Why does coffee make you poop?
Coffee. It's known world-wide for it's stimulating effects on the mind, body, and soul. That being said, it's also notorious for helping people drop kids off at the pool (if you catch my drift). It's all part of the coffee drinking ritual for most of us. Whether it be in the morning, afternoon, or evening; depending on your schedule... you're more than likely going to have somewhat of a routine if you're a regular coffee consumer. I, for instance, know that I'm going to need to be near a bathroom within 15-20 minutes of consuming my first cup of coffee (which is usually our Repeater blend). Now, notice that I said NEED to be near a bathroom. This is NOT a want situation... I will need it. I'm not sure what your particular window of time is, but I'm a responsible adult and I know my limits and drink responsibly! I'm not one to be so cavalier as to drink a cup of coffee and then go to a movie until after that 15-minute window has come and gone.
So what is it about this dark and mysterious liquid that gets our bowels in such a fecal frenzy? The answer is as murky as the poo-inducing liquid itself. Plenty of research has been done on the subject and there are various camps when it comes to the active ingredient responsible for initiating such a reprehensible act. The majority of these camps are trying to pin the causation on a single thing which is where much of the disagreement comes into play.
Is it the caffeine? At first glance... Yes... But then again... No... Most likely... Maybe!? Based on a study back in the late 90's... It was determined that both coffee and it's decaffeinated counterpart both lead to colonic stimulation... However, the effect wasn't as intense with the decaf BUT both beverages had more of a poop positive impact than the warm water control. So, it would be easy to assume that caffeine is the culprit here, but let's not be so quick to jump to a conclusion. Tea also has caffeine and yet it does not tend to produce the same shituation in terms of stirring up a deuce. Neither do most energy drinks and sodas which are sporting caffeine derived from coffee (we'll get into that in another blog post at a later time). So, while caffeine seems to play a role, it's not the sole culprit responsible for releasing the log jam.
In another camp there's a focus on the acid content of coffee. Some of the studies I had read through tend to point to the pH of a coffee, but it doesn't quite add up when you factor in that orange juice does little to get your booty moving in the same way. Alas, ruling out acid as a contributing factor isn't that easy. This is a bit tricky because there are a number of different acids present in coffee. Most researchers point towards the chlorogenic acids found in coffee and hypothesize that they may impact the production of digestive enzymes and stomach acid to help wake up the intestines by means of colorectal stimulation (try saying that five times fast... not because it's difficult... just funny.). This theory catches a lot of shit because there's not a whole lot of supporting evidence at the moment. BUTT, that doesn't mean it's wrong.
Regardless of which camp you're in (if any), the situation is far more complicated than what most would assume. Rather than subscribe to a single camp I would gamble to say that it's more likely a concerted effort by multiple factors. If I'm giving you my best guess on the cause at this given time... I think that it's likely a combination of caffeine working to speed up the metabolism in combination with stimulation of stomach acids via the unique chlorogenic acid compounds found in coffee that lead to a great awakening of the bowels which ultimately results in dookie production. So, there you have it... My best guess based on all of the science available to me in 2021. Should greater minds decide to shine a brighter light on this shitty subject, I will anxiously await their new findings and adopt them as needed. In the meantime, continue to brew and poo regularly with confidence.
Thanks for reading! If you like this blog or have anything to add, we'd love to read it in the comments. Also, bonus points if you share a comical story relating to this topic. ;)