While we have a lot of loves in this life, coffee definitely makes it into the top three. But is our morning ritual bad for your health? That’s a debate that has heard some valid arguments from both sides over the years. If you’re yearning for a clear answer, new research from the World Health Organization (WHO) finally has one: Yes — with one important exception.


WHO’s recent study analyzed the carcinogenicity of coffee and maté. A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer. The answer: There is no conclusive evidence that drinking coffee has carcinogenic effects… unless — and this is a very important unless — it’s drunk at “extremely high” temperatures (above 149 degrees F). To put that into perspective, baristas are typically trained to steam a latté to 140 degrees.

Dr. Christopher Wild of the International Agency for Research on Cancer says, “These results suggest that drinking very hot beverages is one probable cause of oesophageal cancer and that it is the temperature, rather than the drinks themselves, that appears to be responsible.”

The report goes on to explain, “The majority of oesophageal cancers occur in parts of Asia, South America and East Africa, where regularly drinking very hot beverages is common and where the reasons for the high incidence of this cancer are not as well understood.” Well, this would make a lot of sense then.

If you’re a coffee and maté addict and slightly freaking out, the solution is simple: Switch to an iced alternative and get rid of the heat. If you’re looking for a little bit of inspiration, we suggest you start here ;)

How do you get your caffeine intake? Share with us on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photo via Getty)