Can Coffee Cause Food Poisoning?

Can coffee cause food poisoning? Delving into my experience, it’s rare but not impossible. Coffee’s high acidity and potential for mould growth can pose a minor risk. However, stringent quality control in coffee production and preparation significantly mitigates this. Ensuring clean equipment, proper storage, and using fresh beans are essential. If you’ve ever worried about your cup of joe, know that the chances are low. Remember, a little care in handling and brewing goes a long way in enjoying a safe and satisfying coffee experience.

Can Coffee Cause Food Poisoning?

What is Coffee?

Coffee is a widely favoured beverage consumed by millions of individuals worldwide. It is made from the Coffea plant’s roasted seeds, or beans, typically known as coffee beans. Coffee’s flavour can differ due to various factors, including acidity. The acidity of coffee refers to its taste’s perceived tartness or brightness. In this section, we will explore the factors that influence coffee acidity, such as the origin and processing method of the beans. Additionally, we will touch upon other relevant facts, including different brewing methods that can further enhance the coffee-drinking experience.

Factors Affecting Coffee Acidity

Several factors contribute to the acidity level of coffee. One key factor is the origin of the coffee beans. Coffee beans grown in regions such as South America, Africa, or Asia can possess varying acidity levels due to the unique environmental conditions and soil composition. Additionally, the processing method of the beans can influence acidity. The two primary processing methods are the washed (or wet) and natural (or dry) processes. The washed process tends to produce a higher acidity level, while the natural process often creates a lower acidity level.

Other Relevant Facts

Apart from acidity, there are other essential aspects to consider when it comes to coffee. The brewing method significantly influences the final taste and overall experience. Different techniques, such as espresso, drip brewing, French press, or pour-over, can highlight specific flavour notes and affect the perceived acidity. It is also worth noting that the roasting level of coffee beans can impact acidity, with lighter roasts generally showcasing higher acidity levels than darker roasts. By understanding these factors and experimenting with various brewing techniques, coffee enthusiasts can tailor their coffee-drinking experience to their preferences.

Can Coffee Cause Food Poisoning?

While coffee is a beloved beverage for many, it is important to know that if contaminated, it can potentially cause food poisoning. Consumption of contaminated coffee can lead to various symptoms associated with food poisoning. In this section, we will explore how coffee can become infected with harmful bacteria and toxins, the symptoms that may arise from consuming contaminated coffee, and essential measures to ensure safe coffee consumption while avoiding coffee contamination.

Contamination and Symptoms

Coffee can become contaminated with harmful bacteria or toxins during its production, handling, or preparation stages. Contamination can occur during cultivation, processing, packaging, or even at coffee shops or home brewing setups. If contaminated, coffee can lead to symptoms commonly associated with food poisonings, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and, in severe cases, fever and dehydration. Symptom severity varies based on the contaminants present.

Avoiding Contamination and Ensuring Safe Consumption

Several precautions can be taken to minimize the risk of coffee-related food poisoning. First, it is crucial to ensure proper hygiene and sanitation during the coffee production chain, from the cultivation and processing of the beans to the brewing and serving of the coffee. This includes maintaining clean equipment, using clean water, and properly storing coffee beans and grounds to prevent contamination.

Furthermore, it is advisable to purchase coffee from reputable sources that adhere to strict quality control standards. Pay attention to the coffee’s packaging, expiration date, and any visible signs of damage or tampering. When brewing coffee at home, use clean equipment and proper brewing techniques. Additionally, storing coffee in a cool, dry place is essential to prevent moisture and mould growth.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Food poisoning occurs when contaminated food or beverages are consumed, a common condition. It can result from harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins in the consumed food. Food poisoning can lead to various symptoms varying in severity and duration. In the following sections, we will explore the typical symptoms associated with food poisoning, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fever, and dehydration. Understanding these symptoms is essential for timely identification, seeking appropriate medical attention, and implementing necessary measures to recover and prevent further complications.

Abdominal Pain and Cramps

Abdominal pain and cramps are common symptoms associated with coffee consumption and food poisoning. Various factors can contribute to these discomforting sensations. For instance, caffeine, a natural stimulant found in coffee, can stimulate the digestive system, leading to increased contractions and potential abdominal discomfort. Additionally, some individuals may not tolerate certain additives or dairy products commonly consumed with coffee, causing abdominal pain and cramps.

Different factors can cause food poisoning, abdominal pain and cramps. Bacterial contamination of food or beverages, including coffee, can release toxins in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to irritation and inflammation. Furthermore, food poisoning often presents with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea, which can cause muscle contractions and spasms in the abdomen, resulting in pain and cramping.

It is important to note that if severe or persistent abdominal pain and cramps occur after consuming coffee or any food, Seeking medical attention is advisable to rule out any underlying medical conditions or potential foodborne illnesses.

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting can manifest as symptoms of coffee-induced food poisoning. While coffee is generally well-tolerated, some individuals may experience these symptoms due to various factors. One possible cause is caffeine sensitivity, where an individual’s body reacts negatively to the stimulant properties of caffeine found in coffee. In certain instances, consuming iced coffee containing dairy products like milk or cream can induce nausea and vomiting, especially for individuals with lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy.

Other concurrent symptoms may accompany coffee-induced food poisoning. These can include abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhoea, discomfort, or uneasiness. It is important to note that if nausea and vomiting are severe, persistent, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, medical attention should be sought to ensure proper evaluation and treatment.


Diarrhoea can be a common digestive symptom associated with coffee consumption. Several factors contribute to the development of diarrhoea after drinking coffee. Caffeine, a stimulant in coffee, can accelerate bowel movements and increase the frequency of stools, potentially leading to diarrhoea. Dairy products, commonly added to coffee, can be problematic for individuals with lactose intolerance, as their bodies have difficulty digesting lactose, resulting in diarrhoea.

Certain types of coffee may be more likely to cause diarrhoea. For example, iced coffee beverages or those with added milk or cream are more likely to trigger digestive discomfort due to caffeine and dairy. Additionally, coffee contaminated with mould or spoilage can lead to gastrointestinal disturbances, including diarrhoea.

Individuals can take several preventative measures to prevent diarrhoea after consuming coffee. Limiting caffeine intake by opting for decaffeinated or lower-caffeine coffee varieties can help reduce the stimulating effect on the digestive system. Checking coffee for mould or spoilage before consumption is crucial, as these contaminants can cause digestive issues. Furthermore, avoiding ingredients that may be hard to digest, such as excessive dairy or sweeteners, can help minimize the likelihood of developing diarrhoea.

Fever and Chills

Fever and chills can manifest as symptoms of coffee-induced food poisoning. While coffee itself is not typically associated with causing a fever, harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins in contaminated coffee can lead to an infection or toxin-mediated reaction in the body, resulting in an elevated body temperature and chills. These symptoms indicate an immune response to combat the pathogens or toxins present in the coffee.

In addition to fever and chills, other common symptoms of food poisoning can accompany coffee-induced food poisoning. These may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhoea, and general malaise. The symptoms experienced may vary based on the type of pathogen or toxin involved and the individual’s immune response.

It is important to note that while coffee-induced food poisoning can occur, it is relatively rare. However, other factors can contribute to food poisoning from coffee, such as improper storage, handling, or preparation. Additionally, food poisoning risks increase if coffee is consumed with contaminated food items or in unhygienic environments. Ensuring proper food safety practices is crucial, as hygiene minimizes the risk of coffee-induced food poisoning and its associated symptoms.

Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite can be a common occurrence after food poisoning. When the body experiences food poisoning, it undergoes stress and strain due to the infection or toxin exposure. This can result in a decreased desire to eat or a reduced capacity to tolerate certain foods.

To manage the loss of appetite after food poisoning, opting for small, frequent meals rather than large portions is recommended. This approach helps to provide necessary nutrients and calories without overwhelming the digestive system. Choosing bland, easily digestible foods, such as toast, rice, and clear broth, can help alleviate discomfort and gradually reintroduce food.

During this time, it is advisable to avoid fatty or greasy foods that may be harder to digest and could exacerbate digestive discomfort. Instead, focus on light, nutritious options that are gentle on the stomach. It is also essential to stay hydrated by consuming adequate fluids, such as water, herbal teas, or electrolyte-rich beverages, to prevent dehydration.

Suppose the loss of appetite persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms. In that case, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.

Headaches and Fatigue

Headaches and fatigue can be potential symptoms of coffee poisoning. While coffee is often consumed for its energizing effects, excessive consumption of caffeine, a primary ingredient in coffee, can lead to these symptoms. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, and when consumed in excess, it can cause headaches and contribute to feelings of fatigue. Individuals with pre-existing conditions such as migraines or chronic fatigue syndrome may be more prone to experiencing these symptoms.

In addition to the direct effects of caffeine, other factors associated with coffee consumption can contribute to headaches and fatigue. One such factor is dehydration. Caffeine has mild diuretic properties, which can increase urine production and lead to fluid loss. If adequate hydration is not maintained, dehydration can manifest as headaches and fatigue.

Reducing or moderating caffeine intake is advisable to manage headaches and fatigue associated with coffee poisoning. This can be done by gradually decreasing coffee consumption or switching to decaffeinated options. Ensuring proper hydration by drinking water or other non-caffeinated fluids can also help alleviate these symptoms. If headaches and fatigue persist or worsen, Consulting a healthcare professional is recommended for further evaluation and guidance.

Muscle Aches

Coffee-induced muscle aches can manifest as symptoms, and several factors can contribute to their occurrence. Common symptoms include soreness, stiffness, and discomfort.

One possible cause of muscle aches after coffee consumption is caffeine intolerance. Some individuals may be more sensitive to caffeine’s stimulating effects, which can lead to muscle tension and discomfort. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and may lead to increased muscle activity, which can cause muscle aches.

Dehydration is another potential factor that can cause muscle aches after coffee consumption. As a diuretic, coffee can increase urine production and contribute to fluid loss. When the body is dehydrated, muscles may not receive adequate hydration and nutrients, leading to muscle soreness and aches.

It is important to note that if muscle aches persist or are severe, Seeking medical advice is recommended to rule out any underlying conditions or potential complications.

Additionally, individuals who experience recurrent muscle aches after coffee consumption may consider reducing their caffeine intake or exploring alternative beverage options. Staying hydrated and maintaining a balanced diet can help alleviate muscle aches and promote overall muscle health.

Can I Get Sick Drinking Day-Old Coffee?

Potential risks are associated with consuming day-old coffee, and taking precautions can lower the risk of food poisoning. Storing leftover coffee in the refrigerator and consuming it within 24 hours can minimize the likelihood of bacterial growth. Refrigeration slows down the growth of bacteria, reducing the risk of contamination.

Following basic guidelines, such as using fresh and roasted coffee beans, is essential as older beans may be more susceptible to bacterial growth. Avoiding reheating day-old coffee is crucial, as it may not reach a temperature sufficient to kill bacteria. Keeping coffee makers clean and ensuring proper hygiene practices can also prevent the introduction of harmful microorganisms.

Finally, it is recommended that coffee be consumed promptly after brewing to minimize the time bacteria have to multiply. Following these guidelines can significantly reduce the risk of food poisoning from day-old coffee.

What To Do After Getting Food Poisoning?

Experiencing food poisoning can be a distressing and uncomfortable ordeal. However, knowing the appropriate steps can help alleviate symptoms and promote recovery. This section will explore the actions to take after getting food poisoning. From managing symptoms and staying hydrated to seeking medical attention when necessary, these guidelines support your recovery and ensure your well-being.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is crucial after getting food poisoning since vomiting and diarrhoea can cause dehydration. It is recommended to consume a variety of liquids to replenish fluids and electrolytes. Water, non-caffeinated sodas, chicken or vegetable broths, diluted apple juice, and decaffeinated tea are all suitable options.

Small sips of water or ice chips prevent dehydration during vomiting and diarrhoea. However, the best way to prevent dehydration and replenish electrolytes is to consume sports drinks that contain electrolytes. These drinks help restore the body’s fluid balance and provide essential minerals lost through illness. Prioritizing hydration to support recovery and restore the body’s equilibrium is essential.

Stay Away From Caffeinated Drinks

When dealing with food poisoning, it is advisable to avoid caffeinated drinks. Caffeine acts as a diuretic, which can increase urine production and potentially worsen dehydration, a common symptom of food poisoning. Additionally, caffeine can stimulate the digestive system and potentially exacerbate symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

Specific drinks to avoid coffee, tea, energy drinks, and sodas that contain caffeine. Instead, it is recommended to opt for alternative beverages that are gentle on the stomach and aid in hydration. Clear fluids like water, herbal teas, electrolyte-rich beverages, and non-caffeinated sodas can help replenish fluids and electrolytes without the stimulating effects of caffeine.

It is also worth mentioning that fermented foods and drinks, such as kombucha or kefir, should be avoided during food poisoning episodes. While these beverages are often beneficial for gut health, their probiotic content can be problematic during illness as they may further irritate the digestive system. Opting for non-caffeinated alternatives can aid recovery and support the body’s healing process.


Proper rest is essential when recovering from food poisoning. It allows your body to heal and regain strength. Giving yourself enough time to recover is crucial, so consider taking time off from work or school to focus on rest and recovery.

During this time, it is advisable to avoid heavy physical exertion that can strain your body. Engaging in light activities and gentle movements, such as short walks or stretching, can be beneficial, but listen to your body’s signals and avoid pushing yourself too hard.

When it comes to eating, opt for small portions rather than overeating. Start with easily digestible foods like bland crackers, toast, or rice. Gradually introduce other foods as your body tolerates them. This approach helps reduce the strain on your digestive system and allows it to recover more effectively.

By prioritizing rest, avoiding excessive physical exertion, and consuming small portions of easily digestible foods, you provide your body with the conditions to heal and recover from food poisoning. If symptoms persist or worsen, it is important to listen to your body and consult a healthcare professional.

Tips For Avoiding Food Poisoning From Coffee

Tips For Avoiding Food Poisoning From Coffee

While coffee is generally safe to consume, taking precautions can lower the risk of food poisoning. Understanding the potential sources of contamination and practising proper hygiene and storage methods can help ensure the safety of your coffee consumption. This section will explore useful tips for avoiding food poisoning from coffee. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your coffee with peace of mind, knowing you are taking proactive steps to protect your health.

Use Clean Water

Using clean water is crucial when making coffee to minimize the risk of food poisoning. Tap water should meet potable water standards, ensuring it is safe for consumption. To ensure the water you use is safe, consider the following tips:

1. Check your local water quality reports to ensure your tap water meets safety standards. If you have concerns about the quality, consider using filtered or bottled water as an alternative.

2. Filtered water can remove impurities and contaminants, providing a safer coffee-making option. Utilize a reliable water filter system that effectively removes harmful substances.

3. When using bottled water, choose reputable brands that meet regulatory standards for purity. Look for labels indicating the water has been purified or filtered.

4. Properly store filtered or bottled water in clean, sealed containers, and keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

5. Regularly clean and sanitize your coffee equipment, including the coffee maker, water reservoir, and related accessories. This helps prevent bacterial growth and ensures the safety of your coffee brewing process.

Using clean water, whether tap water meets safety standards or filtered/bottled water, and following proper storage and cleaning practices can reduce the risk of bacterial contamination in your coffee, promoting a safe and enjoyable coffee experience.

Properly Clean and Sanitize Coffee Equipment

Regularly cleaning and sanitizing coffee equipment is crucial in preventing the growth and multiplication of harmful bacteria. Here are the steps to ensure your coffee equipment is appropriately cleaned:

1. Start by disassembling the coffee maker and removing any removable parts, such as the carafe, filter basket, and water reservoir.

2. Rinse each component with clean water to remove any residue or coffee grounds.

3. Wash the components using hot, soapy water. Use a mild dish detergent and a non-abrasive sponge or brush to clean all surfaces thoroughly.

4. For a deeper clean, periodically sanitize the equipment. One method is to use a solution of equal parts water and vinegar or water and a small amount of bleach (following the manufacturer’s guidelines for dilution ratios).

5. Allow the equipment to soak in the sanitizing solution for a recommended duration, usually 15-30 minutes.

6. Rinse the components thoroughly with clean water to remove any cleaning or sanitizing solution traces.

7. Ensure all parts are arid before reassembling the coffee maker.

8. Additionally, regularly clean and sanitize mugs, stirring spoons, and any other coffee-related accessories used during the brewing and serving.

By following these steps and incorporating regular cleaning and sanitizing practices, you can maintain the cleanliness of your coffee equipment, reduce the risk of harmful bacteria, and enjoy a safer coffee brewing experience. Remember to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific cleaning instructions for your coffee equipment.

Store Coffee Beans Properly

Properly storing coffee beans is crucial to maintain their freshness and avoid the growth of mould, which can pose health risks, including mycotoxin poisoning. Consider the following tips to store coffee beans effectively:

1. Store coffee beans in a cool, dry place. Keep them away from sources of heat, moisture, and sunlight, as these factors can accelerate deterioration and promote mould growth.

2. Use airtight containers: Transfer the coffee beans into containers that provide a barrier against air and moisture. This helps preserve the beans’ freshness and minimizes the risk of mould contamination.

3. Avoid storing in the refrigerator: While refrigeration may seem viable, it can introduce excess moisture to the beans, leading to condensation and potential mould growth. It is best to store coffee beans in a cool, dark pantry or cupboard, which is optimal.

4. Purchase in smaller quantities: Buy coffee beans in smaller quantities to ensure you consume them within a reasonable timeframe. This minimizes the chances of beans becoming stale or developing mould due to prolonged storage.

5. Inspect beans before use: Before grinding or brewing, visually inspect the coffee beans for any signs of mould growth. If you notice mould or an off-putting odour, discard the beans immediately to avoid the risk of mycotoxin poisoning.

By storing coffee beans in a cool, dry place, using airtight containers, and regularly inspecting for mould growth, you can maintain the quality and safety of your coffee beans, ensuring a flavorful and mould-free brew.

Check Cream and Milk Expiration Dates

Using expired cream or milk in your coffee poses risks due to the potential presence of harmful bacteria and the spoilage of dairy products. Checking the expiration dates before incorporating these ingredients into your coffee is crucial. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Risks of consuming expired dairy: Expired cream or milk can harbour harmful bacteria, including Listeria, which can cause foodborne illnesses. Consuming spoiled dairy products can lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and, in severe cases, more serious health complications.

2. Importance of checking expiration dates: Expiration dates indicate the freshness and safety of dairy products. By checking these dates before use, you can ensure that the cream or milk remains within its safe consumption period.

3. Proper storage and handling: To maintain the freshness and safety of cream and milk, store them in the refrigerator at the recommended temperature. Avoid cross-contamination by storing them separately from raw meat, seafood, or other potential sources of bacteria. Additionally, promptly discard any cream or milk that shows spoilage, such as an off odour, unusual texture, or curdling.

By diligently checking expiration dates, properly storing dairy products, and promptly discarding expired or spoiled, you can safeguard yourself against the risks of consuming expired cream or milk, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable coffee experience.

Practice Good Hygiene

Practising good hygiene when making coffee is crucial for food safety and preventing the spread of bacteria. Here are some necessary steps to follow:

1. Wash hands thoroughly: Wash both hands with warm and clean water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing coffee. This helps remove contaminants and reduces the risk of transferring bacteria to the coffee or equipment.

2. Use separate equipment and utensils: When handling different foods or ingredients, use various equipment and utensils to avoid cross-contamination. For example, different spoons are used for sugar and stir coffee to prevent the transfer of bacteria.

3. Clean equipment regularly: Regularly clean and sanitize coffee equipment, including coffee makers, grinders, filters, and utensils. Follow manufacturer instructions for cleaning procedures or use hot, soapy water to ensure thorough cleaning.

4. Use clean, potable water: Water plays a vital role in coffee preparation. Ensure that the water used is clean and potable. If you have concerns about tap water quality, consider using filtered or bottled water to minimize the risk of contamination.

5. Avoid cross-contamination: Be mindful of potential cross-contamination sources. Keep coffee equipment separate from raw meats, seafood, and other possible sources of bacteria. Clean and sanitize surfaces, cutting boards, and utensils after each use to prevent the transfer of harmful bacteria.

By following these hygiene practices, including proper handwashing, you are using separate equipment and utensils, cleaning equipment regularly, using clean water, and avoiding cross-contamination. You can significantly reduce the risk of bacterial contamination and ensure food safety when making coffee.

Avoid pre-ground coffee

Avoiding pre-ground coffee can help reduce the risk of contamination and ensure a safer coffee experience. Consider the following tips to minimize the potential for food poisoning:

1. Harmful bacteria risks: Pre-ground coffee is more susceptible to contamination as it undergoes additional processing and handling. It can harbour harmful bacteria that may have been introduced during production or storage.

2. Uncertain origin and storage: With pre-ground coffee, it can be challenging to ascertain the origin of the beans and the conditions in which they were stored. The lack of transparency raises the risk of consuming coffee that is compromised or handled poorly.

3. Choose whole bean coffee: Opt for whole bean coffee instead of pre-ground. Whole beans have a lower risk of contamination since they are less exposed to potential sources of bacteria during processing and packaging.

4. Grind at home: Purchase whole-bean coffee and grind it at home just before brewing. This reduces the time between grinding and consumption, minimizing the opportunity for bacterial growth. Invest in a quality grinder to ensure consistent grinding and maintain the beans’ freshness.

5. Store whole bean coffee properly: To preserve its quality and flavour, store it in a cool, dry place in an airtight container away from light, moisture, and strong odours. This helps preserve freshness and reduces the risk of contamination.

By avoiding pre-ground coffee, choosing whole-bean coffee, grinding at home, and properly storing the beans, you can lower the risk of contamination, ensure a fresher brew, and enjoy a safer cup of coffee.


Is it possible for coffee to lead to food poisoning?

While rare, it’s possible due to acidity and mould growth. Proper handling, storage, and quality control significantly reduce this risk.

How can coffee’s acidity contribute to food poisoning?

High acidity might irritate the stomach lining in some individuals. However, severe food poisoning from coffee is uncommon.

Can mould in coffee beans cause food poisoning?

Yes, mould growth is a concern, especially with improper storage. Buy freshly roasted beans, store them in a cool, dry place, and use them within a reasonable time frame.

Are there safety measures to prevent coffee-related food poisoning?

Indeed. Clean equipment, quality beans, proper storage, and regular cleaning of coffee makers help minimize any risks associated with coffee consumption.

What are the chances of getting food poisoning from coffee?

Chances are low when following proper handling and brewing practices. Quality control in the coffee industry also plays a significant role in ensuring a safe cup of coffee.


Despite its relatively low likelihood, the article provides insights into the potential risks of food poisoning associated with coffee consumption. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, fever, vomiting, chills, diarrhoea, and muscle aches may indicate coffee-induced food poisoning, necessitating prompt medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment. It emphasizes the importance of using clean water, maintaining proper hygiene, sanitizing coffee equipment, storing beans correctly, checking cream and milk expiration dates, and avoiding pre-ground coffee to minimize these risks. Additionally, following the BRAT diet can aid in easing digestive discomfort during recovery. For individuals with concerns or experiencing severe symptoms, consulting a healthcare professional for guidance and care is recommended.

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