Being a black tea lover myself, I was wondering whether black tea is acidic or not. I find it hard to drink black tea the first thing in the morning, like other acidic beverages, because of regurgitation and heartburn. I had to find quick answers to this burning problem because otherwise, I might get ulcers in my stomach or affect my oral health. I did not want to give up on my favorite drink, black tea, in the world, so I was able to find the most exciting facts.
Black tea has a PH value between 4.9 to 5.5 which indicates that it is slightly acidic. Black tea’s acidity is due to its acidic compounds called oxalates, citrates, and tannins. However, the preparation method, how frequently you drink black tea, and other additions for black tea changes its acidity.
However, evidence suggests black tea is better than any other acidic tea in terms of oral health. Although black tea is slightly acidic, you need not worry about it because there are many ways to eliminate that acidity.
What is the PH level of black tea?
PH is the scale that we use to measure the acidity of any material. When the PH value of 7 is considered neutral such as in water. PH value less than seven is deemed acidic, as in lemon juice, and PH value above seven is deemed alkaline like in caustic soda.
When we measure the black tea acidity, we will get a number between 4.9 – 5.5. PH values below seven are considered to be acidic. So, now you can see why black tea is considered slightly acidic. The more the tea tastes sore, the more acidic it is.
However, if you add lemon juice to the black tea, the PH level will drop even further. This is because lemon is more acidic.
So, when you combined these two, you will get a more acidic tea. However, the acidity in lemon black tea will not harm you if you only drink around 2 cups of tea per day. Also, the steeping time might affect the acidity of black tea.
What causes acidity in black tea?
Black tea is acidic due to the acid content in black tea, such as oxalates, citrates, and tannins. So, the more you steep your black tea, the more acids in your black tea brew. This will create more acidic black tea.
So, if you are worried about the acidity in black tea, you can steep the tea for a lesser time, such as for 5 minutes.
Tannins in black tea are the reason for the astringent and bitter taste of black tea. This is why people began to believe that black tea could be acidic.
However, do not be fooled by the taste alone when judging about acidity. The more flavorful tea that is not bitter has higher acidity than black tea, such as fruit teashttps://www.longdom.org/open-access/the-ph-and-neutralisable-acidity-of-the-mostconsumed-turkish-fruit-and-herbal-teas-2247-2452-9-411.pdf. However, older, more tender, and weak black teas are more acidic.
How can we minimize acidity in black tea?
The acidity of black tea can reduce by adding a more neutral medium to black tea, such as water, or adding milk to black tea. If you are more concerned about the acidic effect of black tea, those might be the right tips for you.
You can minimize the acidity by reducing the steeping time, as mentioned before, to around 2 – 5 minutes. If you brewed for more than 5 minutes, tea would release more acid into the water. You do not need to exceed steeping time to more than 5 minutes.
You can also avoid adding mint, lemons, and other types of fruits to tea to increase the acidity in teas.
Is black tea good for acid reflux?
Tea can cause acid reflux. There is a disease condition called Gastrointestinal Acid Reflux Disease (GERD). This disease occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not close appropriately after eating food. GERD occurs when you take foods or drinks such as black tea that can irritate your stomach.
The gastric acids can come through the esophageal sphincter and damage your esophagus after eating those gastric irritants. So, people with GERD should avoid gastric irritants that can cause these burning symptoms.
Black tea is one of the most common things that can cause GERD symptoms. So, if you have GERD, you can either avoid drinking acidic, caffeinated drinks such as black tea, coffee or add milk to tea.
Adding milk to tea can bind with the gastric irritants in black tea or coffee, and you will not experience heartburn after drinking. Try this next time rather than drinking plain black tea!
Is black tea better for teeth than acidic soft drinks?
According to ADAReddy A, Norris DF, Momeni SS, Waldo B, Ruby JD. The pH of beverages in the United States. J Am Dent Assoc. 2016 Apr;147(4):255-63. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2015.10.019. Epub 2015 Dec 2. PMID: 26653863; PMCID: PMC4808596., drinks with a PH between 2 – 4 are hazardous for your teeth. However, as I mentioned before, black tea has a PH of around 4.9 – 5.5. According to one studyhttps://www.nature.com/articles/4800974.pdf?origin=ppub, the main anions in tea solutions were oxalates and citrates.
After drinking black tea, the researchers measured the PH of the participant’s tooth surface. It only indicates 1 PH unit drop. The maximum decreased the PH to 5.45. However, the PH levels of the tooth surface were restored in 2 minutes after drinking black tea!
So, this indicates that you do not have to worry about black tea being acidic to drink. This suggests that you can use black tea instead of acidic drinks that cause tooth erosionEhlen LA, Marshall TA, Qian F, Wefel JS, Warren JJ. Acidic beverages increase the risk of in vitro tooth erosion. Nutr Res. 2008 May;28(5):299-303. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2008.03.001. PMID: 19083423; PMCID: PMC2516950.. Besides being less acidic, black tea can benefit oral health by having an appreciable amount of fluoride.
For good oral health, you can change the way you drink tea by not keeping tea for a long time before swallowing, avoiding swishing tea in your mouth, and avoiding brushing your teeth just after drinking any acidic tea or drink.
Your teeth’ enamel becomes soft after drinking something acidic. So, if you brush after consuming something acidic will damage your teeth’ enamel.
What about the acidity of other types of teas?
There are many types of teas around the world. Some of them are black teas, green teas, white teas, fruit-flavored teas, and herbal teas. In terms of acidity, herbal tea is the least acidic.
Following are some teas with their acidity level,
|Blackberry, rosehip tea
|2 – 3
|4.9 – 5.5
|6 – 7
|Chamomile, fennel, mint
|6 – 7
|7 – 10
As you can see, fruity and less bitter teas can have more acids in them. While herbal teas have a neutral PH indicting, they are like water, with no acids or alkaline.
Black tea vs. coffee acidity
Coffee is less acidic than lemon tea and more acidic than black tea. In one analysisTesting the pH of common drinks using DrDAQ as a pH meter, black tea is found to have 6.37, and coffee had an acidity of 5.35, indicating that coffee is more acidic than black tea.
This might differ according to the types of coffee and black tea you are taking and where you are taking it.
In conclusion, Black tea is a slightly acidic beverage we all consume. However, when compared to other teas, such as fruit teas, it has less acidic content. Generally, you do not have to worry about the slight acidity of black tea unless you have oral cavity problems or GERD.
Since black tea restores your tooth surface acidity after 2 minutes of drinking black tea, there is nothing to worry about. Also, practice good habits when drinking black tea, as mentioned above. If you are someone with GERD, be careful since black tea can cause heartburn; add milk to black tea and try.
Most importantly, drink black tea within a limit. DO not exceed 4 cups of black tea per day for the safe side.