In an apparent attempt to capture market share from fancypants latte-hawkers, Folgers—the decades-old purveyor of canned coffee grounds—has introduced a “stomach friendly” blend. Dubbed Simply Smooth, the year-old coffee line is one of several supposedly nonirritating java brands released by U.S. companies recently, The New York Times reports. The folks at Folgers estimate that as many as 40 million Americans have reduced or eliminated their coffee intake because of tummy troubles, and Folgers is setting out to coax those people back to the dark side (if you will).
The medical research on how coffee affects the digestive system is a bit of a muddle, with some doctors arguing that heartburn sufferers don’t necessarily benefit from reducing their intake of acidic beverages. Still, many GERDiatrics (myself included) find that acid is the biggest culprit, so a low-acid coffee—like this German brand that’s been around for decades—sounds like a good solution for the tummy-troubled set. (Though I can’t imagine what deacidified joe tastes like, or what any serious roaster would say about the concept.)
Funny thing is, Folgers’ new line doesn’t actually have a different pH than regular coffee. As The Times explains,
Unlike some coffees that are advertised as low in acid, Simply Smooth has about the same acidity as regular coffee. It costs about 20 percent more than regular coffee.
So what do they do to make it smooth, coat the grounds in butter?