Why Does Coffee Make My Throat Sore? Unraveling the Mystery Behind This Common Complaint

I love coffee. It’s my go-to drink in the morning to kickstart my day. However, I’ve noticed that sometimes after drinking coffee, my throat feels sore and scratchy. It’s not a pleasant feeling, and I often wonder why this happens. After doing some research, I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only one experiencing this common complaint. Many people have wondered why coffee can make their throats feel sore. In this article, we’ll unravel the mystery behind this phenomenon.

The Science Behind Coffee’s Effect on the Throat

Acidity and Irritation

One possible reason why coffee can make your throat sore is its acidity. Coffee is naturally acidic, and when you drink it, the acid can irritate the sensitive lining of your throat. This irritation can lead to a sore throat or a scratchy feeling. Moreover, some people’s throats are more sensitive than others, making them more susceptible to the irritative effects of coffee.

Reflux and Heartburn

Another potential cause of a sore throat after drinking coffee is related to acid reflux and heartburn. Coffee, especially when consumed on an empty stomach, can stimulate the production of stomach acid. This excess acid can flow back into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation and irritation in the throat. If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or have a weak lower esophageal sphincter, you may be more prone to experiencing these symptoms.


Coffee is a diuretic, meaning it increases urine production, which can lead to dehydration if not properly offset by drinking enough water. Dehydration can contribute to dryness and inflammation in the throat, making it more susceptible to irritation and discomfort. If you’re not adequately hydrated, the chances of experiencing a sore throat after drinking coffee are higher.

Allergies or Sensitivities

Sometimes, sore throats are a result of allergies or sensitivities to specific compounds in coffee. For instance, some individuals may be allergic to the proteins found in coffee beans. Others may have a sensitivity to caffeine, which can cause throat muscle tension or a dry mouth. Additionally, the natural oils present in coffee can be irritating to some individuals’ throats, leading to a sore feeling.

Managing and Preventing a Sore Throat from Coffee

Now that we understand why coffee can make our throats sore, let’s explore some measures to manage and prevent this discomfort.

Choose Lower Acid Coffee

If you’re prone to experiencing a sore throat after drinking coffee, you may want to consider opting for a lower acid variety. Dark roasts, such as French or Italian roasts, tend to be less acidic than light or medium roasts. Additionally, cold brew coffee typically has lower acidity levels compared to hot brewed coffee.

Add Milk or Cream

Adding a splash of milk or cream to your coffee can help neutralize its acidity. The proteins in milk can bind to and counteract the acid, reducing the potential for throat irritation.

Stay Hydrated

To combat the dehydrating effects of coffee, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Staying well-hydrated can ease throat dryness and reduce the likelihood of developing a sore throat.

Limit Consumption on an Empty Stomach

Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can exacerbate acid reflux and increase the chances of throat irritation. Try to have a small snack or meal before enjoying your coffee to help buffer the effects of the acid.

Watch for Allergies or Sensitivities

If you suspect that your sore throat is caused by an allergic reaction or sensitivity to coffee, it might be helpful to consult with a healthcare professional or allergist. They can help determine if you have any underlying allergies and recommend appropriate steps to manage them.

Consider Alternatives

If you find that coffee consistently gives you a sore throat, you might consider exploring alternative hot beverages like herbal teas. These can provide a comforting morning ritual without the potential throat irritation associated with coffee.


In conclusion, the reasons behind coffee causing a sore throat can vary from person to person. It could be due to the acidity of the coffee, acid reflux and heartburn, dehydration, or allergies and sensitivities. To manage and prevent a sore throat from coffee, you can choose a lower acid variety, add milk or cream, stay hydrated, avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach, watch for allergies or sensitivities, and try alternative hot beverages. By understanding your body’s response and taking appropriate measures, you can continue enjoying your favorite morning beverage without the unpleasant side effect of a sore throat.

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