Ayurveda, Nutrition

An Ayurvedic Perspective on Coffee

Published on Jun 18, 2023 By Lisa Codina

Who doesn’t love a good ole’ cup of Joe?

Coffee is more than just a drink for many people, in fact, many have an actual relationship with coffee. It’s there to great you first thing in the morning, it gives you a liquid high-five to motivate you mid-morning or after lunch when you hit the afternoon slump. It’s a comforting, ritualistic habit, that many avid coffee-drinkers wouldn’t dare give up.

There are many benefits to drinking coffee, but there are also many detriments to it. In Ayurveda, coffee is a considered a medicine, not a source of nourishment. Ayurveda understands that all of our systems are unique, and so one cannot make a blanket statement when assessing the pros and cons of coffee.

So, what is the Ayurvedic perspective on this beloved drink? Like most things, Ayurveda considers coffee to be both a medicine for some and a poison for others, depending on the time and the situation. It also tells us that different mind-body types react to coffee differently. This is why it’s important to understand your Ayurvedic constitution. (Don’t know your dosha yet? Take my quiz!)

Ayurveda looks at the qualities (gunas) in everything, from plants, inanimate objects, to food, seasons, and more. Energetically speaking, coffee is heating, light, astringent, dry, and has a mobile quality that’s present no matter what type you drink. Since it is a carrier of the Air and Fire elements, it has a stimulatory effect on the stomach which lowers the appetite and stimulates the intestines to get moving! For Kapha Dosha, this means that coffee can act more like a medicine since these effects are helpful for the sluggish and congested Kapha body.

On the other hand, if you’re a Vata or Pitta person, these qualities tend to already reside within you. According to Ayurveda “like increases like” meaning those light, drying, heating effects of a cup of joe can lead to twitching, irritability, depletion, anxiety, and inflammation and also exacerbate nervous system and digestive disorders.

According to Ayurveda, avoid coffee if…

How to drink your coffee:

There are many wonderful substitutes for coffee, such as black tea or green tea, but if you want to go completely caffeine-free you should do so the Ayurvedic way. Once you have detoxed from caffeine you can experiment with adaptogenic teas such as Tulsi, Dandelion root, Brahmi, Ginseng, and Chaga.

Remember that according to Ayurveda coffee can be a medicine or a poison, just like any other food that we eat. The important is to observe the qualities that any given food or drink bring to the body and to refrain from consuming certain foods and drinks until your body comes back into balance.