Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the entire world and for many; it is the first thing that comes to mind when they wake up in the morning. Evidently enough, it has also been linked to pooping because of the bowel pressure that one usually feels after drinking a cup, especially in the morning. People often wonder about the reasons behind the phenomenon and although it is not true for everyone who drinks coffee, there is indeed scientific evidence that drinking coffee can help initiate a bowel movement in some of us. The primary reason for this is the fact that coffee itself is a stimulant and it is supposed to work as a stimulant to begin with. In addition to stimulating the nervous system and making us more alert, coffee also stimulates peristalsis. Peristalsis in this case is the contracting and relaxing movement which is initiated in the digestive system to excrete. Unfortunately for some of us, coffee can over-initiate peristalsis causing loose stool and even full-blown diarrhea.
As mentioned earlier, this is not the case for all humans as different human beings have different reactions to coffee due to varying internal conditions. While some suffer from its bowel stimulating effects, others find it absolutely essential to have a cup of coffee in the morning in order to have a proper bowel movement. It is for this property of coffee that it is considered to be quite effective against constipation.
If one is feeling the effects of coffee in an uncomfortable manner, then he/she may often be advised to change from caffeinated to decaffeinated coffee, but the chances of this shift working in one’s favor is pretty low. Observation has it that the peristalsis stimulating effect of coffee still remains active even if one had a decaf. It should also be noted that in addition to being a diarrhetic, coffee is also a diuretic. Experts point to the fact that if one is experiencing problems with his/her consumption of coffee, then the best thing to do would be to reduce the intake to a very small quantity and gradually increase it to the desired amount that can be handled by the person.
Apart from Coffee and pooping tribulations, excessive consumption of coffee is also not healthy for the body as it can cause dehydration, heart problems, insomnia, osteoporosis, cholesterol etc. If however, one is searching for an alternative to coffee altogether, there are quite a few. Most of these alternatives are actually various types of tea, like black tea, green tea, licorice tea, rooibos tea, Siberian Ginseng tea etc. Teas contain less or no caffeine at all and although it has a stimulating effect on the entire body, coffee drinkers usually find the various forms of tea to be less problematic when it comes to its poop initiating effect. Other alternatives to coffee are yerba mate and carob powder. One should seriously consider these alternatives if someone has a digestive system that gets upset easily or an ulcer problem.
The believers and practitioners of alternative medicine appreciate the ability of coffee to make us poop and thus coffee enemas are quite popular among them. The coffee enema, according to them is the best way to cleanse one’s colon. As holistic medicine stresses on the importance of having a clean colon in order to both keep diseases away as well as to cure the ones already affecting the body, coffee plays an important role in treatments. It should however be kept in mind that there is no documented proof to support the claims and practitioners of mainstream medicine do not advocate it at all.
Unknown to a lot of us, coffee actually used to be much more potent as a laxative a few decades ago. The difference lies in the technique in which the beans were brewed back then and are brewed now. Back then, the brewers kept the coffee beans near the bottom of the brewing pan, while nowadays, the coffee and the beans are hardly kept in touch due to the use of the modern drip technique. The latter produced a coffee which had a much stronger flavor and consequently worked better as a laxative.
Finally, another popular myth that drinking a lot of coffee will make you lose weight is actually not entirely a myth. Doctors have proof that coffee can help people lose a little weight but it may hardly be of any real significance. The two main ways by which coffee can make you lose weight is by stimulating thermogenesis and making you excrete. While thermogenesis is a bodily process that acquires energy and heat from the ingested nutrition by burning the calories, if coffee is making you poop so much that you have started to lose weight, it is time to stop it. Not only are you pooping and urinating the important bodily fluids more often than you should, the weight loss which you may see is only temporary and is not even due to the loss of fat. Excessive drinking of coffee, as mentioned earlier, may lead to diarrhea.
There is another relation between coffee and pooping that many people are not aware of, and this time, the relation between the two is the other way around. Kopi luwak is among the world’s rarest and costliest coffee varieties, but it is the origin of the coffee that can be a bit disconcerting for some. Kopi luwak is made by processing the coffee beans that are collected from poop of a kind of Asian animal, known as the Palm Civet. The Asian Palm civet is a cat like small mammal which forms a part of the Viverridae family. It is native to most Asian countries like India, Bhutan, Nepal, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Myanmar etc.
These mammals are omnivorous and thus, coffee berries are a part of their diet. However, only the fleshy parts of the coffee berries are digested while the beans are pooped out whole, but not without minute and important changes in them, mind you. While the beans pass through the animal’s intestines, certain proteolytic enzymes native to the animal’s digestive system enters the coffee beans freeing up amino acid molecules within the beans, while lessening the number of peptic bonds in them as well. What all this means is that this extraordinary process actually improves the flavor of the coffee beans and even takes away some of the bean’s inherent bitterness. The defecated coffee beans do go through intense washing, drying (by sunlight), roasting and brewing of course, before being marketed.
Ironically, kopi luwak was invented by the same people who were forbidden by their colonialist masters to ever use coffee beans from coffee plantations for their own purpose. The native farmers of Java and Sumatra were made to work for the “cash-crop” plantations in the 18th century (which included coffee) without being allowed to use any of what they themselves sowed. However, the natives found out that the coffee beans are left intact in the excreta of the Palm civets and thus they cleaned, roasted and ground these excreted beans in the same way that coffee beans from the plantations were prepared, in order to get a taste of what the plantation owners were so fond of. The Dutch plantation owners also came to know of the process soon and within a short span of time, kopi luwak became the most preferred brand of coffee even among them.
Although the Palm civets are quite a frequently available species in most of the Asian nations, Kopi luwak is chiefly produced in Java, Sumatra, Bali, Philippines, Vietnam, East Timor and Sulawesi. There are other names that have been given to the rich, fragrant coffee processed from the poop of civets though; examples include kape alamid, motit coffee, kafé-laku, weasel coffee, Uchunari and such. In spite of the fact that the same kind of coffee bean stimulation is also done artificially, the natural Kopi luwak costs a lot more and arguably, tastes better as well. As far as we know, there are two active natural kopi luwak farms in Vietnam now, where roughly 300 of these cats are fed beef along with the coffee. Note though, that these two farms at Dak Lak do not have the Palm civets under captivity.
Around three hundred kilograms is all the coffee that these two farms produce and the whole of it goes to the United Kingdom only. Every variety of the kopi luwak is very expensive; in fact it is the most expensive coffee in the world by far. While a pound of this coffee from most of its manufacturer countries sells for anything in between $100-$600, the kopi luwak from the two aforementioned Vietnamese farms sell for roughly $3000 per pound. This extremely high price is not only attributed to the much appreciated aroma and taste of the coffee beans, but also to the shortage of production and availability.