No one can deny that Coffee gets us out of bed in the morning. However, after a cup or two, it seems to have us running to the toilet, Is Coffee a Laxative? For some, this can be somewhat of an inconvenience, while for others, it has since become part of the routine.

So, is Coffee a laxative? This article will shed light on some of your frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding the potential laxative effects of Coffee.

Does Coffee Work as a Laxative?

Is Coffee considered a laxative? Put simply, yes. Many know all too well that drinking a cuppa in the morning can lead to a bathroom visit. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on who you are as a person.

There are those who use Coffee for much-needed relief. However, on the other side of the spectrum, it can be the cause of much annoyance and discomfort.

Is Coffee a Good Laxative? 

It’s difficult to say as it very much depends on the individual. If you’re in need of a laxative, most doctors would likely advise you take prescribed medicines.

There are certainly many to choose from, including Fybogel (ispaghula husk) and methylcellulose. Basically, while Coffee Beans are an excellent laxative for some, there are different, more medically-oriented routes you should consider first.

Is Coffee a Laxative for Everyone?

As mentioned previously, it depends on the individual. Some Coffee drinkers will feel a distinct gastrointestinal effect soon after consumption.

Others will hardly experience anything at all. In other words, a sizeable percentage of people are sensitive to the laxative effects of Coffee. But it certainly doesn’t apply to EVERYONE.

What Makes Coffee a Laxative?

In short, no one really knows what makes Coffee influence one’s bowel movements. Outside of speculation and preliminary research, it remains a mystery. Nevertheless, the most common theory is that it has something to do with the caffeine in Coffee. You can read more about this in our recent article, How Much Caffeine in Coffee?.

Some believe that due to caffeine acting as a stimulant, it might also induce bile production and increase bowel movement. However, this remains unclear, with several studies in fact contradicting such a notion. So, even if caffeine helps, it isn’t the sole reason that Coffee is a laxative. What else could it be, then?

The simple act of drinking Coffee can stimulate the defecation reflex known as the gastrocolic reflex. This essentially jump-starts your bowels whenever you eat or drink. But once again, no scientific evidence currently shows that this is the reason behind Coffee being a laxative.

Research from a 1990 study, on the other hand, brings to light another theory. It suggests that drinking Coffee increases rectosigmoid motility.

This refers to the movement at the intersection of the large colon’s end and the upper rectum. Supporting this claim is another study from 1998. It noted that caffeinated Coffee, decaf Coffee and a 1,000 calorie meal all stimulated the colon. Right now, however, it’s anyone’s guess!

Is Coffee a Diuretic or Laxative?

We have already established that caffeine isn’t the primary reason that Coffee is a laxative. After all, most people don’t have to poop after drinking other beverages like soda or energy drinks.

As such, Decaffeinated Coffee can have the same effects as its caffeinated counterparts. In fact, one study alludes to the prospect of it having an even more significant influence on our bowels. Who knows?

Is Coffee a Laxative?


Research from the 1990s has shown that both caffeinated and decaffeinated Coffees can work as laxatives.

What, exactly, is the cause of this remains unknown. Newer studies have a few theories, but, for the most, we are still in the dark on this one.

The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company will continue to follow developments closely.

Author: Richard Smith

Partner at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company

Richard Smith is a Tea expert, entrepreneur, and owner of The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Part of a family of renowned Tea planters dating back four generations, he was born in Calcutta (Kolkata), India, where he spent his childhood between Tea Estates in Assam and Darjeeling.

In the late 1970s, having accumulated years of knowledge in the industry, Mr Smith and his mother, Janet Smith, moved to Kent, South East England, to establish a Tea business in the village of Pluckley. Their early days of packing Tea Bags by hand from chests of 10,000 prompted the creation of the company’s flagship infusion known as Pluckley Tea. It remains our most popular product today.

Mr Smith, who studied economics at London Polytechnic, has since specialised in over 1,000 types of Loose Leaf Tea - in addition to around 70 varieties of Roast Coffee - from around the world. These are now available at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, where everything is still packed by hand and fresh to order, not only to honour tradition but to ensure the utmost quality and consistency.