If you drink a lot of coffee and that in turn results in less water consumption because you simply do not feel thirsty due to the number of cups of coffee you drink then you would be right to ask if coffee causes dehydration.
Not only does coffee not dehydrate you but it actively helps to hydrate you in the same way that water does.
There is a lot of conflicting information out there so we have conducted some thorough research to establish the facts around the contribution that coffee makes to your daily water intake.
How much water is there in coffee?
First of all we need to understand what a cup of coffee is actually made up of.
It’s easy to mistake the amount of coffee that is actually in a cup of coffee by looking at the amount of coffee that goes into the brewing process in the first place.
The amount of coffee and water that ends up in your cup varies depending on the type of brewing method that you use.
With espresso you start with 20 grams of ground coffee and you are aiming for around 40-60ml of liquid from the initial 20 grams so you may think that the coffee and water mix could be as high as 50/50.
Once the water is forced through the coffee and into the cup you have approximately 90% water and 10% coffee that has been extracted from the ground coffee.
With espresso, the vast majority of the coffee gets discarded in the form of the puck that gets left in the portafilter and then if you choose to dilute it even more with extra water to create an americano or with milk to create a cappuccino or latte then you are going to end up with even more water as a percentage of the total.
Because espresso is so concentrated it has by far the most amount of coffee as a percentage than any other coffee drink and it is still 90% water.
The more water you add the more diluted it becomes and higher the percentage of water you end up with.
With Americano you will end up with around 95% water and only 5% coffee.
Once you start looking at different coffee brewing methods then the percentage of coffee reduces even further. If you use a filter coffee machine or a cafetière to make your coffee then you can be looking at as little as 2% coffee and 98% water.
How much water is there in milk?
If you enjoy cappuccino or latte then you will be adding milk to your coffee and that will increase the water content even more.
The vast majority of milk is also water and so that is also deceiving when it comes to coffee. It depends on the type of milk but on average milk is around 87% water so if latte happens to be your drink of choice then you can easily end up with a 500ml large latte that is 90% water.
If you drink two large lattes’s a day that could give you up to 900ml of water which is going to provide close to half of the amount of water you need every day to keep yourself hydrated.
If you are interested in understanding how to make the perfect cup of coffee then here are some detailed articles specific to each coffee type:
Does coffee count as daily water intake?
We should be drinking around 2 litres of water a day to stay fully hydrated and the experts agree that the water in coffee all counts towards your daily water intake.
Your body absorbs and retains as much fluid as it needs and then it just gets rid of the excess via your urine. Whether you drink pure water or water in coffee it makes absolutely no difference.
Studies have been conducted that measure hydration levels in adults where water is drunk on its own and then on a different day the same amount of liquid is consumed in the form of coffee instead of water and the hydration levels compared.
The results showed that there was no noticeable difference between the two. Here is the detailed article on the NHS website showing that coffee will not dehydrate you.
Now we know that coffee cannot cause dehydration but what about understanding how many cups of coffee it is ok to drink on a daily basis.
How many cups of coffee is safe to drink each day?
Second only to water itself, coffee is the most drunk drink in the world so is it ok to drink 6 coffees a day or should you restrict your intake?
Because of the popularity of coffee there have been some extraordinary studies done that compare people that drink a lot of coffee with people that drink no coffee and everything else in between.
This article that asks Is coffee good for you? goes into detail about the impact of high levels of coffee consumption over long periods of time and what is boils down to is that coffee bucks the trend of doing things in moderation.
Even if you drink 8 cups of coffee a day not only is it not bad for you but it is proven that it can have a positive impact on your health when compared to people that drink no coffee at all.
So you can fill your boots with as much coffee as you can drink in the knowledge that it will do you more good than harm and not only that it counts as towards your daily water intake as well.
Lots of people find water on it’s own boring, bland and mundane so if you are one of those people but you like coffee then you are now fully equipped with what you need to stay hydrated and drink something throughout the day that you enjoy.
Or are you?
What is the most cost-effective way to drink coffee and stay hydrated?
Before I understood the benefits of drinking more coffee I mostly drank two cups a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. As soon as I realised that I could double that amount without causing any issues that is exactly what I did but if you are not careful then it can become pretty expensive.
First of all, you don’t want to be drinking too much instant coffee. Not because it’s bad for you but because it just isn’t very nice and if you start drinking more of it then you will get sick of it quickly and then have to revert to water for all of your hydration again.
This article explains why you should switch away from instant coffee.
Making good coffee does not need to be expensive. You can even get close to the type of coffee that you pay £3 or more for in a coffee shop by buying a cheap espresso machine for under £100 and then you will find yourself enjoying each and every coffee that you drink every single day.
Here are some articles giving you some options for making great tasting coffee at home: