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.
Tea Acidity & Tooth Pain
If you’ve experienced tooth ache after drinking tea, this is could also caused by acidity. You may validate this by drinking a cup of hot water. If this isn’t causing any pain, then you’ve excluded the possibility of sensitivity to any hot liquids. In such a case, it’s the acidity in tea that is likely causing tooth ache. We recommend to visit a dentist to solve the underlying case.
Diane HopperJanuary 11, 2020 at 7:23 am
I want to know how to reduce the acid level of decaf tea leaves. Whether I brew for 3 minutes or 5 minutes it is highly acidic. My daughter thought I had added lemon juice (which I hadn’t) and told me it was too acidic.
teasenzJanuary 11, 2020 at 9:48 am
First of all, you need to go for the right type of tea. Green tea is already hardly acidic, and when you go for a decaf option, it won’t be acidic at all. Decaf black tea can still be slightly acidic. In your case, I believe it must be a black tea. My recommendation is to first brew the tea for 30 seconds and discard the brew. Then steep again to drink. Such quick rinse will reduce acidity further.
Note: while decaf tea is less acidic it also contains less antioxidants.
George C.September 20, 2021 at 7:26 am
A simply written post without all the nonsense. Thanks for the clear info. It seems I’ll have to switch from black to green tea:)
teasenzSeptember 20, 2021 at 7:36 am
We’re glad to hear this was useful to you! What’s important though is that green tea is less forgiving for the stomach. So make sure not to drink on an empty stomach.
KylezoJanuary 17, 2022 at 8:39 am
Rinsing the tea does *not* wash away the majority of caffeine. There are plenty of papers you can read that explain this, doesn’t take much research. At the very least I’d suggest a correction or removing that bit. There are also drastic differences between different types of tea and steeping methods. It’s very nearly impossible to dismiss simply because it’s pretty complex, but a good approach might be “The longer you steep the tea, and the higher the temperature, the more caffeine gets released.” What you wrote here is almost exactly the opposite of the truth
teasenzJanuary 17, 2022 at 10:20 am
Kylezo, you’re right that rinsing doesn’t wash a way the majority of the caffeine. Our statement in the article is not about rinsing, but actually discard a full steep with a longer brewing time than rinsing. That said, I understand the confusion, and we’ll try to adjust the sentence.