Is Coffee Bad for a Sore Throat?

As the seasons change, many of us find ourselves battling a common ailment: a sore throat. This uncomfortable condition can make it difficult to talk, swallow, and go about our daily activities. When searching for remedies, some people wonder if their beloved cup of coffee could worsen the symptoms or provide relief. In this article, we will explore the question: is coffee bad for a sore throat? We’ll delve into the facts, dispel some myths, and provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how coffee can affect your sore throat. So sit back, grab your favorite mug, and let’s explore the world of coffee and sore throats.

Understanding Sore Throat and Its Causes

Before we dive into the relationship between coffee and sore throat, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what causes this uncomfortable condition. Sore throat, or pharyngitis, can be caused by various factors such as viral or bacterial infections, allergies, irritants, or injuries. The most common causes of sore throat are viral infections, including the common cold and flu. Bacterial infections like strep throat require medical intervention with antibiotics. It’s crucial to differentiate between different types of sore throats to determine the appropriate treatment.

Treating a Sore Throat

For minor sore throats caused by viral infections or irritants, there are several home remedies and over-the-counter medications that can help alleviate the discomfort. Drinking warm liquids, such as tea or soup, can provide relief by soothing the irritated throat. Gargling with warm salt water can also help reduce inflammation and kill bacteria. It’s important to avoid irritants like smoke or pollution and get plenty of rest to aid in the healing process. In most cases, minor sore throats will resolve within a week without medical intervention.

The Effect of Coffee on Sore Throat

Now, let’s address the question at hand: is coffee bad for a sore throat? The answer is not as straightforward as a simple “yes” or “no.” There are several factors to consider when evaluating the impact of coffee on a sore throat.

Temperature and Soothing Properties

One aspect to consider is the temperature of the coffee. Warm beverages, including coffee, can provide temporary relief for a sore throat. The warmth of the liquid can help soothe irritated tissues and provide a comforting sensation. However, it’s important to ensure that the coffee is not too hot, as consuming extremely hot liquids can further irritate the throat.

Acidity and Irritation

Another factor to consider is the acidity of coffee. Coffee is moderately acidic, similar to orange juice and other acidic beverages. This acidity can potentially aggravate an already sore throat. However, it’s worth noting that not all coffees are created equal in terms of acidity. Some brands, such as Black Insomnia Coffee, are known to be less acidic, making them a potentially better choice for individuals with a sore throat.

Caffeine and Dehydration

Coffee contains caffeine, which is a diuretic. This means that it can increase urine production and potentially lead to dehydration. However, moderate coffee consumption is unlikely to cause significant dehydration unless the individual is already dehydrated due to other factors. It’s important to stay hydrated when dealing with a sore throat, so if you choose to drink coffee, make sure to also drink plenty of water or other hydrating fluids.

Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

On the positive side, coffee contains antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. These antioxidants can help reduce inflammation in the throat and provide some relief for a sore throat. However, it’s important to consider the overall picture, taking into account factors such as temperature, acidity, and caffeine content, in order to determine the potential benefits of coffee in soothing a sore throat.

The Role of Honey in Soothing a Sore Throat

One popular remedy for sore throat is combining coffee with honey. Honey has long been known for its natural cough-suppressant properties and its ability to soothe irritated throats. When added to coffee, honey can enhance the potential benefits of the beverage in providing relief for a sore throat. A study published in the Primary Care Respiratory Journal in 2013 found that a mixture of coffee and honey, consumed every 8 hours, was more effective in soothing coughing and sore throat symptoms than a placebo or other medications. The combination of coffee’s potential anti-inflammatory properties and honey’s soothing effects can work hand-in-hand to alleviate discomfort.

Other Home Remedies for Sore Throat

While coffee with honey can be a helpful remedy for a sore throat, there are other home remedies that can also provide relief. Here are a few additional options to consider:

Garlic and Sugar Syrup

Garlic is known for its antimicrobial properties and can help fight off infections. Combining chopped raw garlic with honey or pouring sugar over chopped onions can create a homemade cough syrup that can help alleviate sore throat symptoms. The syrupy mixture coats the throat, providing relief from scratchiness and irritation.

Bone Broth

Bone broth, made from simmering bones, can be a nutritious and soothing option for individuals with a sore throats. The warmth of the broth can provide comfort, while the gelatin in the bone marrow coats the throat, reducing soreness. Homemade bone broth is often more beneficial than store-bought options, as it retains more the beneficial properties.

Hard Candy

While not a long-term solution, sucking on hard candy can temporarily alleviate the discomfort of a sore throat. The candy coats the throat, reducing the feeling of rawness and irritation. However, it’s important to consume hard candies in moderation, particularly if you have diabetes or are watching your sugar intake.

Marshmallow Tea

Marshmallow tea, made from the marshmallow herb, is a mucilaginous herb that can coat and soothe the throat. It has gelatinous qualities that can decrease irritation and provide a chance for the body to heal. Marshmallow tea can be enjoyed on its own or as part of an herbal blend with other soothing herbs like licorice and slippery elm.

When to Seek Medical Care

While home remedies and over-the-counter options can often provide relief for minor sore throats, there are instances when medical care is necessary. If your sore throat persists for longer than five days, if swallowing or breathing becomes difficult, or if your fever exceeds 101 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s important to seek professional medical care. These symptoms may indicate a more severe condition that requires intervention, such as strep throat or tonsillitis.


Is Coffee Bad for a Sore Throat the impact of coffee on a sore throat is not black and white. While coffee can provide temporary relief due to its warmth and potential anti-inflammatory properties, it’s important to consider factors such as acidity, caffeine content, and hydration levels. Combining coffee with honey can enhance its potential benefits in soothing a sore throat. However, it’s always essential to listen to your body and seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen or persist. Ultimately, the decision to enjoy a cup of coffee with a sore throat is a personal one, and it’s important to choose what feels most comfortable for you.