Coffee and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) has long been a topic of conversation - albeit a somewhat unpleasant and uncomfortable one. Those who experience the condition often wonder whether drinking a morning cup of Joe causes it or, at the very least, irritates symptoms. This is what we’ll be trying to determine in the following article, so please keep reading to learn the facts. 

We’ll start by providing a brief explanation of Irritable Bowel Syndrome before posing the all-important question: Is Coffee bad for IBS sufferers? We’ll then see if there is a Coffee substitute for IBS, should that be the case. One way or another, look no further than The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company for your morning brew needs. We pack our products fresh to order, ensuring quality and consistency. 

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Between 10% and 20% of the world’s population has Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a condition that affects the gastrointestinal system in several ways. Common symptoms include stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation. It is a chronic issue that typically requires dietary and lifestyle changes to counter it. There is also the option of getting a prescription from a doctor. 

The cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome remains unknown, although research shows that it doesn’t cause changes in bowel tissue or increase colorectal cancer risks. Nevertheless, IBS is a painful presence in most people, both physically and mentally. Indeed, aside from its digestive side effects, it has been associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression. But can Coffee irritate IBS?

Is Coffee Bad for IBS

Is Coffee Bad for IBS Sufferers?

It’s time to answer the question you’re here for: Is Coffee causing IBS? The short answer is that it could be. Yet the reason is less about the beverage itself and more about the effects of caffeine in coffee on Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In other words, it is the stimulant that poses the problem. There are a few reasons why it has such an influence, notably its ability to increase the frequency of bowel movements. 

Furthermore, caffeine promotes acid secretion in the gut, which, in turn, leads to heartburn and indigestion. Its capacity to heighten stress levels, too, could create a spasmodic effect in the digestive system. Another factor is the milk you add, as lactose, like caffeine, exacerbates symptoms. The difference, though, is that you can get a milk alternative for Coffee. What about the beans themselves?

Decaffeinated Coffee IBS

Decaffeinated Coffee and IBS

We’ve covered “regular” caffeinated Coffee and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. We move on now to the question: Is Decaf Coffee bad for IBS in the same manner? Decaffeinated Coffee - and Loose Tea, for that matter - is where workers extract the stimulant from the beans (or Tea leaves). The good news is that switching from caffeinated to decaf coffee for IBS sufferers is a viable route to take. 

But we should provide a note of caution. A common misconception is that the decaffeination process removes 100% of the chemical compound. It doesn’t. However, while a trace amount remains in all instances, even with the most efficient methods, it is, unquestionably, a better choice than a standard caffeine-full infusion. Better still, of course, are Coffee replacements for IBS.

Alternatives to Coffee for IBS Sufferers

Alternatives to Coffee for IBS Sufferers

Those wishing to do away with caffeine altogether needn’t look further than Herbal Tea. The trouble is that Coffee lovers almost certainly want something that reminds them of their favourite cuppa. Despite sounding impossible on the surface, there is an answer: Dandelion Coffee. This is the root of the Dandelion plant that has been roasted to bear a resemblance to its caffeinated counterpart. 

Alternatively, you might be on the search for the Best Tea for Digestion. We’ve written an article on the topic, which goes into detail about Green, Peppermint, Fennel, Ginger, Rooibos and Pu erh Tea. Each one has something unique, perhaps extraordinary, to offer. Each one can improve gastrointestinal health, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. What could be better than that?


We’ve established above that too much Coffee can cause IBS flare ups due to its caffeine content. Drinking Decaf Coffee instead is an excellent choice, as well as 100% caffeine-free Dandelion Coffee and other types of Herbal Tea for digestion. These you can buy and try here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Start your exciting journey when you browse our expansive selection.

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.