Why Does Coffee Make Me Cough up Mucus?

Why Does Coffee Make Me Cough up Mucus


The Science behind Coughing up Mucus after Drinking Coffee

Coffee is a popular beverage worldwide, and many people enjoy its stimulating effects. However, some coffee drinkers may experience an unpleasant side effect: coughing up mucus. This phenomenon has puzzled medical professionals and coffee connoisseurs alike, as it seems counterintuitive that a hot and dehydrating drink like coffee could trigger mucus production and secretion. Nevertheless, several factors could explain why coffee makes you cough up phlegm.

  1. Caffeine is a known bronchodilator that can relax the muscles in your airways and improve your breathing. While this property can be helpful for people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it can also irritate your respiratory tract and make it more sensitive to other irritants. When combined with the heat and acidity of coffee, caffeine may trigger a reflex that causes excess mucus to be produced in response to perceived irritation or inflammation. This can lead to throat clearing, coughing, or spitting up phlegm.
  2. Coffee contains various compounds like chlorogenic acid and N-alkanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamines (C5HTs) that have been shown to stimulate gastric acid secretion and gut motility. While this effect can aid digestion and prevent constipation in some people, it may also aggravate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux symptoms in others. Acid reflux occurs when the contents from your stomach leak back into your esophagus or throat due to a faulty valve or weak muscles at the lower end of the esophagus. This can cause heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, hoarseness, or chronic cough that worsens after eating or drinking acidic foods like coffee.

Lastly, individual differences in genetics, allergies, medications, infections, smoking history, or underlying lung conditions can influence how your body reacts to coffee and other substances. Therefore, if you notice that you cough up mucus after drinking coffee, you may want to monitor your symptoms and try some lifestyle changes or medical treatments to alleviate the discomfort. For example, you can switch to decaf or herbal tea, add some milk or creamer to your coffee, avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach or late at night, elevate the head of your bed when sleeping, quit smoking, lose weight, exercise regularly, drink more water, take over-the-counter antacids or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), or consult a doctor if your symptoms persist or worsen.

Mucus is basically our body’s slimy defense mechanism, kind of like a fortress wall that’s hard to penetrate unless you have a really good tissue.

What is mucus?

Mucus is a thick and sticky liquid produced by the mucous membranes in our respiratory system. It mainly acts as a protective layer for the sensitive tissues present in our respiratory system. The composition of mucus includes several elements, such as water, proteins, enzymes, and other chemicals. Mucus also contains white blood cells that are responsible for fighting off infections.

Coffee is known to stimulate the production of mucus in our body, leading to an increase in coughing up mucus. This happens due to its acidic nature and caffeine content. When we drink coffee, it irritates the lining of our throat and triggers the production of excess mucus to protect the area from damage. The release of excess mucus leads to coughing and clearing out the throat.

It’s essential to note that drinking coffee doesn’t cause any significant health risks associated with increased production of mucus unless you have an underlying pulmonary condition like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or asthma.

According to history, the increased production of mucus caused by coffee has been a topic of discussion for many years now. Some medical studies have supported this idea, while others have contradicted it. However, there is no conclusive evidence yet that proves or disproves whether coffee directly affects mucus production in healthy individuals. So far, it remains a subject of debate among both researchers and consumers alike.

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Is your morning cup of joe turning into a phlegm fiesta? Here’s why your loyal coffee beans might be betraying you.

Why does coffee cause coughing up mucus?

Coffee consumption can often result in coughing up mucus. The acidity and caffeine content of coffee are known to increase the production of mucus, leading to coughing. This is because coffee can stimulate the muscles in the stomach and esophagus, which can cause increased secretion of gastric acid and a loosening of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), potentially causing stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. Additionally, caffeine has been shown to trigger numerous physiological effects that lead to extra mucus production.

It is worth noting that individuals with pre-existing medical conditions such as allergies or asthma may be more susceptible to this reaction than others. People with these conditions could experience a rapid onset of symptoms like chest tightness, wheezing, and difficulty breathing after consuming caffeine.

Consuming other caffeinated products or foods such as chocolate or soda could also have similar effects on some individuals. Therefore, it’s important for those who regularly suffer from mucus production to pay attention to what they consume.

I recently spoke with a friend who had a similar experience with coffee. She revealed that she had previously struggled with excessive mucus production after drinking too many cups of coffee daily and reduced her intake as a result. Her doctor advised her on ways she could manage her symptoms by watching what she ate and drank daily, which has proved beneficial for her overall health.

Looks like the mucus is sticking around for a sequel, folks – other factors that make you cough it up are here to take the stage.

Other factors that can cause coughing up mucus

cause coughing up mucus with coffee

Coughing up mucus can happen due to various reasons other than coffee consumption. These factors also contribute to the condition in a significant way.

Listed below are some of the key elements that can increase the likelihood of coughing up mucus:

  • Exposure to pollutants such as cigarette smoke, pollen, and dust.
  • Airborne allergies like hay fever caused by seasonal environmental changes, and allergies from food or medication.
  • Infections caused by viruses or bacteria like colds and flu can lead to excess production of mucus.
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) characterized by emphysema or chronic bronchitis, can cause coughing up mucus on a regular basis.
  • Certain medications like ACE inhibitors used for hypertension and congestive heart failure prevention may provoke persistent coughing along with the phlegm discharge.
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), often referred to as acid reflux disease, happens when contents from stomach regurgitate into the esophagus, causing irritation and sore throat which results in increased mucus secretion.

It is essential to note that managing hydration levels also plays an important role in preventing this condition. Staying hydrated will thin out the mucus coating on your throat walls substantially making it easier for you to swallow without much difficulty.

In a true history example, one individual reported frequent incidents of coughing up mucus after exposure to hot temperatures along with external irritants. The individual visited many doctors before finding relief from proper treatment.

Stop coughing up your love for coffee, try these simple remedies instead!

How to reduce or prevent coughing up mucus when drinking coffee

Like many food and drinks, coffee can cause a person to cough up mucus. However, there are various ways to reduce or prevent this occurrence while still enjoying your cup of joe.

  • Try switching to a lower acid coffee or adding milk to your drink.
  • Sipping water before and after consuming coffee can also help break up the mucus.
  • Avoid smoking, which can exacerbate the issue.
  • Inhaling steam from hot water or drinking herbal tea before consuming coffee may help soothe the throat.
  • Maintain proper hydration with enough water intake throughout the day.
  • If the mucus persists, consider consulting a medical professional for further advice.
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It is important to note that different individuals may have unique reasons for experiencing episodes of coffee-induced mucus production. Thus, it’s crucial to find out what works best for you.

A useful suggestion is limiting caffeine intake in general as it could trigger other respiratory symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty breathing. Additionally, incorporating lifestyle changes such as regularly exercising and avoiding allergens could also benefit those prone to an overproduction of mucus.

Looks like the mysterious mucus monster strikes again – this time, thanks to your beloved cup of Joe.


Coughing up mucus after drinking coffee is a common occurrence. This happens because coffee contains acid that irritates the lining of the throat, leading to increased production of mucus.

The acidity in coffee triggers an acidic reaction in the stomach, causing more mucus to be produced as a protective measure against acid reflux. Apart from caffeine increasing the heart rate and blood pressure, it also stimulates the respiratory system and induces coughing.

To alleviate these symptoms, one can try drinking less acidic coffee or opting for decaf. Drinking water before and after coffee helps neutralize stomach acid and hydrate the body.

It is essential to stay hydrated throughout the day to promote overall health and wellness. Various ways exist on how best to hydrate, such as consuming water-rich foods or carrying a water bottle throughout the day.

Take charge of your health by being mindful of what you consume as every choice you make affects your body in some way.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why does coffee make me cough up mucus?

There are several reasons why drinking coffee can cause excess mucus production, such as the acidity of the coffee irritating the throat and causing inflammation, or the caffeine triggering a response in the body that leads to increased mucus production.

2. Is it normal to cough up mucus after drinking coffee?

While it is not uncommon for some people to experience increased mucus production after drinking coffee, it is not considered normal. If you are consistently experiencing this symptom, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue.

3. Can drinking decaf coffee also cause mucus production?

Yes, even decaf coffee can lead to increased mucus production. This is because decaf coffee still contains some caffeine, as well as other compounds that can irritate the throat and cause inflammation.

4. Are there any other foods or drinks that can cause mucus production?

Yes, there are several other foods and drinks that can lead to excess mucus production, such as dairy products, alcohol, and sugary or processed foods.

5. How can I reduce mucus production after drinking coffee?

Some tips for reducing mucus production after drinking coffee include drinking plenty of water, avoiding adding sugar or cream to your coffee, and drinking herbal tea or water-based beverages instead of coffee.

6. Should I see a doctor if I am consistently coughing up mucus after drinking coffee?

If you are consistently experiencing mucus production after drinking coffee, it is a good idea to see a doctor to rule out any underlying health conditions. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes or prescribe medication to help manage your symptoms.

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