Hot Cup Topic – Why Do People Drink Coffee After Dinner?

After a meal drinking coffee is a nightly tradition for millions of people around the world. It can be decaf half coffee/half-decaf or espresso. Coffee is consumed for various reasons. From cultural, dietary, speeding up the digestive tract, combating post-meal lull, etc. After-meal coffee is not only a nightly tradition but also has some health benefits too.

Drink coffee after dinner may look counter-intuitive. Because coffee is supposed to keep you alert and awake and people have their dinner right before bedtime. So, why do various cultures practice this after meal act? Is it really good for our health or not? Let’s discuss them and much more in this article.

Reasons People Drink After-Meal Coffee

Family Tradition

The last thing a Millennial would like to do is hang out with his/her family and drinking coffee after dinner. However, with age, we all tend to seek out the precious company of our aging parents. So, what better way than a cup of java after a home-cooked meal? During festive times of the year, the same can be used to catch up with your relatives to increase family ties.


Most European countries traditionally indulge in a cup of joe after a meal. For example, Italians like to drink cappuccino in the morning. Milk is rich and Italians like to drink it through cappuccino. Espresso is usually consumed in the evening or at night.

The Dutch have their “Koffie Verkeerd”, meaning “reverse coffee”. It’s a glass of milk is mixed with a small amount of coffee.

In France, black coffee with cognac gets served after dinner. Another beverage called Café Granit, a strong yet sweet, flavored with a mocha liqueur get served too.

Americans also have a wide range of coffee traditions, mostly because of the Latin and Italian immigrants over the generations. Americans drink coffee after dinner as a family tradition or for its health benefits.

Calorie Counters

Black coffee helps you lose weight. For those who eat out in restaurants but trying to lose weight, black coffee is a way to go for them. Coffee helps you urinate frequently. It’s also a good source of antioxidants which are good for losing bodyweight.

Coffee is known as a low-calorie drink – only if no sugar, milk, or sweeteners are added, it will contain exactly 0 calories (Black Coffee). The chlorogenic acids in it help to decrease fat cells and absorb more glucose into the bloodstream. These acids can also help burn fat, especially those who drink 3-5 cups per day. The caffeine within also is an appetite suppressant. So, you won’t be as tempted to start eating again after a meal.

Post-Dinner Lull

When our body consumes a lot of carbohydrates, Homeostasis happens and we start to feel tired and lethargic.

When consumed in large amounts, the blood sugar levels get spiked. To compensate, the body then releases Insulin. Because of this release, the brain produces more serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for our lulls or sleepiness.

Drinking the right amount of caffeine will help to combat this lulling effect after eating a big meal.

Speeding Things Up A Bit

Drinking coffee after meals will help with digestion and against constipation. The caffeine in the coffee makes our intestinal tract muscles contract more. Consequently, the wastes move along quicker.

The longer food stays in the intestines, the more weight is gained. So “speeding things up a bit”, actually making our body lose weight. Because food is not stuck in the intestines and our body continues to absorb the nutrients.

Why We Should Drink Coffee After Dinner

It’s definitely better to have some food and then have a cup of coffee. Let’s see the process and the reasons below.

  1. Caffeine makes our body release sugar into the bloodstream.
  2. As a result it causes our pancreas to also release insulin. On an empty stomach, this causes a sharp decline in blood sugar.
  3. The drop of blood sugar level sets up our sugar cravings. Guess what will aid that sugar spike besides sugar? Yes, Caffeine!
  4. Furthermore, caffeine can suppress our appetite; so we don’t feel hungry for a longer time.
  5. This “not feeling hungry for a long time”, sets up more episodes of low blood sugar and more sugar and coffee cravings.
  6. Getting food in our stomach will help control this blood sugar response as well as keep away from those cravings.
  7. Drinking coffee with our meal can also cut down iron absorption by 80 percent. Minerals like magnesium, zinc, and calcium also face reduced absorption.

So drink coffee after dinner, but, try waiting at least 1 hour for positive and desired impacts that it is meant for.

Many drink it to help with their digestion and for suppressing their appetite. Therefore cutting down the chance of snacking. The bitterness of espresso contrasts ideally with the sweetness of a dessert item, so it rounds off a meal perfectly.

Healthy alternatives to hot coffee in this case is green tea. Polyphenolic compounds such as catechins are found in green tea. They act to increase the pepsin activity – the digestive enzyme that helps to break down the dietary proteins inside the stomach.

Coffee For Weight Loss

  • Black coffee consists of an element named chlorogenic acid. It’s known to speed up the weight loss process. If you drink black coffee after lunch or dinner, the chlorogenic acid slows down glucose production. Also reduces the production of new fat cells. It means lesser calories in our body.
  • You may add cream or nut milk to your black coffee also. It will not only amp up the flavor but will also hand you better results. In case, if you are trying to trim those extra kilos.
  • But, there’s more! You’d be amazed to find that black coffee carries various antioxidants. They are also equally responsible for efficient weight loss.
  • Drinking coffee can aid you in losing weight by stimulating “brown fat”. It burns calories to produce body heat, experts have claimed.
  • Finally, if you can pair up your daily intake of black coffee with a low-calorie-based diet, then you will have amazing results very quickly.

But please take note, if you love drinking coffee after meal(s), try do it after at least an hour of the meal. And it’s best to go for pure black coffee with no additives.

Coffee After Dinner – Where It Happens

Europeans try to order sharp, short espresso after their dinner. Why, you ask? Milky coffee drinks are considered morning drinks for them. It’s too milky and heavy to be consumed with a full stomach. Thus they drink espresso which is almost calorie-free with a tiny volume of liquid.

In Europe this post-meal tradition known as, Digestif. Digestif is an alcoholic serving after a meal. It aids digestion. If served after a coffee it gets called a pousse-café.

The French eat their dinner a little later, between 8 to 9 pm. Also in places like Belgium, Austria among others. In Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece, Spain, and Portugal, dinners are a party reserved for way later.

So, basically, most of the European countries have their dinner late and round it off with their after-meal coffee.  


The after-dinner coffee has been a tradition for thousands of years and millions of people now worldwide. It’s a drink to continue the after-meal conversation around their dinner table with their loved ones. Others exercise this practice for health reasons. And some consume it to counteract the sleepiness effect of eating a large number of carbohydrates.

Whatever the reason for drinking coffee after meal, ultimately it’s a tradition for people to enjoy. The social and health benefits of an after-dinner coffee bring only add to the quality of our lives.

Enjoy Your Coffee!

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