of coffee. But, as with any home remedy, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before trying this alternative treatment.

An Economical and Calorie-Free Addition

Baking soda is an affordable and widely available ingredient. Even though its price varies depending on the brand and size, you can get a 1 lb (454 g) box for as little as $0.75 or as high as $3 . If you’re only using baking soda for your coffee, you can opt for smaller packages or baking soda packets. Baking soda’s shelf life is around six months after opening, so purchasing in smaller quantities will ensure it doesn’t go to waste.

Another benefit of baking soda is its zero-calorie content. Unlike whole milk, flavored creamers, caramel, or chocolate, baking soda doesn’t increase the caloric content of coffee. Therefore, it’s an excellent option for those seeking a healthier lifestyle without compromising a good-tasting cup of coffee.

Correct Dosage: How Much Baking Soda Should I Put in Coffee?

Knowing how much baking soda to add to your coffee is essential to prevent compromising its taste. You can add baking soda directly to the ground coffee beans before brewing or a single cup of coffee.

For brewing a full pot, add ½ tsp (2.84 g) to 1 tsp (5 g) of baking soda to the ground coffee beans. For a single cup, add a pinch or approximately 1/16 tsp (350 mg). This amount is sufficient to lower acidity, smooth out bitterness, enhance sweetness, and make the coffee easier on the stomach.

The table below provides a reference for how much sodium bicarbonate to use based on the amount of coffee you’re preparing:

Amount of CoffeeAmount of Baking Soda
Full-pot Coffee½ – 1 tsp (2.84 – 5 g)
½ Pot Coffee¼ tsp (1.42 g)
¼ Pot Coffee⅛ tsp (0.71 g)
Single Cup1/16 tsp (0.36 g)

Caution: Can You Add Too Much Baking Soda to Coffee?

While it’s unlikely, overdosing on baking soda can occur, resulting in unpleasant taste and certain gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, nausea, constipation, or an upset stomach. As per the guidelines mentioned earlier, ½ teaspoon is enough for a full pot of coffee, but you may add up to one teaspoon. You should not exceed this limit. The most effective way to avoid adding too much baking soda is by using precise measuring spoons or a food scale, adding the ingredient directly to the ground coffee beans prior to brewing. Excess baking soda can also result in a single, prepared cup of coffee, especially when using nonstandard measurements, such as pinches, smidgens, and dashes. It’s always safer to adhere to standard measurements to maintain a balanced taste.

Baking Soda’s Influence on Taste: Does it Enhance Coffee Flavor?

It’s normal to be skeptical about adding baking soda to coffee due to potential changes in taste. However, when used in the right amount, baking soda doesn’t negatively impact the flavor of coffee. Instead, it enhances the taste by reducing bitterness and highlighting sweeter flavors. This improvement is so pronounced that many health professionals recommend using baking soda to eliminate any bitter or sour tastes in the mouth [9]. This effect is due to baking soda’s ability to block bitter flavor receptors on the tongue. However, adding too much baking soda may introduce an unpleasant salty, metallic flavor, underscoring the importance of correct measurements.


Despite not being a conventional ingredient, baking soda is an incredibly effective addition to coffee, offering multiple benefits. Just a pinch can enhance the taste of your coffee, making it smoother, sweeter, and less bitter. It can also alleviate discomfort associated with heartburn, acid reflux, or stomach ulcers, and potentially assist in weight loss. Incorporating baking soda in your daily coffee routine doesn’t only let you enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, but it also promotes better health. It allows you to start your day with a comforting, enjoyable drink that’s both easy on your palate and stomach. Whether you’re looking to reduce the acidity of your brew, combat health issues, or simply savor a better-tasting cup of joe, a pinch of baking soda can make all the difference. Cheers to a healthier, tastier cup of coffee!

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