Always on the lookout for clean eating tips, we asked four nutritionists how they take their coffee. Here’s a look at their orders, timing, caffeine capacities, and hacks for brewing coffee for wellness.
For some people, coffee is the sweet nectar of the gods. For others, it can lead to acid reflux and digestive distress. Due to these potential side effects, there’s an ongoing debate about coffee’s claimed health benefits and potential pitfalls.
Depending on your own coffee habits, you’ll likely pick and choose what you want to believe. However, at the end of the day, it all depends on your unique body chemistry and preferences.
For some health-minded inspo, we spoke to a few nutritionists across the globe to see how they take their coffee.
How 4 Nutritionists Take Their Coffee
Here’s how four dietitians and nutritionists take their coffee for wellness, including the reasoning behind their methods. You’ll find their sweet spots in terms of timing, healthy creamer alternatives, customizations, and more.
1. GABI MELTZER, MMED, RD
Hailing from Sea Point in Cape Town, South Africa, Gabi Meltzer has a method to her obsession with a cozy cuppa.
She makes her own coffee at home every morning using beans from Mischu, a Cape Town coffee shop. She grinds the beans and then makes the coffee in a Bialetti on the stovetop, adds some boiling water to make it a long coffee, and finally tops it off with milk froth.
“I drink my coffee to end breakfast, which makes my meal feel so complete and satisfying,” she shares. Then, when she’s at the office on a typical day, she’ll get one more coffee either mid-morning or after lunch. “I try not to drink coffee after 4 p.m. in order to be able to sleep well by my bedtime, which is around 10 or 11 p.m.”
“My drink of choice is a single-shot Americano with hot almond milk,” Gabi adds. She opts for almond milk since she doesn’t love the taste of cow’s milk. (She’s also lactose-intolerant, but admits that she still loves cheese and yogurt.)
Gabi prefers unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze “because it’s low in calories, fortified with calcium, and froths really well. I [also] love the hint of vanilla flavor. I used to use sweeteners, but cut that habit a year ago.”
Like many people, Gabi is quite sensitive to caffeine, especially if it’s a stronger brew. For that reason, she takes care to be mindful of her caffeine threshold. That said, she has a two-cup daily limit, yet allows for an extra one when she meets with friends or treats herself on weekends.
2. Paula Norris, APD
Next, we asked Paula Norris—an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (i.e., the Australian equivalent of an RD/RDN)—for her preferred method of drinking coffee for wellness.
She has a cut-and-dry routine and is flexible on the details, as long as she gets her fix!
“We have a coffee machine at home because I like to have one almost immediately after getting out of bed,” she begins. “However, I do prefer the experience of a good barista making me a delicious coffee. My go-to is a large skim flat white.”
She prefers skim it since it’s lower in calories, but says she wouldn’t turn down a whole milk option if that’s the only option available. As for sweeteners? “In my opinion, if the coffee is decent, no sugar or sweetener is needed,” Paula shares.
Lastly, she always drinks two cups of coffee daily—one before breakfast, and one after.
3. Angel Planells, MS, RDN, CD, FAND
Angel Planells is a Seattle-based dietitian and national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
A seasoned caffeinator, he’s been drinking coffee since he was three years old! (While we can’t recommend starting this early, if you know that java jives with you, it becomes a lifelong love.)
As we can see, Angel is committed to getting in his cup of joe, but the “how” matters a bit less and varies depending on how he feels that day.
“Some days, I’ll make a French press using some local Seattle coffee at home. I have a milk frother so I can try to fancy-up my drink, and I’ll add a pack of Sugar in the Raw,” he explains. Then, on other days, “I may visit a coffee shop for a small latte with raw sugar—always with one or two percent cow’s milk.” Angel has always been a fan of the classic latte, as he thinks it’s the perfect blend of coffee and creaminess.
He can casually sip on coffee starting bright and early at 6 a.m., and tries to stop by 4:30 or 5 p.m. at the latest. The early evening is too late to drink coffee for many people, so again, timing depends on your own body chemistry and tolerance for caffeine.
“I used to be able to drink it until 8 or 9 p.m., but I’ve cut back recently due to a lack of quality sleep,” Angel shares. Still, he doubles down on his long-term love for coffee: “If I had it my way, I’d be drinking it until bedtime!”
Lastly, Angel thinks that coffee is great on its own, as well as with breakfast. Also, in between cups, he makes sure to drink water to adequately hydrate.
4. Sammie Mancine, RN
Finally, registered nurse and holistic nutritionist Sammie Mancine only drinks coffee a few times a week. But when she does, it’s usually an hour or two after rising so that her body can wake up naturally. As she puts it, she wants to avoid using it as a crutch and to “allow the coffee to settle for an hour or so before eating.”
That said, when Sammie orders from a coffee shop, she’ll typically get a cortado with oat milk.
Then, when this nutritionist takes her coffee at home, she likes to have espresso or otherwise integrate a modern twist by having a small cup of coffee with a teaspoon of ghee.
Sammie loves adding ghee not only to neutralize the acidity of her coffee, but also because of the benefits of butyrates. “Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that’s fantastic for gut health and inflammation,” she explains. She also says it helps her avoid a caffeine crash later in the day.
Another coffee for wellness tip: Adding ghee—or drinking your standard cup alongside a meal with healthy fats—is a brilliant way to circumvent the acidity of most coffee. With this hack, you can more easily enjoy the taste, buzz, and rich aroma of coffee without heartburn or stomach jitters.
On a similar note, espresso is also great option due to its lower acidity than classic coffee beans.