For many of us, coffee is an absolute requirement to begin the day. Unfortunately, for those with sensitive stomachs or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), coffee is a double-edged sword. Coffee's naturally acidic qualities commonly trigger symptoms of IBS. In this article, we cover a number of things you should know and lastly go over a list of our top picks for the best coffee for those who suffer from stomach issues. If you're not interested in learning more about the science behind the relationship between coffee and IBS and just want our top recommendation, check out our pick below (you'll thank us later).
Top Pick for Best Coffee for IBS
- High-Elevation Shade-Grown
- Single Origin and Low Acid
- Fairly Traded
- Very clean and pure coffee favor
- Hand-washed and Hand-picked
Coffee has been shown to aggravate (and sometimes cause) different stomach and digestive issues in folks. Many factors could be creating this agitation, including excessive acidity in coffee, the use of artificial sweeteners, and the use of dairy products. I've gone through the process of trouble-shooting health issues before and it's truly amazing how much of an effect sugar and dairy can have on your health.
Fortunately, this problem has been recognized, and several roasters have created exquisitely-tailored coffees that are gentle on the gut but strong on the taste buds. This article will showcase the greatest coffees on the market that are designed exclusively for those with sensitive stomachs.
How Does Coffee Effect Sensitive Stomachs?
Before choosing the best coffee for IBS, it is beneficial understand how and why different coffees have negative effects on digestion issues. The reality is that while coffee and IBS have tenuous relationship, coffee lovers who suffer from stomach issues don't necessarily have to give up their favorite morning brew.
Caffeine is the main culprit for triggering IBS symptoms. As such, coffee with high caffeine concentrations worsens IBS symptoms. The best type of coffee bean for IBS will usually be a bean of the Arabica variety as opposed to Robusta. Robusta coffee typically will have double the caffeine of Arabica.
Other caffeinated drinks such as tea, soda, energy drinks, and dark chocolate should be avoided when suffering from IBS. On the food side of things, breads, cereals, chips, cookies, and anything with dairy (especially) cheese should be avoided too.
Caffeine is well known for accelerating our cognitive processing in the morning, but it does more than that. Caffeine stimulates colon motor activities. These motor functions are responsible for how rapidly your colon releases waste. Coffee triggers the release of two hormones. The first is called gastrin which is released in the stomach. The second is called cholecystokinin which is released in the small intestines.
This means that some people's bowel movements may become accelerated, forcing them to rush to the bathroom after only a few sips of coffee.
Related Article: Why Does Coffee Make You Poop?
Furthermore, highly acidic coffee can wreak havoc on those who suffer from acid reflux disorders such as heartburn and Gerd (Gerd is a severe form of Acid Reflux Disease).
Coffee's acidic elements induce the stomach to produce excess stomach acids, which causes Gerd and heartburn symptoms to worsen. The more acidic the coffee, the more severe and acute the effects will be.
How Black or Decaf Coffee May Help
While we have a number of recommendations for specific coffees and brands for folks with different stomach ailments, there are a few universal truths regarding different ways to drink coffee and how it may affect your stomach.
To start off, try sticking to black coffee. Invariably, the best coffee for IBS will be black coffee.
When sugar is consumed in excess, it can become trapped in the intestines, where it ferments and causes gasses to build up.
Some artificial sweeteners contain compounds called “polyols,” which have a similar effect in the stomach by getting absorbed and releasing gas through fermentation.
Finally, every coffee contains some acidity, some more than others. It's how lighter roast coffees gain their bright and aromatic flavors. Darker roasts will typically be lower in acidity.
Unfortunately, these acidic elements stimulate the stomach to create its own acid, which irritates any heartburn or reflux issues. The more acidic the coffee, the more severe this side effect will be.
As unpleasant as it may sound to regular coffee lovers, switching to decaf can relieve persons with IBS. Caffeine, as previously said, accelerates the colon, speeding up bowel motions.
For those who refuse to consider switching to decaf, we offer a number of effective solutions. The best coffee for IBS will typically be low acid coffee taken without sugar or cream. If you want the ultimate IBS friendly coffee, try drinking decaf low acid coffee black.
Our picks for the best coffee for IBS and sensitive stomachs is listed below.
Best Low-Acid Coffees for Sensitive Stomachs
Lifeboost is our top pick for best coffee for IBS for a variety of reasons. They not only specialize in producing low acid coffee, but these beans are also among the healthiest and purest available!
These beans are single-origin 100% Arabica. They are handpicked by locally sourced farmers who specialize in sustainable farming, and at no point during the process are pesticides applied.
After being rinsed in natural spring water and then are sun dried.
Additionally, Lifeboost employs a third-party testing to ensure not only that the PH levels are low, but also that there are no mycotoxins or heavy metals present.
Fabula Coffee has been a fan favorite of ours here at Best Quality Coffee and for more than one reason. In addition to being organic, fair trade certified, mold free, and single origin, this coffee is the epitome of smoothness. It's very gentle on the stomach while boasting a flavor that will satisfy the taste buds of even the most uncompromising coffee lover. While all of their offerings are impressive, we specifically recommend going with their dark roast which sources specialty-grade coffee from Peru.
It offers delightful notes of roasted nuts and brown sugar making for a brew that's as inviting as it is smooth.
We recently published a Fabula Coffee review which we recommend that you read if you want to learn more about this low acid coffee brand.
Purity Coffee is a brand specifically focused on the health-conscious and uncompromising coffee lover. Their organic dark roast in particular was crafted for easy digestion while sourcing specialty-grade Arabica coffee beans. The flavor is incredibly clean and robust. A cup of Purity Coffee is chocked-full of prebiotic benefits to support gut health and antioxidants to boost overall wellness. Additionally, it's lower in acidity which is ideal for those with sensitive stomachs.
- USDA Organic Certified
- Demeter Certified Biodynamic
- Smithsonian Bird Friendly
- Rainforest Alliance Certified
Komodo Dragon Coffee is truly unique in that, despite its low acidity, the flavor retains fruity and aromatic undertones.
This medium roasted single-origin coffee is full-bodied and well-balanced, with chocolate and tobacco notes intertwined with a flowery profile. Grown in volcanic soil at elevations of 8,000 feet, these coffee beans more than live up to their reputation as an exotic and energetic variety.
Volcancia guarantees that their beans, which already have a low PH level, are roasted for longer periods of time to ensure that they are as low in acidity as possible.
Up next on this list of best coffee for IBS, we have Pureroast coffee. These beans, similar to Lifeboost coffee, provide many additional health benefits.
Pureroast not only contains 70% less acidity than regular coffee, but it also has 5% more antioxidants than your standard cup of joe. It has a deep, savory flavor with an exceptionally smooth aftertaste.
Following roasting, these beans are tested by scientists to ensure a low PH balance. The roasters and farmers clearly take pride in their job, and we believe the results truly speak for themselves. This coffee has also garnered very impressive reviews within the coffee community.
These single-origin, 100 percent Arabica coffee beans strike the perfect combination of robust and vibrant flavors, followed by a smooth and pleasant aftertaste. Dark roasted to perfection, this organic coffee is another great choice for those who want a great-tasting coffee that's easy on the stomach.
Because of its aromatic notes, it has nutty undertones with traces of rich chocolate that don't overpower its profile.
These beans are sourced locally and promote environmental sustainability. They are grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides and are non-GMO certified.
Kona Peaberry is our second selection from Volcancia. What distinguishes this is that it is made entirely of 100% Kona coffee, which is only farmed in remote areas of Hawaii's big island.
Because Kona coffee beans are so exclusive, the Department of Agriculture in Hawaii has certified them, ensuring their purity. In fact, these beans are so rare that they account for only 5% of the total crop yield when selected by hand.
Because of their rarity, these coffee beans are a little more expensive than your ordinary cup of coffee, but the flavor and quality are worth every penny.
Kona Peaberry has a distinctive flavor profile. It has a slightly floral taste, with bright and fruity notes, but it also has a slightly nutty presence that sips extremely smooth.
The coffee beans used already have a lower acidity, which aids in further reducing the acidity during processing.
Final Thoughts on Coffee and IBS
As you can see, there are several options available to you even if you suffer from different forms of stomach problems, such as IBS or acid reflux. Please note that this article is not to be considered medical advice and that you should consult your doctor if you're experiencing stomach pains.
Different coffees will benefit and affect people in different ways, depending on your palate and the severity of any gastrointestinal troubles. However, the coffees listed above are excellent places to begin your search for the perfect coffee for you…..and your stomach.