Is It Ok To Have Coffee After Dinner?

Many coffee lovers often wonder whether drinking the beverage after dinner is okay. While there are some benefits to this dietary practice, it has some disadvantages too. Ultimately, the answer as to whether it’s good or bad to have coffee after dinner depends on factors like moderation, the kind of meal you had for dinner, and how long you wait after dinner to take your coffee.

Why do people drink coffee after dinner?

Here are some of the common reasons why most people drink coffee after dinner:

i) To stay awake

ii) It balances blood sugar

iii) It creates a feel-good feeling

iv) It has various health benefits 

To stay awake

Depending on your sleep schedule and sensitivity to caffeine, drinking coffee after dinner may or may not be good for you. Most people drink coffee after dinner to stay awake. That’s because some of them need to stay productive after-hours. 

Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that helps keep users active. As such, the beverage helps users to avoid that all-so-common post-meal slump that makes them sleepy.

Restores blood sugar balance

Coffee helps restore the body’s energy and blood sugar balance if taken after meals, which is why some consumers drink it after dinner. 

Brings a feel-good feeling

Additionally, drinking coffee after dinner triggers the release of dopamine and adrenaline, leading to a feel-good feeling that can be addictive. This is one of the main reasons why long-term coffee drinkers love to take the beverage after dinner.

Has health benefits

Finally, some people drink coffee after dinner to boost their overall health, as the beverage contains compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Coffee also contains catechins that fastrack pepsin’s activity, an enzyme that facilitates digestion.

Is drinking coffee after dinner bad for you?

Coffee may be bad for you if taken immediately after dinner because it may hinder the body’s ability to take in important minerals. The compounds in coffee binds crucial minerals, hindering their absorption. Ideally, you should wait at least 1 hour after dinner to drink coffee or any other hot beverages to avoid this problem.

In fact, studies have shown that consuming coffee immediately after dinner can reduce the body’s iron uptake by up to 80%. The absorption of other minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc will also be affected.

Whatsmore, coffee may keep you up longer than you need to. Typically, caffeine stays in the system for 5-6 hours post-consumption. Many biological experts have suggested that the consumption of coffee derails the release of melatonin, which is the hormone that triggers sleep. 

Moreover, coffee affects the system’s circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal clock that determines when you sleep and wake up. As a result, drinking coffee after dinner not only alters how early you’re able to sleep, but may also affect how early you’re able to wake up. This may be a significant factor to consider if your job involves early mornings.

Therefore, if you wish to fall asleep as soon as possible but can’t resist taking a cup of coffee after dinner, make sure you drink it immediately after the evening meal. 

When is the best time to serve coffee after dinner?

The best time to serve coffee after dinner is after 1 hour. That’s because coffee contains acid and may trigger digestion issues if paired with acidic foods. However, coffee is digested slowly, and if taken an hour after dinner, the other foods will have already been digested. The risk of indigestion and toxicity caused by meal pairing with coffee will be low.

5 Best after-dinner coffee drinks with alcohol

Alcohol and coffee have opposing effects on the body. The former triggers the release of adenosine, which is the sleep hormone. On the contrary, the caffeine in coffee suppresses the effects of adenosine, thus hindering the sleepy effect that’s typical when you take alcohol. 

Therefore, revelers are fond of mixing coffee with alcohol to suppress the sleepy feeling, a combination referred to as coffee liquor.

However, you should note that some coffee products mix better with alcohol than others. The best coffee drinks that go with alcohol are espresso-based since they normally contain less caffeine than drip coffee. As a result, they won’t keep you awake longer than you need to be.

Sleep effects aside, most people judge spiked coffee drinks by how they taste. That being said, here’s a brief overview of the best after-dinner coffee drinks that pair well with alcohol.

  1. Iced Irish coffee– includes cold brew coffee, Tullamore DEW Irish whiskey, and indulging additives like fresh cream and demerara sugar.
  2. Anatolia cafe– is made by mixing coffee, Cognac, cinnamon syrup, and powdered cinnamon.
  3. The Old Duck Blind (ODB)– if you fancy a hint of vanilla sweetness in your spiked coffee, try this alcohol-coffee blend. It comprises hot coffee, Knob Creek Bourbon liquor, Mexican vanilla, and cream.
  4. Hot white Russian– for fans of coffee-flavored liqueur, this is the perfect coffee-alcohol blend. The ingredients include Kahlua, fresh-brewed coffee, vodka, and whipped heavy cream.
  5. Holiday coffee– you’ll definitely enjoy this coffee-alcohol blend if you like the flavor of peppermint. It comprises Jack Daniels whiskey, hot coffee, peppermint syrup, and mildly-whipped cream.

Does coffee after a meal help/aid digestion?

Coffee triggers motility in the gut, thus enhancing digestion and excretion after meals. It stimulates bowel movement by facilitating the movement of the colon muscles. 
Additionally, just like green tea, coffee also contains polyphenolic compounds that boost the activity of digestive enzymes that break down proteins in the digestive tract.

Can I drink coffee after eating cucumber?

Drinking coffee after eating cucumber is not advisable, as both foods digest slowly and may cause indigestion problems. More importantly, you should avoid consuming milk-based coffee after eating cucumber, as it’ll increase the toxicity levels in the stomach.

Can I drink coffee after eating jackfruit?

Yes, you can drink coffee after eating jackfruit. Jackfruit adds fiber that boosts bowel movement, while coffee contains compounds that aid in protein uptake in the stomach. Thus, when taken together, they enhance overall system digestion. Moreover, jackfruit is low in acidic content (0.13%) and thus can be safely paired with coffee without the risk of indigestion or heartburn.

Can I drink coffee after eating eggs?

Eggs and coffee go well together since eggs are rich in proteins, and coffee has compounds that boost the activity of enzymes that facilitate protein uptake. However, the coffee should be taken after eating the eggs, as drinking coffee before eating may trigger an imbalance in blood sugar levels. Anecdotal evidence also suggests pairing raw eggs with coffee can help fast-track your weight loss journey.


i. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Tea and coffee polyphenols and their biological properties based on the latest in vitro investigations

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