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Why does coffee upset my stomach so much?

I get up daily at 4:30am for work....I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old baby....LUCKILY....I can't tell the effects of caffeine in me. So, I don't NEED coffee to wake up in the morning, HOWEVER, I like coffee a lot. The problem is....it upsets my stomach so much. What's the deal with this?

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  1. If I have more than 2 cups, I have issues. 2 or less seems to settle my stomach.

    How much are you drinking? Do you have the coffee with a dairy product and, if so, are you lactose intolerant?

    1. When I'm stressed, coffes upsets my stomach, like it doesn't need the extra adrenaline or something. Seeing the age of your kids, and starting time of your job, I wouldn't think it odd if you were more on edge than the average person. Coffee is really a very strong drug. Sometimes I'll drink hot chocolate or tea if I know I'll have a crazy day, because I don't have time for an upset stomach. It's getting better as I get older, luckily.

      1. My husband drinks a lot of coffee all day and was having acid reflux problems. I changed from our Gaggia expresso maker (we like strong coffee w lots of milk) to a "cold extract' method of making the coffee. It takes some planning ahead so you dont run out bc it takes 12-18 hrs for the coffee to sit w the water. Everyone that has tasted it likes it better, smoother, less oils and my husband's acid reflux is gone. I think coffee has to be important to you as the method isn't as easy as brewed coffee.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Elsie

          Would you mind explaining the method for this "cold extract"?

          1. re: AnneM

            Cold extract coffee, go to http://www.toddycafe.com/
            that will give you all the info.

            1. re: Elsie

              I tried the cold brew method recently and can confirm low acidity, which will help your stomach. You don't need to buy a special system like the Toddy -- just google "cold brew coffee." You probably have everything you need already and it's surprisingly easy to do.

              Another low acidity option is the Chemex, which is actually looks pretty classy, too.

              PS: I just realized, you can make cold brew concentrate easily using a French Press.

              1. re: a_and_w

                Yep, I use a french press for mine. That way I can make hot or cold coffee (admittedly I have not made hot coffee in it yet, but the point is that I have the option to lol!)

                If I drink too much, I still get an upset stomach (especially if I drink more than two cups diluted only with heavy cream lol, but oh so good that way), but it seems to be a bit easier on it than hot-brew. It's especially nice if you grind up a bunch of cinnamon into it before brewing, it really comes through nicely.

        2. Could be less than optimum brewing. The best brewing temperature is about 200 F. We just verified that brewing at lower temperatures does change the quality of the coffee. We've been using an electric vacuum pot, and recently changed to a Technivorm that we got from SweetMarias (http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.techn... ) The side by side comparison was dramatic. The Bodum cup clearly had oils shimmering on top, a more acidic taste, and residue at the bottom of the cup. The Technivorm had no oil, no acid, and no residue. I've also noticed a reduction in acid reflux after drinking my normal two large cups.

          1 Reply
          1. re: UnConundrum

            Even though we own a coffeeshop, we put off getting a Technivorm for our house until four months ago. My reflux issues are much rarer than they used to be - and I drink a buttload of coffee. Technivorm at home, espresso and decaf at work. On days when I know I'm doing a lot of tasting I'll eat more and drink more water.

            Overall, I think my reflux is 100% related to stress and not what I put into my body. Lack of sleep aggravates it, as does eating too close to bedtime. That's simply my opinion, but having had reflux for 14 years, the more I read about the condition and it's relative non-existence outside the US/Canada, but more I become convinced that the pros have no idea. Do the research yourself on why many healthplans don't cover many prescription PPIs. It's pretty eye opening stuff - drugs with no apparent purpose other than profit.

          2. If you're using dairy in your coffee, switch to black and give it a try. I used to drink mine double, double. It had a rather cleansing affect on me. I switched to black and it doesn't happen anymore.
            I found I like coffee more now too.


            1. Have you tried low acid coffee? I love the ones from Puroast...never upsets my stomach....taste wonderful, too....


              1 Reply
              1. re: fauchon

                Trader Joes has a very nice low acid french roast - quite dark, the way I like it, but much easier on my stomach!

                1. The acidity in the coffee is not something you want to put into an empty stomach right away in the morning. Eat something with your cup, toast, bagel etc. and that will generally take care of the problem.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cooknKate

                    Yeah, I can't drink coffee first thing in the morning either, but once there's a substantial amount of food to buffer it, I'm fine. Preferably something substantially filling (or greasy) -- just toast or cereal isn't enough.

                  2. Despite hopefull attempts to attribute the problem to the brewing method of addition of dairy to coffee, the bottom line is that caffeine relaxes the lower esophagus which causes acid reflux and can aggravates ulcers. There are coffees on the market which claim to be completely decaffeinated so that they do not cause this effect and I imagine that they would perform better than more typical decafs.

                    You might be well served to discuss it woth your doctor and see if one of the OTC remedies, or even a prescription, might be useful for you.

                    1. I have had stomach issues for the last 10 years or so. My doctor recommended cutting coffee, alcohol and stress. He told me that it isn't the caffine (he said I can drink other caffinated drinks) that bothers my stomach, it's the type of acid in the coffee.

                      Coffee by itself usually doesn't bother me very much. However, when I'm stressed, coffee really does a number on me.

                      1. My BIL suffers from acid reflux. He says coffee is particularly hard on him so he almost never drinks it.

                        1. Forgot Prelief. Have you tried this? Cuts acid in coffee, tea, citrus fruits, other acid-y foods. Lots of people who are sensitive to acidic foods/drinks find it very helpful. You can get it OTC at the drugstore for a few dollars..


                          1. Drink WATER!!!

                            For me, coffee (esp. caffeinated drip) acts as a pretty harsh laxative if drunk straight. If you treat it like alcohol, drinking 1 for 1 a glass of water with the coffee and never on an empty tomach, that should help. Also, rumor has it that teh water helps distribute the caffeine more efficiently throughout the body...

                            1. Have you tried espresso? Much easier on the stomach. My dad switched from drip coffee to tea because of stomach issues, but eventually found that espresso agreed with him most.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: a_and_w

                                This is my experience exactly- all the volume in brewed coffee makes me nauseated, but espresso is fine.

                              2. If I am already under stress the acid can upset my stomach.

                                I always begin the day with a full glass of water and follow with a single cup of coffee. It really helps if you eat something at the same time.

                                1. I can only handle one cup of coffee in the morning, oh, but I love it! Freshly ground, I savor it over the morning paper at 6:30. At work, the coffee is SO BAD, ich!blech! that I don't even want it. I have been reading up on acidic foods and of course, coffee, black teas, meats, most beans, all alcohol including wines and SO many other foods are "acidic." (which to some doctors and nutritionists, is bad and the theory is to eat more alkaline foods like fresh fruits & veggies, almonds, soy, eggs, the list goes on) I am going to look into low-acid coffee beans and I am doing this for personal health reasons. If you are having problems with coffee, your body is trying to tell you something, I suspect. By the way, I ALWAYS do what JudiAu does...I drink a glass of water BEFORE my beloved cup of coffee each morning.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Val

                                    I quit coffee two months ago and haven't been super happy about it. Recently, I tried low-acid coffee (ordered from Hevla), after reading about all the people who couldn't drink coffee until they tried the low-acid type. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me. Same result as regular coffee. My mom recommended I try Teecino - apparently an herbal coffee with a somewhat similar taste to coffee, but no caffeine and no acid. They sell it at Whole Foods. Haven't tried it yet, but seems promising. But not as promising as if/when I will ever be able to drink coffee again. Sigh.

                                    1. re: inksa

                                      I just tried teeccino herbal coffee, or I should say I was bamboozeled into trying it. I was in the coffee section of Edge of the Woods, a "Whole Foods" kind of place in New Haven, CT. I saw "hazelnut", "organic" and "medium roast", in big letters, while overlooking the much smaller print that said herbal coffee. I did see "figs, almonds and dates" as ingredients, listed below hazelnut and thought it would be an interesting combination with hazelnut.
                                      This stuff is awful!
                                      It is slightly sweet and leaves a nasty, chemical/medicinal taste in your mouth. Not anything like coffee in flavor, either.

                                  2. That's one of the reasons I drink it in the morning. It suppresses my appetite and I don't eat breakfast.

                                    1. Coffee can be very hard on your stomach.. 20 years ago I wound up in intensive care nearly dead from a very bad bleeding ulcer. (It was from some medication, not diet... It had eaten several holes in my stomach) The reason I’m bringing up this rather gross story is to share what the doctors told me during my very long recovery. There were only three things they told me to avoid, and much to my surprise spicy food wasn’t on the list. The 3 things they said would be hardest on my stomach were: Smoking, Alcohol, and Caffeine.

                                      I stayed away from coffee for years, and to this day rarely drink more then one cup a day....

                                      Uncle Ira

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Uncle Ira

                                        I had a friend in college who had to go to the hospital a few times with horrible stomach pains. He would be hunched over and unable to move. Docs couldn't tell him what the problem was, but as soon as he stopped drinking coffee, it went away. Since then I've known a lot of people who have stomach trouble from drinking coffee. Those who haven't quit drinking it say that it really helps to drink plenty of water before coffee, and to drink it only on a full stomach.

                                        1. re: Uncle Ira

                                          Like Uncle Ira, I have a stomach condition (erosive gastritis) due to medication I was taking (aspirin, motrin, aleve) and I cannot handle coffee unless I have eaten a full meal, and it is cold. Tea doesn't bother me though, but spicy does.

                                        2. I don't think it is the coffee.
                                          I think your body is rebelling against getting up daily at 4:30am.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: orangewasabi

                                            I concur! You get up entirely too early. ;) I used to drink tons of coffee but rarely drink it now. When I do, I usually splurge on a local coffee house's frozen mocha. It's fabulous but I pay for it later.

                                          2. If you have a problem after eating or drinking any food, you should see your Doctor and discuss it with him.

                                            An MD is the only person who can tell if it is a symptom of another problem and can help you understand why you have this reaction, and how you can prevent it.

                                            1. Coffee upsets my stomach too! I think part of it is an adjustment...when I was drinking it more regularly, it would upset my stomach less, but now that it's been awhile - the occasional cup of coffee will immediately create nightmares for my stomach.

                                              I enjoyed all this insight, but I don't think I'm more stressed than the average individual. I just don't think my stomach and coffee like eachother very much.

                                              1. A few years back I noticed that coffee suddenly seemed to be burning a hole in my stomach. I did two things that have alleviated the problem. 1) I switched to Decaf ... and if you say you don't need the caffeine, but like the flavor, you might as well switch. 2) I always drink café au lait -- half coffee, half milk. (If you order it at Starbucks, they call it a misto) I warm the milk in the microwave so it doesn't cool the coffee. I never have a problem now ... even on an empty stomach.

                                                1. Your body is telling you something. Pay attention.

                                                  1. I mentioned Puroast above but have since discovered Prelief. Takes the acid out of foods/beverages w/o affecting the needed stomach acids...available OTC at the pharmacy. Prelief lets me drink coffee, tea, eat tomatoes, OJ etc. I truly don't don't what I did without it. (Oh, yes, I do, come to think of it. I suffered.) They have a very helpful webside...www.prelief.com

                                                    (not connected, get nothing)

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: fauchon

                                                      You could just add baking soda, upping it a little at a time till the coffee didn't bother you. You could also test it with spa/swimming pool PH test strips till you know how much to add.

                                                      1. re: Scargod

                                                        My acid reflux disease -- as well as my restless leg syndrome -- magically disappeared within a few days of quitting the old 'bean. I've moved on to green herbal teas and iced lemon water to help with my medical conditions and have never looked back (it's been almost a week now).

                                                        Now if only I could find a lasting cure for my COPD and high blood pressure.


                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                          You're right about baking soda helping with acidity. The downside is that baking soda is very high in sodium & therefore not for people with high blood pressure issues.

                                                        1. I can hardly have a few sips before I start to get massive cramps. But decaf is fine so I know its not what I put in the coffee, its the coffee itself.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: hungryabbey

                                                            Good Morning Everyone, It has been great reading all this data, I was diagnosed with IBS "Irritable bowel syndrome" horrible stomach pains cripplied me for 12 hours, but the diagnoses did not seem right, so after monitoring myself for food and drink, I found three things that effected me, stress, galaxy chocolate, and coffee, I tried decaf for a while and it helped a lot, then it got worse, so I made sure I always ate before drinking coffee, but that is now failing, so reading your posts you have something called OTC can someone expand on it it please what does it stand for, and dont say go to your chemist, I am in england UK they have never heard of it :)
                                                            All the best from Alan and Thanks

                                                            1. re: stewartrose

                                                              OTC means over the counter which means you can buy it at the pharmacy or chemist without a prescription. Ask for an antacid when you next go to Boots or local corner chemist - try Alka Seltzer or ask for tablets.

                                                              1. re: smartie

                                                                Thank you for the information I was on zantac for a while and they did nothing for me, I dont think the doctors have any idea at all.

                                                                1. re: stewartrose

                                                                  without turning this into a prescription meds conversation there are different strengths of Zantac and others and maybe you were taking one that was too weak for your condition or certain foods were causing more heartburn than you realized. If you have heartburn you still need to watch what you eat and drink and interactions with other meds if you take GERD or GORD drugs.

                                                              2. re: stewartrose

                                                                IBS is the catchall for everything. I have a friend with serious anxiety issues and IBS and her symptoms are worse than yours when she has high levels of stress. Switching to decaf only did so much for her, but managing her anxiety helped her get the symptoms down to a manageable level. Do you drink white coffee? Maybe you are lactose intolerant? I never found anything at Boots/Superdrug but Whole Foods sells a few products you can use with milk and I imagine other natural stores would have them as well.

                                                                1. re: queencru

                                                                  I am 64 retired no wife family, so my stress level is nice and low, Decaf worrked well for me, for a few months, then it started again, so I moved to Tescos own brand mild and decaf, that lasted a while, I did come across this http://www.coffee-direct.co.uk/blog/s... sorry if I have done wrong but I think the link is important... and this one https://www.hourglasscoffee.com/Artic...
                                                                  These are my next steps, after that give up coffee..

                                                                  All the best from Alan