Can Decaf Coffee Still Make You PooP? Yes, It’s Not a Cure, Find Out Why

If you’ve ever noticed that your morning decaf coffee often leads to a swift visit to the bathroom, you’re not alone. This phenomenon can be attributed to various factors, including the impact of coffee on gut hormones and colon activity, as well as the timing of consumption. Interestingly, even decaf coffee can have this effect.

The Call to the Loo

While coffee doesn’t affect everyone’s bowel movements in the same way, studies indicate that it prompts the urge to poop in approximately one-third of individuals, with a slightly higher prevalence among women. This effect can manifest rapidly; research suggests that coffee can stimulate muscle contractions in the colon within as little as four minutes, leading to the urge to defecate.

Caffeinated coffee appears to exert a more pronounced effect on colon muscle activity compared to decaf. Previous research found that caffeinated coffee increased colon contractions by 23% more than decaf coffee. Consequently, caffeinated coffee is more likely to induce a strong urge to poop than its decaffeinated counterpart.

Beyond stimulating muscle activity in the colon, coffee triggers the urge to poop through other mechanisms as well.

Coffee’s Impact on Gut Hormones

Coffee promotes the production of several hormones, including gastrin and cholecystokinin (CCK), which are involved in the gastrocolic reflex. This reflex stimulates gut contractions, propelling stool towards the rectum for elimination. Hence, coffee can enhance gut movement, intensifying the urge to poop.

While it’s evident that coffee influences specific gut hormones, further research is required to fully comprehend how coffee compounds affect the digestive process.

Morning Wake-Up Call

Historical research indicates that coffee’s bowel-stimulating effects are particularly potent in the morning. This may be because the stomach empties more slowly during sleep, and colon contractions decrease. Upon awakening and becoming active, both the body and the colon spring into action. Drinking coffee in the morning further stimulates the digestive system, heightening the urge to poop.

Caffeine’s Poop-Promoting Properties

While caffeine isn’t solely responsible for post-coffee bowel movements, it likely contributes to the phenomenon. A standard eight-ounce cup of coffee typically contains 80 to 100 milligrams of caffeine. Caffeine stimulates colon muscle activity and increases pressure in the anus, amplifying the urge to poop.

However, research suggests that caffeine isn’t the sole contributor to coffee’s colon-stimulating effects. Decaf coffee also boosts colon muscle activity, indicating that other coffee components play a role in promoting bowel movements.

Dairy Dilemma

Adding cow’s milk or cream to coffee can affect bowel movements, particularly in individuals intolerant to lactose, a sugar found in milk. Lactose intolerance can cause bloating, diarrhea, gas, nausea, and abdominal pain, with symptoms worsening with age. Other coffee additives, such as certain sugar substitutes, may also stimulate bowel movements.

Even Decaf Drives Pooping

Despite lacking caffeine, decaf coffee can still induce bowel movements, affecting approximately one-third of individuals. While its effect is milder than that of caffeinated coffee, decaf stimulates colon activity and hastens the urge to poop. Scientists believe that compounds other than caffeine, such as chlorogenic acids and melanoidins, contribute to decaf coffee’s gut-activating properties.

Managing Coffee-Induced Bowel Movements

If you’re sensitive to coffee’s bowel-stimulating effects, entirely eliminating this phenomenon may not be feasible. Since food intake also triggers colon activity, drinking coffee with a meal is unlikely to significantly alter this effect.

However, modifying certain coffee additives may help mitigate the urge to poop in some individuals. For instance, cutting out dairy-based additives like milk and creamers and switching to plant-based alternatives may reduce symptoms in those intolerant to lactose. Similarly, replacing non-nutritive sweeteners with gut-friendly alternatives like monk fruit or stevia may alleviate digestive discomfort.

Moreover, experimenting with coffee consumption quantity and timing may also yield insights. Adjusting the amount or timing of coffee intake could help manage the urge to poop, particularly if it tends to occur inconveniently.

In summary, various factors contribute to coffee-induced bowel movements, including caffeine content, coffee’s influence on gut hormones, and additives. Experimenting with coffee consumption habits may help mitigate this phenomenon’s impact on daily life.


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Coffee Grind: How to Find the Right Kind

Ground decaf coffee is available in a few different grades and there’s a great deal of confusion as to what the grind has to do with flavour, the kind of coffee-making equipment you have, and so on. It can be baffling for anyone but now, the guesswork is over, with our guide to the grind.

What coffee grind is best for me?

From fine ground to coarse, the grind of the coffee affects how it tastes in your cup. if you pay attention to what ground coffee you are putting into which piece of coffee-making equipment you will always get the best taste and aroma. If your coffee tastes bad, it is usually because you have over or under brewed your drink. 

It’s not surprising that with a myriad of kinds of coffee making machines, there are many ways of brewing, from the super-fast to the grindingly slow. Your chosen machine will require a specific size, grade, and grind of coffee to work properly.

How to find the perfect espresso grind

Espresso machines are fast because the hot water is in contact with the coffee for less than half a minute. This liquid extracts the flavour quickly, and a finer grind leads to a richer, more flavoursome cup. The science behind this is simple, a finer grind means more surface area in contact with the water, gram for gram. 

If you tried coarse ground in an espresso machine, you would find the flavour of your hot brown water sour and undeveloped.

The right ground coffee for your French press

A French press or cafetière takes much longer to work than an espresso machine. In a French press, the grinds float about in the water steeping for minutes on end and so brewing fine ground in a cafetière would allow serious over-extraction of the coffee’s flavour and turn it into a bitter-tasting brew.

For drip filter machines or pour over coffee makers of the kind that fill a carafe or jug, drip by drip, try a medium ground coffee

What kind of coffee grind is right for your kind of coffee machine?

Whenever you buy ground decaf, match the grind to the equipment you own. If you’re always disappointed with your machine’s coffee, it could be as simple a fix as buying different grinds for your machine.

Not only do we love decaf, but we also love keeping decaf simple. We sell coffee in different grinds for different machines. It can be difficult to tell what grind is suitable for each method, so we say what kind of machine it’s good for. Sometimes, to save space on the label, we use a letter instead on our Brasilia coffee and call it what it is for others. But what you will see is: Beans, Ground (cafetière) and Find Ground (espresso, moka and filter machines)

Unground, whole beans (CHOOSE BEANS)

Unground beans are perfect if you like complete control over your coffee, you own a bean-to-cup machine or, alternatively, have more than kind of coffee machine and need to vary the grind accordingly.

French Press or Cafetière (CHOOSE GROUND)

You fill a cafetière with very hot water and leave it to steep. When it is brewed, you compress all the grounds out of suspension behind a metal screen by pushing a plunger down.

E Espresso coffee (CHOOSE FINE GROUND)

An espresso machine at home can be very convenient and makes us all into a barista. But originally, people brewed coffee using a stove-top percolator called a Moka pot. This boils water under pressure, forcing steam and water through the coffee grinds. When the grinds are saturated with pressure from boiling water, the steam further forces the brewed coffee up a funnel and then into the top chamber. Once you hear the characteristic sound of gurgling, your coffee is ready.

P Coffee Pods and Capsules

Not all pod systems create environmentally responsible coffee. Many of these will be thrown away after one use and the environmental consequences will not be limited to a small area. However, it is best to find those that are refillable to avoid this dilemma. We sell one of these on, but many other companies offer refillable pods as well.

F Filter Coffee and AeroPress (CHOOSE FINE GROUND)

The simplest way to make coffee is to drip feed or pour hot water over grounds sitting in a filter cone. From the pour-over to the new AeroPress machine, a medium grind works best.

Can I Make My Own Iced Decaf Coffee?

Every now and then in summer, the sun shines bright, everything warms up nicely then, bit by bit, not nicely at all. Pretty soon, it gets so warm that any enclosed space feels like a fan oven. A hot, steaming cup of decaf coffee is about the last thing on your mind. You need a cold drink. You need an iced coffee. 

In times like these, it’s tempting to get a tin of cold joe from the shop – most of the High Street coffee chains have their own, dreadful takes on iced decaf – but it’s not fresh and who knows what, exactly, is lurking in those cans? Chemical slop and more E numbers than the Exeter telephone exchange. It’s time to make your own.

The best advice for home made Iced Decaf Coffee? Start Yesterday.

The biggest disadvantage to making your own cold brew iced decaf coffee is that the initial brew takes quite a bit of patience. Typically, the concentrate you are making is the base for tomorrow’s cup of iced coffee.

But it’s well worth the wait. The perfect iced coffee has a smooth, round texture and taste and far less of the bitter notes. You will be steeping your ground decaf for up to a day in the fridgeand that gives plenty of time to develop the complex concentrate that gives iced coffee itsamazing full body. Slow and steady wins the race.

Steep Time: Managing the Iced Decaf Brew

Decaf that has been standing for a whole day in a cafetiere will be stewed and over extracted and about as pleasant to drink as diluted vinegar. We’ve all steeped fine ground in a French press and regretted it 3 minutes later, imagine how grim that would be in 24 hours. The trick – as with a regular cup of hot decaf – is in the grind. 

For iced coffee, you should use a medium-coarse ground to prevent your brew ending up full of oily acid. If you only have fine ground, you should reduce the brew time up to 50%. You’ll get your coffee quicker, but you’ll lose some of iced decaf coffee’s best features – the smoothtexture and full body. There’s a recipe for iced decaf coffee from coarse ground and separate instructions for making do with fine ground.

You should try whatever your favourite beans are and coarse grind them for iced decaf. A typical medium roast will make an excellent decaf iced coffee and you’ll get to discover more of the mellow end of your usual decaf cuppa. Darker roasts work well too – they tend to have more of the chocolate and nut notes that develop very well for iced decaf. An espresso-style roast will work well if you plan to add milk, cream or non-dairy alternatives in the final cup.

Recipe for Cold Brew Decaf Coffee

1. Put 800ml cold water into a large jug and add 100g of coarse-ground decaf coffee. Do not stir! Cover and leave for a day.

2. Stir the mixture slowly, then decant it through a sieve or funnel lined with coffee filter paper into another jug. This concentrate – enough for about 7 or 8 cups – keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days.

3. Serve 1-part cold brew concentrate to 2-parts water poured over ice.

4. Dilute with water to taste

5. Milk and sweeten to taste

Recipe for Cold Brew with Fine Decaf Ground Coffee

1. Put 50 grams of fine ground coffee into a large jug.

2. Add 450 ml of water.

3. Stir slowly for up to 60 seconds.

4. Leave in the fridge for between 8 and 16 hours
You might have to experiment with this over time. If the coffee isn’t super-fresh, you should brew for the longer period.

5. Filter the coffee through a fine grind filter.

6. Pour and serve over ice

7. Dilute with water to taste

8. Milk and sweeten to taste