Is drinking coffee the same as drinking water?

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, but is drinking coffee the same as drinking water? Personally been accused of drinking coffee like water more than I'd like to say. I've almost had to cut down to two (pots) a day! How do the two measure up?

Of course coffee has water in it, but do the two drinks have different effects on the body? Let's take a look into this, an answer is drinking coffee the same as drinking water?


Everyone knows you make coffee by adding water to coffee beans, but did you know a cup of regular filter coffee is over 98% water? Well, know you do.

As such, in terms of hydrating you, drinking coffee is almost as hydrating as water. There is a lot of controversy over the caffeine and coffee and if it is a diuretic (makes your body get rid of water), but even an espresso will give you a net increase in hydration, so don't worry about this! Your mouth might feel a bit dry afterwards, but that's not because your body is drying out. So in terms of getting fluids into your system, we can answer the question and say drinking coffee is the same as drinking water when it comes to hydration.


Here is one of the big differences to consider when asking is drinking coffee the same as drinking water. The psycho-active element of coffee is caffeine and is officially a drug.

Caffeine acts as a stimulant on the body, speeding up the nervous system, heart rate and blood flow, as well as giving you an energy boost so many people look for when reaching for their coffee. There is no caffeine that is not naturally occurring in water, so this is a difference as drinking (even decaf) coffee will give you caffeine, whilst drinking water will not.

The effect caffeine in coffee has on a person depends on their individual tolerance, with some people feeling a strong and fast effect whilst others feel almost nothing. Personally, I'm five cups in and it's just past noon, and I could nod off after I've finished writing this article.

This makes me a slow metabolizer as I do not feel a sharp boost and then a drop off. Caffeine still has an effect on everyone, but their individual genetics and tolerance affects the outward impact. I should add my tolerance is high after ten years of drinking three cups (or more...) a day so maybe I shouldn't be listened to...


cup cake and coffee

Now, how does drinking coffee and drinking water compare in terms of nutrition and calories? There are a few factors that can seriously affect this, so be sure to read carefully and not jump ahead!

In terms of a cup of regular water and a cup of regular, unaltered coffee (filter or a press or Americano) there will be virtually no difference in calories. As coffee is made from roasted coffee beans there are very few calories in a cup of coffee. But, and this is a big but, this changes entirely when you add things to your coffee!

Adding anything with calories to your coffee will increase the calories you take in, so bear this in mind! As a bit of a coffee snob I only drink black coffee, ideally made myself, this doesn't really affect me. My brother, however, needs to pay attention here as he loves flat whites and mochas, especially from coffee shops between study sessions.

Adding milk, sugar, cream or syrups adds calories, and they can add up fast! A large Americano might have 3 calories, whilst a large (venti) mocha can be almost 500 calories! And that's each time you order one! That can add up rapidly, and quickly ruin your New Year diet plans.


Another way to look at this is to evaluate the nutritional benefit you get from drinking water and drinking coffee. Water contains trace amounts of minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc. All of these are important for the body to function.

Coffee can also offer a number of health benefits as coffee is very high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help reduce damage to cells in the body, keeping you healthy and looking young and coffee is the number one course of antioxidants in the United States.

As well as these super healthy antioxidants, coffee is made with water and so gives you the minerals water alone offers you. In this regard, the answer is drinking coffee the same as drinking water the same with a no: coffee is better to drink than water!

Coffee and Culture

black and coffee

To me, a key difference between drinking coffee and drinking water are the rituals around coffee that I just love. At home with my moka pot on the stove, or in my favorite cafe, there are always some special steps to carry out when making or getting coffee.

I don't recall seeing any special water stores I can go in with friends and forget the world for a while, do you? The process of making coffee myself or having coffee made for me is special, a sacred ceremony for me and other coffee lovers. Water is essential for life and can come in many fancy brands and bottles, but let's be honest, you just drink it.

Coffee has its special smells, methods, secrets that you don't get to experience when drinking water. Do you have a special water break at work or a coffee break? What pairs best with a cookie, water or coffee? And what is better to share with a friend, a glass of water or a cup of coffee?

Coffee is much more than just a drink: it's an experience. If you take this (snobby, I admit) approach, you can easily answer the question: is drinking coffee the same as drinking water?

No, drinking coffee is much more than drinking water and should be treated as such. I'm sure all coffee lovers will agree that coffee is better than just drinking water: it can't just be me out here!