A Good Reason To Drink Your Morning Coffee A Little Slower

Coffee is one of America's oldest and most precious indulgences and has been around for centuries. According to the National Coffee Association, coffee made its way from the Arabian Peninsula to Europe and subsequently to the New World in the 1600s. Today, Americans clearly love their coffee! Online surveys on coffee consumption for the year 2022, conducted by Drive Research, show that an astounding 87% of Americans consider themselves coffee lovers, with 49% consuming an average of three to five cups daily.

However, as much as we love our coffee, this can frequently become a love-hate relationship, especially when we end up with an irritated stomach after our morning cup. Nothing can make your love for coffee go south faster than when, instead of the expected energy boost, your mug gives you painful cramps. However, if you've been experiencing such symptoms, do not rush to end your "love affair": There might be a different culprit for this unfortunate outcome than the coffee itself. So, let's spill the beans on your beloved coffee beans.

What happens when you drink your coffee too fast

Coffee is our unsung hero, getting us through the day (and sometimes helping us pull all-nighters, too!) — but when you notice that that life-saving java isn't agreeing with your gut, you may be tempted to blame it on the arabica, robusta, excelsa, or liberica in your cup. Before you do that, though, pause and reflect on how fast you drink from that cup. The speed of consumption might actually have a lot to do with the negative effects you're experiencing — even more than the brew itself.

Surprised? Don't be. Well+Good interviewed dietitian Maddie Pasquariello, MS, RDN, who explained that if you drink your coffee too quickly, you don't allow your brain enough time to set into motion the spiraling contingencies of the digestive process that stretch from your mouth to your stomach. It's important to give your saliva time to get acquainted with what you put in your mouth; this introduction kicks off that complex process. Without it, your gut might not be ready when the coffee hits, leading to uncomfortable symptoms.

Moreover, as you gulp down coffee, you may inadvertently swallow too much air as well, further hindering your regular digestive process and even contributing to gas, bloating, and discomfort. As a result, instead of the blissful euphoria you might expect to feel after that indispensable cup, you experience all kinds of physical distress.

The case for slowly savoring your coffee

As Well+Good informs us, coffee and an empty stomach are not a good combination and increase the chances of digestive issues. To get the best results from your coffee, you should slow down. As Pasquariello argues, this will allow your body to prepare for and digest your coffee while slowly releasing the energy you need into your system — and also to reap a slew of cognitive benefits at a measured pace without the physical or mental side effects.

What are those benefits? The British Psychological Society suggests that besides the physical effects, coffee has a significant psychological and cognitive impact on us. While caffeine is a natural stimulant of the central nervous system that keeps us physically alert, it also improves our cognitive abilities, facilitates memory (via The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition), and increases serotonin (via CNBC). But these cognitive effects are a double-edged sword; drink too much at once, Pasquariello cautions, and you might find yourself experiencing worrisome symptoms like anxiety and increased heart rate.

While you might be inclined to quickly boost your body in the morning with a shot of caffeine, you should make it a habit to slow down and savor one of life's little pleasures. A healthy morning routine when working from home or before hitting the road should include leaving ample time to enjoy your beans. After all, happiness does come in a mug ... if you just slow down.