Green tea may be neutral on the pH scale and have some amazing health benefits, but you need to know more to determine if green tea is suitable for you.
This article answers the question, “Is green tea acidic?”, explains what changes the acidity levels in green tea, and how acid levels affect you.
We’ll also reveal the health benefits of green tea and what can happen if you drink an excess of green tea.
What Is Green Tea?
Like black tea, green tea is another “true tea” from the Camellia Sinensis tea plant. Green tea differs from black tea in the way it is grown and processed, giving each tea unique colors and flavors.
Green tea leaves are grown in the shade, steamed then dried. This processing enhances the health benefits of green tea.
Is Green Tea Acidic?
Green tea has a neutral pH level, similar to water, and some people with acid reflux drink green tea without any harmful side effects.
Although there are some amazing health benefits associated with green tea, it’s not suitable for everyone.
If you have mild symptoms of acid reflux, you may be able to drink a cup of green tea without side effects. But if you have chronic acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease, green tea may not be for you.
Is Green Tea Suitable For An Alkaline Diet?
Followers of an alkaline diet avoid acidic foods and acidic drinks. If green tea doesn’t give you acid reflux or an upset stomach, green tea is suitable to include in an alkaline diet.
How acidity levels affect your digestive system
Acid reflux happens when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus or food pipe. You may also get heartburn, a burning sensation in your chest.
You may also have the following symptoms:
- chest pain
- stomach pain
- scratchy throat
- upset stomach
- bitter taste in your mouth
- weight loss
Common Triggers Of Acid Reflux Symptoms
Your lower esophageal sphincter is a band of muscle at the bottom of your food pipe (esophagus). It is supposed to stop stomach acid refluxing back into your food pipe.
If your lower esophageal sphincter is loose or something puts pressure on your stomach, you may get acid reflux.
Here are some causes:
- eating too much
- acidic foods
- acidic drinks
- high-fat foods
- citrus fruits and citrus fruit juices
- alcoholic beverages
- energy drinks
- carbonated drinks
- caffeinated beverages
- something tight around your stomach
If acid reflux is left untreated, it may become gastroesophageal reflux disease, a more severe condition.
pH Scale For Tea
The pH scale measures the acidity levels of different substances, including foods and drinks. pH values range from 1 to 14:
- pH 1 is the most acidic
- pH 7 is neutral, neither acidic nor alkaline
- pH 14 is the most alkaline.
The acidity of tea varies between brands and depends on growing conditions and processing. If you’re curious about the acidity of your favorite cup of tea, you can buy inexpensive pH test kits online.
The pH levels of true teas range from mildly acidic to mildly alkaline.
Most herbal teas are close to the neutral point on the pH scale.
Fruit teas are among the most acidic teas available and are usually unsuitable if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease.
The table below shows the different pH levels of common teas.
|Types of Tea||Average Acidity Level (PH Value)|
|Blackberry Tea||2 – 3|
|Commercially made, ready to drink teas|
e.g., iced tea or sweet tea
|2.9 – 3.4|
|Black Tea||4.9 – 5.5|
|Earl Grey Tea||4.9 – 5.5|
|Oolong Tea||5.5 – 7|
|Chamomile Tea||6 – 7|
|Peppermint Tea||6 – 7|
|Rooibos Tea||6 – 7|
|Hibiscus Tea||6.5 – 6.8|
|Fennel Teas||6.7 – 7.1|
|Yerba Mate Tea||6.7 – 7.8|
|Ginger Tea||7 – 7.5|
|White Tea||8 – 10|
Is Green Tea Acidic or Alkaline?
The pH level of green tea is 7.2 which is neutral on the pH scale, neither acidic nor alkaline. Most people can drink multiple cups of green tea each day without any problems. People with mild acid reflux may be able to drink one or two cups, although if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, you may aggravate your symptoms.
Don’t drink green tea on an empty stomach if you are prone to digestive issues.
The Acidity of Different Types of Green Tea
The pH value of green teas will depend on whether it’s blended with other ingredients. For example, green tea with lemon or jasmine will be more acidic than plain green tea.
Beware of Bottled Green Tea
Many commercially made green teas have higher acidity levels than freshly brewed green tea. Acidity regulators, preservatives, sugar, or even worse, artificial sweeteners can increase acidity. Artificial sweeteners are very acidic and can worsen your acid reflux symptoms.
Is Matcha Green Tea Acidic?
Matcha tea is a type of green tea. Like green tea, plants used to make matcha tea are grown in the shade.
Green tea leaves dry in the sun. In contrast, matcha tea leaves dry in the shade, allowing high chlorophyll content to develop, giving matcha tea a bright green color and enhancing the potency of tea catechins and nutrients beneficial to health (1).
Matcha tea leaves are ground into a powder, so more beneficial compounds are extracted while tea is brewing.
Matcha tea is mildly alkaline. Even though it has an average pH value of 9, it’s not suitable for acid reflux sufferers. Matcha has a very high caffeine content, known to cause reflux symptoms.
Learn more about matcha tea and why it may be the best tea to drink.
How To Change the Acidity Of Tea
You can change the level of acidity in the following ways:
- Brewing time: a longer steeping time makes a more acidic tea.
- Lowering your hot water temperature produces a weaker, less acidic tea.
- Using fewer tea leaves or adding more water reduces the acidity of tea.
- Additional ingredients such as milk products increase the pH value making your tea more alkaline. Small amounts of sugar won’t change the acidity levels. However, artificial sweeteners are acidic and may worsen acid reflux symptoms.
- Loose leaf tea is usually less acidic than tea bags. The smallest tea leaf pieces are used in tea bags, releasing more acid into your tea.
Amazing Health Benefits Of Green Tea
If you suffer from bloating and acid reflux, you probably don’t have a good balance of good and bad bacteria in your stomach. Green tea improves gut health by boosting good bacteria while inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria that causes bloating and other digestive issues (2).
Other true teas, such as black tea and oolong tea, promote healthy gut bacteria too.
Warm water aids digestion by keeping food moving through your digestive system, helping constipation and gas.
Protects Against Heart Disease
There is a strong correlation between green tea consumption and preventing heart disease (3). Green tea catechins also help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
Weight loss can help many overweight people relieve their acid reflux symptoms, easing pressure on their stomach. Green tea and green tea extracts speed up your metabolism, helping you burn calories. Green tea extracts may also help prevent regaining weight (4).
Antibacterial And Anti-inflammatory Properties
Drinking green tea can help with gastritis, eliminate H. pylori bacteria, and reduce inflammation in your digestive system. These health issues are commonly associated with acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (5).
The caffeine in green tea keeps you alert, improving memory, mood, and reaction time. Green tea also contains L-theanine, which may improve anxiety levels (6).
Green tea strengthens the immune system, protecting against oxidation and free radicals that cause cancer (7).
Green tea might reduce the risk of some cancers, including lung, skin, and prostate cancer, but scientific evidence is not strong enough to know this for sure (8, 9).
Soothes and relaxes muscles
Drinking warm water expands blood vessels in your stomach, improving circulation, relaxing muscles, and reducing pain. This is why some people like to drink a cup of tea to relax.
Stress has a direct impact on your digestive system. If you are stressed, the muscles in your digestive tract tense up and spasm, and this can cause diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or gas (10).
Side Effects Of Too Much Green Tea
Excess green tea may cause stomach problems, especially if you drink too much on an empty stomach.
High Caffeine Intake
A cup of green tea contains about 28mg of caffeine compared to 47mg in black tea and 96mg in a cup of brewed coffee (11). Excessive amounts of caffeine make your stomach produce extra stomach acid and relax your lower esophageal sphincter muscle, triggering symptoms of acid reflux and an upset stomach.
The good news is that green tea has the lowest tannins of all true teas. Tannins contribute to increased acid levels in your stomach.
An excess of green tea may give you a headache or irregular heartbeat due to its caffeine content. Or poor sleep if consumed too close to bedtime.
The tannins in tea can stain your teeth
If you drink lots of green tea regularly, you may get an iron deficiency (12).
Summary: Is Green Tea Acidic?
Green tea has a neutral level of acidity on the pH scale. Most people can drink green tea without side effects; however, if you suffer from chronic acid reflux symptoms or gastroesophageal reflux disease, you may need to avoid or limit your consumption due to the caffeine content.