Although the symptoms impair your productivity, sore throats are common and contagious if caused by a virus or bacteria. If you’re experiencing a sore throat and wondering if you can still have a cup of coffee, you’re on the right page.
The quick answer is yes; you can still drink coffee even with a sore throat. Although warm or sugar-free iced coffee soothes the throat and relieves the itchiness, note that coffee does not have antibacterial and antiviral properties and should not cure your sore throat.
It’s also best to choose a decaf or regular coffee, but skip the sugar and use honey instead. In this article, I will discuss the best coffee drinks you can have while having a sore throat and other beverages that will help you heal faster.
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Sore Throat in a Nutshell
A sore throat is a common and often painful condition that occurs when the lining of the throat becomes inflamed.
The usual cause of a sore throat is a viral infection, as in cold symptoms or the flu, but it can also be due to bacteria, as in strep throat, allergies, chemical irritants, smoking, or overuse of the voice.
According to the Mayo Clinic, sore throat symptoms include pain or a scratchy sensation when swallowing, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, hoarseness, and redness in the back of the mouth. It can also come with occasional coughing and bad breath.
While there are a bunch of over-the-counter treatments for sore throat, it is often self-limiting, and you can easily manage the symptoms at home by drinking lots of fluids and getting plenty of rest.
Is Coffee Good for Sore Throat?
The direct answer is that while you can drink coffee, it won’t remedy your sore throat. Coffee can provide temporary relief from a sore throat by providing comforting warmth for the throat.
Coffee also has some anti-inflammatory effects, which can help reduce swelling. This can help reduce the discomfort associated with a sore throat.
However, you should not expect coffee to cure your sore throat. It can provide short-term relief, but it won't actually get rid of the sore throat.
Moreover, I don’t advise drinking a hot cup of coffee, as hot drinks irritate your throat more. If possible, look for a less acidic coffee, as they have a more soothing effect on the throat.
Top 5 Best Coffee Drinks For Sore Throat
Decaf Coffee + Honey
When you have a sore throat, the first thing you should do is hydrate your body. Dehydration leads to dryness of the throat, which will cause more irritation and pain.
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means that it causes you to pee more often. Peeing a lot also means that your body will lose more water, causing dehydration. For this reason, I suggest drinking decaf coffee if you have a sore throat.
Moreover, instead of adding sugar, which will lower your immunity, you should use honey to sweeten your coffee.
Instant Coffee + Milk
If you don’t like drinking decaf coffee, you should consider adding milk to your caffeinated coffee instead. According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking cold milk soothes and relieves your sore throat. Milk also contains vitamins and minerals that you may need for a faster recovery.
Adding milk to your coffee will also enhance its taste. The bitter taste of coffee sometimes causes more irritation to your throat, and adding milk will tone down the bitterness.
Dark Roast Coffee
When you have a sore throat, I recommend drinking dark roast coffee rather than light roast. You can make iced coffee with milk, honey, or just any of the two.
Dark roast coffee is less acidic than light roast coffee because the longer you roast the coffee, the more oils, acids, and caffeine are released from the beans.
Dark roast coffee beans get roasted for longer than light roast beans, causing them to release more oils and acids and leaving them less acidic than their light-roasted counterparts.
Cold Brew + Honey
Cold brew coffee is less acidic since the extraction process of cold brew coffee is much slower than that of hot brewed coffee.
Cold brewing involves steeping coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for 12 to 24 hours, allowing the coffee grounds to release their oils and solubles into the water slowly.
Add two tablespoons of honey to boost your immune system and enhance the taste, making the drink healthier.
Black Coffee without Sugar
If you’re in a rush and have no time for a cold brew coffee, you can still drink your regular black coffee, given that it is not very hot once you drink it. However, I don’t suggest adding sugar to your coffee.
You can skip any sweetener altogether if you’re not a fan of adding honey to your drinks.
Hot Coffee vs. Iced Coffee: Which is Better for Sore Throat?
Iced coffee is often the go-to choice for those with a sore throat. The cold can help soothe the throat, and the caffeine can help wake up the body, which can help with pain and tiredness.
The most important thing is to ensure the coffee is cold, as hot coffee can worsen a sore throat.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should always drink iced coffee with a sore throat. You can still drink hot brews, but allow them to cool for a bit to avoid burning your throat.
Coffee vs. Tea: Which is Better for Sore Throat?
Although coffee and tea (especially black tea) contain caffeine, they also offer soothing effects for your sore throat.
However, it would be better for you to drink tea that does not contain caffeine, such as ginger tea or chamomile tea.
Best Drinks To Have for Sore Throat (Home Remedies)
Water is the best drink you should have if you have a sore throat. Water does not irritate and keeps your mouth moist, resulting in a less itchy throat.
You can also use water (warm water, not hot water) and salt gargles to kill microbes that may have caused the irritation, as in strep throat.
There are a lot of teas available on the market, but the best tea would be one that has a soothing effect and does not contain caffeine. Herbal teas, such as licorice tea, turmeric tea, chamomile tea, honey citrus mint tea, and ginger tea, are excellent options.
However, you can still drink green tea, chai tea, or black tea, as they also offer a soothing effect. You can add lemon juice and honey to make the drink healthier. But remember to avoid very hot tea to avoid worsening throat pain.
Sports drinks are an excellent way to provide the hydration you need to heal faster. I suggest getting ones without caffeine or added sugar.
You should never drink alcohol if you have a sore throat, as it irritates and damages the inflamed lining of your esophagus, making it itchier. You should also avoid having spicy or highly acidic food.
Yes, drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages is bad for acid reflux, as it creates more stomach acid in your gastric sections, worsening your symptoms.
While lemon juice is acidic and can trigger worse sore throat pain, it is a beneficial addition to warm liquids, such as your favorite tea.