Can Coffee Make You Nauseous? Explained

Can coffee make you nauseous? This article explores some of the reasons why coffee may lead to nausea and other unwanted side effects, and how to avoid nausea.

Can coffee make you nauseous - Young girl with flu in hat and scarf under covers holding coffee
Drinking too much coffee may cause unwanted effects

Many people around the world drink coffee as soon as they wake up in the morning, often before they do anything else. A little coffee can, of course, be a wonderful and stimulating drink and a comforting and familiar way to embrace the day. 

However, too many cups of coffee in a row may have the undesired effect of making you feel a little nauseous, which is definitely not the ideal way to start your day. As for how much coffee consumption is too much, that depends on the individual. 

Don’t worry! There is no need to give coffee up immediately, but it is a good idea to understand the benefits of coffee and also some potential negative side effects.

While some possible health benefits of drinking coffee have been identified, ranging from increasing mental alertness and helping the metabolism to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, there are also several potential undesirable side effects of caffeine.

Negative Side Effects of Caffeine

First of all, it is a good idea not to drink too much coffee on an empty stomach as the acidity can cause acid refluxheartburn, nausea, indigestion or an upset stomach. You may also want to be careful with your caffeine intake if you suffer from gastric issues such as stomach ulcers

Does coffee upset your stomach - holding his stomach due to pain
Drinking too much coffee on an empty stomach will result to an upset stomach

An nice espresso after an evening meal may be a little easier on the stomach than a mid afternoon cappuccino or latte without a snack. Having a little food in your stomach while consuming coffee may help reduce the sensation of nausea.

Some coffee lovers really enjoy a cold brew, especially in the warmer months. Though cold brew or iced coffee may be slightly less acidic, they too can sometimes lead to nausea and stomach upset. 

If you liked this post, you might be interested in learning if you can use alkaline water to make coffee.

Other Reasons for Nausea

Of course, if there is some milk in your drink, that could actually be the element creating the feeling of nausea, so you may want to explore that possibility by reducing, eliminating or substituting the milk with a non-dairy option, such as soy milk or almond milk. You may also want to avoid artificial creamers or sweeteners in case those are contributing to the nausea.

Darker roasts and espressos generally have a lower level of acidity, and some of the chemicals produced during the roasting process can help minimize any issues related to gastric acidCoffee beans grown at lower altitudes are also said to have lower acidity levels.

Dark roast ground coffee and beans in a bamboo basket
Dark roasts have lower acidity

Then there is the option of switching from regular to decaf coffee, which contains a much smaller amount of caffeine, but it still contains other chemicals that can irritate the stomach, so, as most coffee drinkers would probably agree, it may not ultimately be worth switching. 

Drinking your coffee more slowly may be something to try to see if that reduces any sensation of nausea.

Additional Side Effects of Caffeine

As is commonly known, overloading on caffeine can also lead to lightheadedness, dizziness, jitters, anxiety or agitation. It can raise the heart rate and temporarily raise the blood pressure, which is obviously something you want to avoid.

Caffeine is a diuretic, which means that too much coffee can lead to frequent urination and consequently dehydration, so be sure to remain hydrated by having a glass of water close by when enjoying a cup of joe. Eating a banana may also be a good idea as it is alkaline and may help soothe the stomach.

pouring water into a clear glass
Drink water regularly to compensate the diuretic effect of coffee

Don’t let potential side effects put you off your favourite cup of coffee, though! 

The Final Word on Can Coffee Make You Nauseous

When it comes to drinking coffee – whether a morning cup of joe or a pick me up later in the day – and continuing to enjoy it, as with everything in life, the answer seems to lie in moderation. 

Before ditching the coffee machine or avoiding the local coffee shop, consider how many cups of coffee you are drinking in a typical day, what you are adding to it, and whether you are drinking it on an empty stomach. You may be able to control any feelings of nausea by making some simple adjustments to your coffee-drinking habits.

Always be mindful when it comes to your caffeine intake, especially if you tend to have a sensitive stomach or any issues with the digestive system. That way, you will continue to enjoy the wonderful and popular drink that is coffee for years to come.


  • Mel Farrimond

    Mel Farrimond loves all kinds of writing: creative, academic, freelancing, and blogging. She has her own blog, The MONDAY Blog, covering music, oeuvres, news, dining, art and yoga.