Why Does Coffee Make Me Nauseous? Top 7 Reasons + Solutions!

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Can you imagine your mornings without a cup of hot coffee? Yet, does that precious, caffeine-infused goodness make you sick, approximately an hour or two after you consume it? Are you thinking to yourself – why does coffee make me nauseous?

Drinking coffee, especially on an empty stomach, can cause a myriad of side effects such as nausea, with caffeine being the main culprit according to medical data (1).

Hot coffee can irritate the stomach and activate the digestive system, which can further induce sickness and vomiting (2).

People who already have a sensitive stomach should consider trying decaffeinated or cold brew coffee.

On top of being a mental stimulant, coffee can also stimulate bowel movements.

Why Does Coffee Make Me Nauseous – The 7 Most Common Reasons

If you are experiencing unpleasant reactions after having your morning cup of Joe, here’s a list of the top reasons that science has found:

Why does coffee make me nauseous, lemon, acidic

1. Sometimes Coffee’s Acids and Gastric Acid Just Can’t Cope With Each Other

High-acidity coffee drinks can encourage the production of gastric acid in your belly.

Then a muscle contraction (also known as acid reflux) directs the acids into the esophagus and triggers a series of symptoms, such as belching, sickness and bloating.

Darker coffee roasts typically boast lower acidity levels, which is something people with gastrointestinal problems might want to try!

The longer you roast coffee beans, the fewer acids will remain.

That’s why medium-to-dark roasts usually don’t irritate the stomach as much as lighter roasts.

Also, note that hot water increases the acid levels of your java whilst cold brew reduces them by roughly 34% on average.

However, keep in mind that coffee acids are rarely the cause of nausea!

The average pH levels of coffee ranges between 4.85 and 5.10.

Although pH values under 7 are considered to be acidic, people can react differently to various acidity levels.

But don’t panic – we’ll show you several ways that can reduce coffee’s acidity that we will discuss later on in this article!

Why does coffee make me nauseous, woman on a bed holding her stomach

2. Coffee Stimulates the Digestive System

Coffee  (or more specifically caffeine) stimulates the GI (gastrointestinal) tract.

It activates the peristaltic as it has laxative effects, which is why some people consume it to maintain regular bowel moments.

And once the bowels start moving, you can experience some of the following things:

  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Cramping

This typically happens only a couple of minutes before actually defecating.

Lastly, remember that nausea is one of the most typical symptoms that people with constipation experience after drinking coffee!

Why does coffee make me nauseous, female belly

3. Drinking Coffee on an Empty Stomach Can Cause Discomfort

No matter how good it tastes, coffee represents a unique combination of flavors, intensities, and chemicals that can cause discomfort when consumed on an empty stomach.

Coffee acids can even thin out the lining of the stomach and intestines and cause reflux or gastritis if there is no food to absorb the acidity.

That’s why skipping breakfast is a very bad idea, especially if you can’t start your day without a morning cup of Joe.

And when consumed on an empty stomach, the caffeine molecules and acids can only worsen any symptoms that you may experience, including:

  • Nervousness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Why does coffee make me nauseous, 3 cups of coffee

4. Consuming Excessive Amounts of Caffeine Boosts Acidic Production that Irritates the Stomach

Multiple studies have shown that 400 mg (4 cups of coffee) is a safe amount of caffeine to consume per day (3).

Drinking more than 4 cups of coffee per day can cause nausea, not due to the coffee but because of the caffeine!

Nonetheless – caffeine is highly beneficial to a certain extent and it’s what keeps you awake and alert!

However, it also has laxative effects and can be extremely irritable when consumed excessively.

The reason for this is simple – caffeine encourages the stomach to produce more acid than usual.

When the amount of acid in the stomach reaches or rises above the optimal level (20 to 100 ml), it can cause discomfort, including sickness.

Why does coffee make me nauseous, woman in front of an open window

5. Drinking Coffee too Early in the Morning can Make you feel Nauseous and Lethargic

Cortisol levels are the highest in the morning, right after waking up.

And drinking coffee very early in the morning can cause feelings of lethargy, nausea and stress.

So if you have a history of GI (gastrointestinal) issues, then try avoiding drinking coffee too soon after you wake up.

Instead of reaching for a cup of hot coffee right after you jump out of the bed, leave it for the mid-morning or afternoon to avoid feeling sick.

Why does coffee make me nauseous, pregnant woman

6. Coffee can Cause Several Adverse Reactions Like Nausea in Pregnant Females

Morning sickness is one of the most common symptoms females experience during the early stages of pregnancy.

Subsequently, drinking coffee during the first trimester can worsen the symptoms of nausea.

The American Pregnancy Association claims that this sensitivity in pregnant women should typically last up to the 12th week of pregnancy (4).

If nausea and vomiting continue after the 12th week, then you have to get in touch with your doctor for an appointment.

Why does coffee make me nauseous, dry skin

7. Why does Coffee make Me Sick? Because you’re Dehydrated!

Consuming excess amounts of coffee can worsen the symptoms of dehydration.

As a result, this can make a person nauseous!

Don’t forget that coffee can and never will replace drinking enough fresh water to stay hydrated.

Instead of drinking coffee on an empty stomach, flush out the toxins in your body by downing 2 glasses of water.

Also, try having a snack before grabbing your next cup of Joe.

How Can I Drink Coffee Without Feeling Sick?

Here are 5 superb tested and proven methods that you can try yourself:

  • Go for specialty-grade decaf
  • Eat a banana before (or immediately after) drinking coffee
  • Try darker roasts
  • Eat more proteins for breakfast (eggs or oatmeal as it is a good source of protein)
  • Avoid artificial creamers and sweeteners


Thanks to the reasons and solutions provided above, you can now drink your java more comfortably, knowing that you’re in control of the situation.

But if you still experience certain stomach discomfort, then it all comes to one simple question – is drinking coffee the most important part of your mornings or do you simply prefer not feeling sick?

If your belly can’t cope with coffee, then you can try some of the alternatives such as chicory coffee, matcha tea and golden milk.

Over to you now – how often does coffee make you feel nauseous?

And have you ever experienced some of the additional symptoms such as cramping or feeling lethargic?

Leave your comments in the comment section below!

Simon Slavchev

Simon Slavchev

Did somebody say coffee? Two shots of espresso for me, thanks. Oh, nevermind - I'm Simon, nice to e-meet you, dear CoffeeLifior! I like to write, drink coffee and I believe in Jesus. Highly-caffeinated drinks are my thing, but you can occasionally see me sip on decaf (my wife never finishes her coffee). Speaking of which, I'm off to grab another cup of caffeinated goodness now, laters!

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8 thoughts on “Why Does Coffee Make Me Nauseous? Top 7 Reasons + Solutions!”

  1. “On top of being a mental stimulant, coffee can stimulate your gizzard as well.”
    What a strange sentence to be in this article. I did not know that birds drank coffee. Humans do not have gizzards.

    1. Hello Bobbie and welcome to CL!

      Thanks a bunch for the heads up – I appreciate it.

      This little blooper must’ve slipped through somehow. But it’s fixed now.

      Cheers and God bless,

      — Simon

  2. Informative article. I’ve tried a few of these tips before to no avail, but I’ll try all of them to see if I have any better luck. Except, I have no idea if I’m supposed to look for lighter or darker roast coffee; the article contradicts itself:

    “Lighter coffee roasts boast lower acidity levels, which is why people with gastrointestinal problems should look for low-acidity alternatives!

    Typically, medium to dark roasts don’t irritate the stomach as much as lighter roasts.”

    … So, which is it? Did you mean to say “Lighter coffee roasts boast lower PH levels/higher avoid levels” instead?

    1. Hi there and welcome to CL!

      Thanks a bunch for the heads up – this part of the article has now been fixed.

      Actually, darker roasts tend to be less acidic than their lighter counterparts. That’s because the coffee beans lose more of their natural acids the more you roast them. And in terms of pH – it’s mostly the same, regardless of the roast.

      So that’s the type of roast you can go for if your stomach is more sensitive.

      Also, consider the brewing method. For example, cold brew coffee is less acidic than hot coffee.

      Cheers and God bless,

      — Simon

  3. I have been drinking coffee my whole life, I drink dark and the last two mornings, I have felt sick and throw up. im afraid to drink this as I’ve been so sick. By the way I’m 78. What the heck is this?

    1. Hey Lana and welcome to CL!

      First and foremost – are you certain that it’s the coffee, which is causing you to feel sick and throw up?

      Dark roast coffee is actually easier on the stomach than lighter roasts.

      If you’ve been drinking coffee your whole life, it’d be quite unusual to start feeling sick because of it all of a sudden.

      Make sure that you didn’t anything weird. Still, did you change the roast and bean type by any chance?

      Anyhow, hope that you’re feeling better now.

      Cheers and God bless,

      — Simon

  4. Any form of caffeine not just coffee, like tea, Coca Cola, hot chocolate and even chocolate bars and even those pills for the period that have caffeine in them make me feel sick, like nauseous and dizzy and like I want to throw up. That happens no matter what time of the day (or night) I have it at and no matter how much or how little I’ve eaten. In fact I never have coffee and I never drink tea or hot chocolate on an empty stomach, I usually have tea or hot chocolate after lunch or supper. It still makes me feel sick afterwards.

    1. Hey there and welcome to CL!

      Sorry to hear that – do you possibly have caffeine intolerance?

      My wife has serious caffeine-related issues and she only drinks decaf coffee, although she doesn’t feel nauseous from Cola and other low caffeine beverages.

      Cheers and God bless,

      — Simon

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