Is Tea Acidic or Alkaline? Unlock The Truth

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Adenike Eketunde
Adenike Eketundehttps://www.wikidoc.org/index.php/Adenike_Eketunde
I am a health enthusiast with a degree in medicine and public health. I have over 5 years of experience working in the clinical and non-clinical setting. I have experience in medical writing and review with published articles on PubMed.

Do you like to start your day with a sip of very strong tea? A cup of tea helps to keep you cheerful and active all day long. But your stomach can’t take it if you drink without considering your health issues!

Due to some acidic components, many of you have a concern: is tea acidic?

Mostly, teas are mildly acidic. Black tea has a pH level of 4.9-5.5 which is moderately acidic and lemon tea is nearly 3 which is considered strongly acidic. Again, green tea and white tea are slightly alkaline with a pH level of 7-10. Overall, the pH range of tea is between around 3 to 10.

However, the acidity of tea depends on the tea types, brewing temperature, time, mixing ingredients, etc. Keep reading to learn more details about the acidity of tea.

Is Tea Acidic or Alkaline?

Teas are a little bit acidic. Besides, several teas have mild alkaline properties too. Typically the pH level of teas varies from 3 to 10. So, tea can be acidic and alkaline too. Whether tea is acidic or alkaline which totally depends on the tea types, leaf types, making duration, heat, herbs, etc.

Most of the common teas are acidic. For example, the black tea which is acidic for the 4.9-5.5 pH level, Oolong tea has 5.5 – 7, lemon tea is nearly 3, and pu-erh tea has pH of 5.01-5.72. So, now the question is why do teas have acidic properties mostly?

Well, tea contains multiple organic acids such as tartaric acid, oxalic, malic, citric, tannic acid, and five more acid components. These play the vital role in making teas acidic.

To understand the acidic level or alkaline genre, you must know about the pH scale. Where a pH level less than 7 is considered acidic. And, more than 7 is regarded as alkaline(basic) nature.

pH Of Acidic Components of Tea
pH Of Acidic Components of Tea

pH of Tea : Defines Acidity and Alkalinity

Typically, there are 6 types of tea based on the tea leaf processing system such as black tea, green tea, white tea, yellow tea, Oolong tea, and last but not least pu-erh tea. The acidic property also varies from type to type too.

Here depicting the pH levels for different types of tea in the below table.

TypespHAcidic/Alkaline
Black Tea4.9-5.5Slightly Acidic 
Green Tea7-10Neutral To Alkaline
White Tea8 – 10Neutral To Alkaline
Yellow Tea6.9-9.7Neutral To Alkaline
Oolong tea5.5-7Slightly acidic to neutral
pu-erh tea5.01 – 5.72 (source)Slightly acidic
Table 1 – pH Levels Of 6 Different Types Of Tea

In addition, you may have your preference in adding other ingredients like milk, spice, herbs, honey/sugar, etc.

pH of different types of tea

So, the pH level is also dependent on the other ingredients you mix when making a cup of tea. For instance, black tea is not that much acidic, it will become highly acidic after adding lemon juice in it. Because lemon juice contains a high amount of acidic properties.

Now, presenting a chart of pH level when you add different ingredients along with tea. Take a look-

Ingredients pHTea Type 
Lemon Tea~ 3Strongly Acidic
Lemongrass Tea5.8 – 6.3Slightly Acidic 
Tea with Honey6.84 approx.Slightly Acidic 
Ginger Tea7-7.4Neutral
Chamomile Tea6 – 7Slightly Acidic  to neutral
Hibiscus Tea6.5 – 6.8Slightly Acidic 
Cinnamon Tea8-10Basic/alkaline 
Mint Tea6 – 7Slightly Acidic to neutral
Rooibos Tea6 – 7Slightly Acidic to neutral
Fruit Tea (Berries, Raspberry)6.2 to 7.4Slightly Acidic to alkaline 
Iced Tea> 4Acidic
Milk Tea6-7Slightly Acidic
Table 2 – pH Level After Mixing Ingredients with Black Tea

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Why Should You Know The pH Level of Tea?

The above discussion is about the nature of different types of tea. Now you may ask why you should know which tea is acidic and which is alkaline. Because you may face digestion problems, and acid reflux, as well as your teeth, can be damaged if you drink high acidic tea regularly. Not only that, but you may also experience heartburn if they are too acidic. 

On the other hand, less acidic teas are good for curing cold coughs, and headaches. For instance, green tea can work as an agent of anti-inflammatory.

Again, excessive alkaline tea can cause diarrhea, vomiting, etc. So, it’s beyond description why you should be concerned about the acidic nature of tea.

In one line, to keep yourself active, joyful, and fresh without any health issues.

Related Article:

Are Apples Acidic and Good for Acid Reflux? [pH-wise]

5 Factors Affecting Acidic Property of Tea

We already mentioned several factors that affect the pH level of tea. When you add acidic ingredients it will make your tea more acidic.

Again, when you add alkaline content to your tea, that can reduce the acidic properties. In addition, the pH level is also dependent on the water, tea types, amount, temperature, and making duration. So, if you can balance these factors, you can make less acidic tea easily. Have a look-

1. Water

The water is neutral, its pH is 7. Though hard waters are alkaline, on the other hand, soft water is regarded as acidic.

So, while you are making tea, make sure it’s in contrast with the water. That means, when you make acidic tea like lemon tea, pu-erh tea, or oolong tea, you should use hard water to make a proper balance. Similarly, when you make white tea or use cinnamon, the water should be soft.

But make sure your water is not too soft, nor too hard while making tea.

2. Packaging Type

Using loose tea or tea bags is also a game changer. The loose teas are less acidic than the tea bags. Because the tea bag contains crushed tea leaves. They can release flavor so easily and quickly. But the loose tea leaves need more time to let out. For this reason, those tend to be more acidic than the loose, full grainers.

3. Leaf amount

It’s simple if you use more leaves, that will make tea highly acidic. For example, you use 4 teaspoons of tea leaves for 1 cup of water. That will definitely be highly acidic.

So keep the amount moderate to taste better as well as make it healthy.

Different types of Tea

4. Brewing time

Mostly, you need 2 to 5 minutes to make a perfect cup of tea. Though it depends on the amount, taste buds, and other ingredients also. In general, extended brewing time is also responsible for increasing the acidic nature.

5. Temperature 

Like the brewing time, high temperature is also responsible for increasing the acidic nature of tea. For various types of tea, the temperature also varies. Usually, you can make tea at 150ºF to 180ºF. In this circumstance, if you use a high temperature for an extended period, tea will be more acidic.

Have a look at the below table to know more specifically – 

TypeTemperature (F/C)
Black Tea210ºF/100ºC
Green Tea165-175 ºF / 75-80ºC
Oolong Tea175-185 ºF / 80-85 ºC
Herbal Tea210ºF/100ºC
White Tea150-155 ºF/65-70 ºC
Pu-Erh Tea~195°f /90°c 
Milk Tea170-185 ºF/ 76 – 85 ºC
Table 3 -Temperature For Brewing Tea (2-5 min)

So, if you ask how to make less acidic tea. Then, you should be concerned about these factors while making tea. Maintaining the right amount of water, tea leaves, duration, and temperature will keep the tea acidic level lower and balanced.

What Is The Impact Of Tea Acidity On Acid Reflux?

Is Drinking Tea Causing Your Acidity

If you are experiencing the symptoms of acid reflux or just aware of it, you should not drink too much highly acidic or high caffeinated teas or coffees. More caffeine means it will increase the acid in your stomach. At the same time, the caffeine will relax your LES (lower esophageal sphincter) which also triggers heartburn.

Again, there is a component named theophylline found in black tea which also does the same thing as caffeine. With moderate acidity, this component makes the lower esophageal sphincter relaxed which results in the backup flow of the stomach acids. As a result, you will suffer from acid reflux. 

So, you should drink green tea, ginger, or white tea instead of any highly acidic tea. That will reduce the chances of heartburn. 

Is Acidic Tea Harmful To Teeth?

Definitely, acidic tea is harmful to your teeth. When you drink acidic tea like fruit tea, lemon tea continuously, it can damage your teeth’ enamel. Also, using too much sugar, honey and oxidized tea leaves can cause cavities. 

Some of you have the habit of drinking tea between meals. You may not be aware of it, but this habit also damages your teeth by producing acids. 

However, swishing or holding tea or coffee in your mouth can also cause damage to your teeth gradually. Kids and old are the real sufferers of this. 

Again, immediate bruising after drinking a cup of tea or coffee can also affect your teeth. As tea/coffee is acidic, they loosen the newly weakened enamel. When you brush your teeth, they come out and gradually make rough cracks and chips on your teeth.

Moreover, avoid too hot or too cold coffee if you love your teeth and want to keep them healthy for a long time.

Is Acidic Tea Safe During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?

Drinking higher acidic tea is not safe for pregnant women also. Besides, they should avoid herbal teas to get rid of stomach issues, sleep problems, and nervousness. In that case, black tea, and green tea are safer options for them. 

Though more than 300mg of caffeine intake is not recommended for pregnant women. In addition, excess tea intake can cause headaches, anxiety, uterine contraction, and other pregnancy complications. 

However, breastfeeding moms can drink tea with a limited intake of 250-500ml or 2-3 cups per day. However, decaffeinated tea is a great option for them which won’t cause insomnia.

Is Acidic Tea Safe During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Is It Good To Drink Tea Or Coffee During Periods?

Drinking tea or coffee might help to manage and reduce the pain during this period. However, not all types of tea or coffee will help you. Drinking ginger tea, thyme tea, oolong, or green tea can reduce menstrual cramps. But consuming highly acidic tea, caffeinated tea, or too much intake before or during the menstrual cycle can worsen your menstrual cramps by narrowing blood vessels. So, limit your intake during this time to get rid of this struggle. 

Does Acid In Tea Affect Bone Density?

It’s not clearly proven but long-term habitual acidic tea intake can affect your bone density. However, herbal teas like oat straw tea are alkaline and they can enhance your calcium innate.

At the same time, this tea can create a defense against osteoporosis, releasing the luteinizing hormone of our body. This hormone can help in cell growth and make our bones stronger. 

However, avoiding acidic tea will be a good decision if you have a family history or other risks associated with bone loss. 

Acidic Tea Vs Alkaline Tea: Which One Should I Drink? 

Slightly acidic tea is okay if you won’t exceed your daily intake. For adults, the recommended daily intake of tea is approximately 3–4 cups (710–950 ml). However, alkaline teas are beneficial for your body in terms of neutralizing the acidity in the body.

After drinking alkaline tea like green tea or white tea, they help to balance and maintain the pH level of our body.

However, you should not drink too much acidic tea or higher alkaline tea. Higher acidic tea will damage your teeth, create problems during pregnancy, and also cause GERD. On the other hand, highly alkaline tea can cause dry skin, irritation, or an upset stomach.

FAQs

Is Tea Ok To Drink With Acid Reflux?

It depends. Mostly, you should not drink tea when experiencing acid reflux. That can make your GERD problems worse if you drink high acidic tea like lemon tea or fruit tea. However, a moderate amount of herbal tea like ginger tea or decaffeinated tea can help to reduce acid reflux.

Can Drinking Tea Cause Acidity?

Yes, drinking tea can cause acidity. It contains a component called theophylline which is commonly responsible for acid reflux in esophageal. Also, you will experience acidity if you are not aware of the pH level of tea, tea types, brewing process, and time.

What Kind Of Tea Is The Least Acidic?

Black tea, green tea, pu-erh tea, and oolong tea are the least acidic. Besides, some fruit tea and herbal tea e.g. cinnamon, mint, and chamomile tea are also less acidic. And, their pH range is between 4.9 to 8.

Is Tea Less Acidic Than Coffee?

Yes, most teas are less acidic than coffee. So far, the pH level of coffee is 4.85 to 5.10. Typically, black tea, green tea, white tea, and herbal tea have a less acidic nature. On the other hand, lemon tea or iced tea is more acidic than coffee.

Can Children Drink Tea?

Children over 2 years can drink unsweetened tea like herbal tea but not more than 1-2 cups per week. If your children are more than 4 years old, their caffeine intake can be around 45mg. That means they can drink a cup of decaffeinated tea or black/green tea. However, it’s not recommended to provide tea to your 12 months old kids anymore. 

What Type Of Tea Can A Diabetic Drink?

Diabetics patients can drink unsweetened black tea, green tea, and herbal tea for their anti-diabetic properties. However, according to NCBI, drinking 4 cups of tea can reduce the 20% risk of affecting type 2 diabetics. 

How To Lower The Acidity Of Your Tea?

Adding water or a pinch of salt can reduce the acidity of your tea. You may wonder, but adding milk can make lower acidic tea. Milk can cut the catechins and epicatechins antioxidants of tea and make acidity balanced. Also, using fresh tea leaves in less brewing time can reduce tea acidity.

Is Tea Better For Your Stomach Than Coffee?

Yes, tea is more gentle for our stomach than tea. Most coffee is more acidic than tea which can cause digestive problems as well as upset your stomach. Even the acidity of coffee can promote acid reflux and ulcers too.

Does Tea Make Urine Acidic?

Acidic tea makes the urine acidic. At the same time, it causes irritation in the urinary tract. Mostly, black tea and other high acidic teas are responsible for increasing the hippuric acid in urine. That results in kidney stones, diabetic ketoacidosis, diarrhea, etc.

Wrapping Up

Now it’s time to wrap up. Hopefully, your queries on “is tea acidic” are clear after the whole discussion. So far, you can neutralize the acidic property of your tea to reduce the chances of any side effects.

Therefore, you can limit your daily intake of tea if you can’t maintain the factors to reduce the acidity of tea.

Feel free to comment with any queries or suggestions.

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