Are you Allergic to Coffee? Important Symptoms

Are you Allergic to Coffee? Important Symptoms

Importance and Consumption of Coffee

Coffee, a magical drink consumed by over 1.5 billion people every day on their breakfast tables, especially by the students during their exams. The importance of coffee in our everyday lives has a massive importance.

Our mornings are not only kick-started by coffee but it gives us a feeling of revitalization and an energy boost throughout the day.

A coffee consumer on average drinks up to 3 cups of coffee every day. Most have stated that it helps them perform better and improves concentration. Coffee big shots like Starbucks and Dunkin Doughnuts have capitalized on the idea and have come with a variety of caffeinated hot and cold beverages. This has led people lined up in long queues three times a day in the hopes of grabbing their steaming cup of coffee goodness.

What does Coffee Allergy Mean

Medically, an allergy refers to a damaging response produced by the immune system . When the body comes in contact with an allergen (food and non-food protein, fur and pollen, caffeine) your body considers it as a foreign invader and produces an inflammatory response.

The response can be as mild as a sore throat too as extreme as breathing difficulties and rash on the skin. Such allergies may be inherited or may occur due to a hypersensitive immune system.

Coffee Intolerance Vs Coffee Allergy

People want to stay up in their health game due to easy access of information today. Every third person in Europe has some kind of food allergy today.

People are often found to be scanning the list of ingredients before purchasing something at the store. Similarly, when someone experiences a stomach ache or diarrhea after a cup of coffee, they instantly assume that to be an allergic reaction.

An allergic reaction is a result of a response produced by the immune system when the body comes in contact (ingesting, inhaling or even touching) with the allergen. Symptoms may include redness and rashes all over the body, shortness of breath, swelling, muscular cramps and troubled vision.

A food intolerance is a gastrointestinal rejection of a food substance that was ingested only. The symptoms will result in vomiting, diarrhea and stomach ache only.

Get Tested

The two ways to find out if you are allergic to coffee or caffeine is by getting tested. The two methods used are

  1. A Skin Prick Test
  2.  Simple blood test

In a skin prick test, a tiny amount of caffeine will be placed under the skin. If any form of skin irritation surfaces then it confirms the caffeine allergy.

In a conventional blood test, a sample of blood from the patient is sent to the lab. Caffeine is introduced in the blood and the sample is observed under a microscope. If IgE antibodies are produced then the patient is diagnosed with a caffeine allergy.

Symptoms of Coffee Allergy

It is extremely important to familiarize oneself with the symptoms of coffee allergy. Below are some mild to life threatening symptoms

Dermatological Issues

Some people suffer from redness and a rash all over their bodies. The skin begins to itch as soon as it comes in contact with coffee beans or vice versa.

These irritations turn into hives and can cause a lot of discomforts. When your body comes in contact with an allergen, the mast cells ( white blood cells associated with immune and system of the body) release certain chemicals in the body.

These chemicals have different effects like itching and redness at the exposed site (skin and the mouth area). Secondly, it increases the flow of blood to that area which helps get rid of the alleged toxin from the body.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

This category of the disorder usually surface when the allergen has been ingested. Initially

  1. Flu like symptoms arise soon after the intake
  2. After some hours, stomach ache, loose watery stools, and vomiting begins. The allergens irritate the lining of a stomach which results in an inflammatory response. The responses include diarrhea and vomiting to push the allergens out of the system
  3. It may also result in dyspepsia and heartburn.
Respiratory Disorders

  1. Mild symptoms may start with slight cold symptoms, runny nose and congestion.
  2. The conditions may aggravate with intense coughing with wheezing sounds.
  3. The windpipe starts to swell making breathing extremely difficult and causing a bluish color on the face due to lack of oxygen. It is deemed as a medical emergency.

Anaphylaxis is an extremely serious medical condition in which the mouth, tongue, and throat swells up as soon as the allergen is ingested. The blood pressure, pulse and the oxygen supply drops.

A person can even faint or blackout due to a shortage of oxygen in brain tissues. The patient might lose his life if medical aid doesn’t arrive at the right time.


The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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