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Is Tea Acidic? Factors Affecting PH Level in Tea

The PH level of tea is important for those who suffer from heartburn and acid refluxes. In such a cause it’s important to understand what affects the acidity level of tea.

Tea like other foods and beverages have an acidity level. Unless your doctor told you to adjust your diet due to heartburn or acid reflux, you probably have never heard of acidity levels in tea.

Tea and Acid Reflux

Acidity is measured by PH levels. Every food and drink have different PH levels. Therefore, what you eat or drink can affect your overal PH level. So, to avoid or reduce the affects of acid refluxes, one need to control the PH value. This can be done by avoiding as much as possible acidic food and drinks, while adding more alkaline food to your diet.

So is tea acidic? The generally tea is less acidic than coffee. A cup of black tea is mildly acidic, while green tea can range from mildly acidic to alkaline. However, ph levels can also vary within a tea type and there’s a wide range of ph levels observed among the many research publications. The observed PH levels ranges per type of tea are as follows:

  • Black tea: 3.1-6
  • Oolong tea: 5.9-8.2
  • White/Yellow:Green tea: 6.9-9.7

The reason for the large variation in observations is because the actual PH level of tea will depend on many factors than just the tea type!

Factors Affecting PH Level

Other factors than tea type that affect the PH level includes: the amount of leaves used, whether you use a tea bag or loose leaf tea as well as the temperature and steeping duration applied.

The amount of leaves

The PH level of a cup of tea is basically the combined averages of water (ph neutral) and brewed tea leaves. If the tea that you’re steeping is acidic, it means the more leaves you use, the more acidic your cup of tea becomes.

Tea bags versus loose tea

Tea bags generally consists of broken and crushed tea leaves. Therefore, tea bags tend to release more flavour in one go. A good quality loose leaf tea will consists out of full leaves and buds. They tend to release their flavour and acidity over many brews. Therefore a cup of tea made from tea bags tend to be more acidic.

Temperature and duration

Assuming the tea that you’re preparing is acidic, the brewing temperature and duration will positively affect acidity.

Caffeine in tea & heartburn

What is heartburn? What is GERD?

Heartburn is a term that described acid reflux symptoms that can cause cough, chest pain and/or burning. Occasional heartburn can easily with home remedies, diet and lifestyle changes. However, heartburn might also be chronic. In such a cause it’s caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which requires more serious medication and treatment.

What’s also important to consider is caffeine in tea. Caffeine tends to relax the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). This allows the acid in your stomach to go back up the esophagus, causing heartburns.

You may switch to decaf coffee/tea or teas with very low caffeine levels. To further reduce the caffeine levels, you discard the first steep of your tea. Majority of caffeine content is washed away in first steep.

Obesity & hernia

There’s evidence that heartburn and acid reflux could be caused by obesity or lower back problems. While tea may be mildly acidic, it’s excellent as a weight loss beverage. In addition, it’s anti-inflammatory and bone strengthening effects can also reduce the chance of hernia in the lower back. Thus, consuming tea in moderations can still be beneficial.



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