Some like it hot… Tips for drinking coffee on a hot day (and when cold coffee is the answer)

So it’s been a hot summer---apparently the hottest summer on record for planet Earth.

Without delving into the slowly unfolding (potential) tragedy behind that simple statement, let’s shift topics and talk about coffee.  Specifically, let’s address the topic of drinking hot drinks (preferably coffee of course) on hot days. 

I like it hot, she likes it cold. It's all good, because it's caffeinated coffee!
First question: During summer (or whenever it’s very warm out), does it make sense to always drink iced coffee rather than a standard hot cup of joe? 

And... Is it bad to drink hot coffee on a hot day? Can it hurt you? 

Also...Is iced coffee always the answer for cooling off (assuming of course that one wants to drink coffee instead of water, which is also a healthy option) on a hot day?

These questions have finally been answered by a Canadian scientist, Dr. Ollie Jay, at the University of Ottawa’s School of Human Kinetics.  

When it comes to coffee, most researchers and scientists have focused on all of its health-boosting properties---courtesy of a generous dose of antioxidants in each ‘dose.’ But very few researchers have taken on the topic of when one should drink one’s coffee hot versus icing it up, or simply opting for a cold-brew.

Whether hot or cold, coffee is healthy and can help you live a longer, healthier life...

Researchers have established that coffee reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, liver disease, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, brain cancer, liver cancer, and colon cancer. 

Drinking hot coffee on a hot day

Dr. Jay and colleagues conducted a study in a laboratory setting with bicyclists, who were outfitted with skin temperature sensors, to measure heat, and mouthpieces to measure the amount of oxygen consumed and the amount of carbon dioxide released---a proxy for metabolic activity. They also factored in external metrics, such as air temperature and humidity---and then they gave the cyclists hot water to drink.

Here’s what they found: Hot drinks make you sweat. In ideal conditions, sweating more can help cool you down, assuming the sweat is able to evaporate away.  That means that if you want to drink hot drinks in hot weather, try to do it on days that are not too humid.  If it’s too humid, or if you are overdressed for the weather, you are probably already sweating. If you drink a hot drink under these conditions, you will sweat even more, and all of the sweat will be unable to evaporate. 

If you encounter these conditions, get a cold, caffeinated, coffee or espresso-based drink---FAST!
Drinking iced coffee on a super-hot day

I personally like Starbucks Doubleshot® on Ice. Give it a shot the next time you’re hot and sweaty and it’s humid outside.  If you live in on the East coast like me, that should be at least half of all the summer days. There is ALWAYS an upside---and it almost always involves coffee. Enjoy! 


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