Coffee & Tea
December 5, 2022

Is Coffee Good for a Sore Throat? (And When It Makes It Worse)

Is coffee good for a sore throat? That depends. Before you sip that hot cup of joe, learn more about how coffee may help soothe or harm your throat.

Dan Doughty
Table of Contents:

A sore throat is an inflammation at the back of the throat caused by bacteria, yeast, or virus. Although it’s not as bad as a cold, it still causes discomfort and may keep you from going to school or work.

One common treatment for sore throat is drinking coffee, but is coffee good for the throat?

Generally, coffee is good for your throat as it helps relieve pain and itchiness. Its warm temperature can help heal and soothe a sore throat, especially when mixed with honey or aspirin. But because it’s acidic and makes you lose water, it could also hurt your throat. So, it depends on how your body responds.

Let’s learn more about how coffee can affect your sore throat.

Can Coffee Help a Sore Throat?

Generally, drinking coffee provides soothing effects for people with sore throats. Here are some reasons why coffee can help relieve the pain you’re experiencing.

Ease Itchiness With Hot Beverages

In general, drinking fluids helps relieve pain because they make you salivate and keep your throat moist. They also help thin mucus and keep you from getting dehydrated.

A study reports that a hot fruit drink provides instant and prolonged relief from sore throat, cough, runny nose, chilliness, sneezing, and tiredness.

Hot drinks like coffee help you better salivate and even provide a placebo effect to relieve pain. Aside from a hot cup of coffee, you can also ease discomfort with other hot beverages like tea, hot water with lemon and honey, broth, and soup.

But when drinking hot coffee or other beverages, ensure they’re only warm to avoid burning and hurting your throat.

Refresh With Iced Coffee

If you’re not into hot drinks, you can drink iced coffee to soothe a sore throat. It works the same way as eating an ice popsicle. Cold coffee provides a numbing effect and a refreshing feeling on the throat due to its temperature.

However, some people don’t do well with cold temperatures. If you’re one of them, try to avoid drinking iced coffee, especially if it caused throat irritation in the past.

You might also want to use less sugar or leave it out altogether to keep your sore throat from worsening. Sugar may cause inflammation, slowing your throat's healing process.

However, between cold and hot coffee, note that the warm version offers prolonged soothing benefits and helps speed up your recovery.

Soothe Throat by Drinking Coffee With Honey

Aside from its temperature, coffee provides better soothing effects when paired with honey. A study tested how coffee with honey and other suggested treatments affect patients with a lingering cough. 

During the study, patients were given a jam-like mixture of coffee and honey, which they dissolved in warm water and drank every eight hours for a week. After analyzing data, the study showed that coffee and honey helped reduce coughing, making them an effective alternative treatment.

But how does honey help in relieving sore throat? Honey acts as a natural cough suppressant and provides antibacterial properties, making it an ideal ingredient to soothe the throat and alleviate coughs and common colds.

If you want to try this, add honey to your usual cup of coffee. Or you can combine ¾ cup of honey with ½ cup of instant coffee to form a thick paste. Then, dissolve one tablespoon of the paste into seven ounces of warm water. Drink it three times a day for a week to relieve your throat.

Relieve Pain Using Coffee With Aspirin

Another way coffee can help relieve sore throat is by taking it with aspirin. A study conducted a test to measure the effectiveness of coffee with aspirin compared to aspirin alone and a placebo. Participants rated the pain, relief, swelling, and other factors they felt during a two-hour evaluation.

After the test, the study showed that coffee and aspirin were more effective than the other methods, as evidence of relief started at 15 minutes and continued throughout the study period.

Even though this study shows that coffee and aspirin are effective at relieving sore throat pain, we recommend seeking your doctor’s opinion before trying this alternative treatment to prevent complications.

Is Coffee Bad for Sore Throat?

Some people experience irritation or a sore throat after drinking coffee. So here are some adverse effects of drinking coffee when you have a sore throat.

Causes Dehydration

Coffee contains caffeine, a natural diuretic. Diuretics cause the body to produce more urine by increasing blood flow to the kidneys. As a result, you’ll urinate more, lose fluids, and eventually dehydrate.

You’ll experience a dry mouth, throat, and tongue if you’re dehydrated from drinking coffee. As a result, it’ll cause more irritation and dryness in your throat.

However, coffee will only cause dehydration if you drink at least five cups of coffee each day. It’s unlikely to experience severe symptoms if you drink just a cup daily. But note that not drinking enough water, being in warm weather, exercising heavily, and having diarrhea can dehydrate you when drinking coffee.

Remember that you should always drink enough water to prevent dehydration, no matter how much coffee you drink.

Increases Acidity

Most types of coffee are acidic, with a pH between 4.85 and 5.10. Although coffee’s acidity is bearable for most people, it can induce stomach problems and other health conditions for some. These issues include acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and gastric ulcers.

If you’ve been diagnosed with these conditions, try to avoid drinking coffee. The coffee’s acidity can also irritate your throat’s lining and worsen your condition.

If you want to reduce coffee’s acidity, some of the things you can do include: 

  • Drink a cold brew instead of a hot cup
  • Select dark roast coffee over light ones
  • Choose a coarser grind
  • Use a French press to increase brewing time

Aside from these, try to buy shade-grown coffee instead of sun-grown beans. Shade-grown beans have less acidity, so they’ll cause fewer issues to your gut. Most coffee blends in the supermarket use sun-grown beans, so look for one labeled as shade-grown.

Also, opt for 100% Arabica beans since they contain less acid than Robusta. They taste sweeter and smoother with a hint of chocolate flavor.

May Burn Throat

Drinking coffee, especially if it’s too hot, can burn your mouth, throat, and stomach, which could lead to more irritation for your sore throat. So be careful about the temperature of what you're drinking. Don't drink extremely hot coffee; sip it slowly so you don't burn your throat.

If you accidentally burn your throat, eat or drink something cold to relieve and stop the burning sensation. It’ll heal in a few days if you drink more fluids and eat soft food. But if swallowing gets hard or hurts after a while, you should see a doctor immediately.

Contains Caffeine

Caffeine keeps us awake and adds extra energy throughout the day. However, you’ll need enough rest to help your throat heal faster if you have a sore throat. Drinking coffee will only perk you up, and too much caffeine can make you restless and anxious.

Besides this, caffeine also causes throat irritation or tightness, especially in people with gastrointestinal issues, like GERD.

The Cleveland Clinic states that coffee may weaken the esophageal sphincter, preventing it from closing correctly. As a result, food from the stomach can go up your throat and irritate it. If you suspect having GERD or stomach issues, see a gastrointestinal doctor immediately and avoid drinking coffee.

If you need to drink one to get you going in the day, keep an eye on how much coffee you drink to avoid being over-caffeinated. Also, try switching to a decaffeinated coffee to reduce your intake. But, ultimately, get enough rest to speed up your recovery.

FAQs

Can I Drink Coffee With a Strep Throat?

Yes. You can drink hot or cold coffee if you have strep throat. However, avoid drinking extremely hot or cold coffee to prevent irritation.

Also, dealing with strep throat requires you to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Although coffee can also hydrate, it’s best to limit its intake and drink more water instead.

Does Coffee Make a Sore Throat Worse?

Even though coffee can help soothe a sore throat, it could also cause dehydration, burn your throat and irritate it, and prevent you from getting enough rest due to the caffeine. These effects can worsen your throat, especially if you don't limit how much coffee you drink and drink at unbearable temperatures.

Is Black Coffee Good for Sore Throat?

Yes. Drinking black coffee without added sugar or cream can help soothe your throat, especially if taken at a warm temperature.

However, note that black coffee is highly acidic. So, avoid drinking it if you have gastrointestinal or acidity issues to prevent further irritation and discomfort.

Why Does Coffee Make My Throat Hurt?

Coffee can irritate your throat and cause tightness if you have gastrointestinal issues. Besides this, your throat could hurt if you’re allergic to caffeine. Severe caffeine allergy can cause anaphylaxis or throat swelling. If you experience this symptom, immediately go to the nearest hospital.

Why Does Coffee Make My Throat Dry?

Since coffee is a natural diuretic, it can dry your throat, make you feel thirsty, or dehydrate you. It’s also extremely acidic, adding to its drying feeling.

If coffee makes your throat dry, try limiting the number of cups you take daily. Also, drink plenty of water to hydrate your body and flush out the caffeine in your system.

You Can Drink Coffee With a Sore Throat!

Overall, it’s fine to drink hot or cold coffee if you’re experiencing a sore throat. Although there are downsides to drinking them, it’ll depend on how your body reacts to coffee.

To make it effective, remember to drink coffee at the right temperature. So, avoid drinking one when it’s too hot or cold, as it could burn your throat or further irritate it.

Besides this, try not to add too much sugar or cream, as the sweetness may prolong its healing. Also, make sure to limit your caffeine intake for better rest. Finally, don’t drink coffee if you have stomach acidity or gastrointestinal issues to avoid further complications and help your throat heal faster.

Drink what works best for you and follow your doctor’s recommendations. So, continue to drink coffee if it soothes your throat, and stop if it’s causing more discomfort.

About the author
Dan Doughty
Dan Doughty is the founder of Dripshipper. In operation since 2018, Dripshipper has helped thousands of merchants start a private label coffee brand and supply coffee to their customers.

Start a coffee business online
Risk-free

Start free trial