Coffees & Teas

I have read that some IC patients can drink low-acid teas and coffees. How can I tell what teas and coffees are ok to try?

This is one of the most common questions that people ask me and for good reason. Although these beverages can boost alertness, have antioxidant properties, and are the cornerstone of many social situations, the inherent caffeine and acidity can also induce painful flares in an IC patient. (Even decaffeinated tea and coffee can cause problems.)

People can also develop an addiction to caffeine, physically and psychologically, often complicating people’s decisions to wean them out of their diet. I have actually had patients tell me that they will do anything I tell them to do, but they refuse to give up their coffee or tea.

The good news is that most IC patients can consume coffee and tea alternatives, some of which can actually have soothing effects on the bladder.


Coffee alternatives have been around for decades; examples include Pero, Cafix, Roma, and Teecino. These products are not the same as decaffeinated coffee, but rather roasted grains, and nuts that, when brewed, have a similar taste to coffee. Again, it is important to read the product labels to avoid other ingredients that could be abrasive to your bladder.

If your bladder is quiet and not flaring, you could also try reduced acid, decaffeinated coffees such as Puroast and Euromild. These products are processed in a special way to reduce the acid. If you choose to try them, start slowly. Don’t brew them and drink a whole pot yourself!


Most Despite the recent press granting tea “superfood” status, regular tea (black, green, white, and oolong teas) can cause terrible pain when consumed by IC patients. Great alternatives include chamomile (also spelled camomile), blueberry, and mint. You can even find some great flavored herbal teas like Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea, and Twinings Camomile, Honey, and Vanilla Tea. As always, be sure to read the ingredient labels. Some teas are not strictly herbal, but rather black tea with blueberry or mint flavoring.

Caffeine Withdrawal

Most Many people can have symptoms, sometimes severe, if they try to go off caffeine cold turkey. If you are having trouble eliminating your daily caffeine, start slowly by alternating your caffeinated beverage with a glass of water. After a few days, have two glasses of water between each caffeinated beverage. Eventually, you will be able to avoid caffeine entirely!

For more information about coffee and tea substitutes, visit:

Julie Beyer, MA, RD


Revised Wednesday, December 16, 2009