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Is Orange Juice and Espresso Good?

I Tried TikTok's Viral OJ-and-Espresso Trend and Asked an MD If It's Bad For Your Gut


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Like most people, you probably drink your orange juice and your sacred cup of coffee separately. Orange juice mixed with coffee, like drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth, just feels wrong. TikTokers, however, are swearing by this unusual combo. Just the thought of mixing the two had my stomach churning — so naturally, I had to try it.

While this seems like a recent TikTok trend, it's actually not that new (though it's unclear exactly where the drink first came from). For years, for instance, Jobot Coffee in Phoenix, AZ, has had a drink on their menu called the Sunrise — a glass of orange juice topped with a shot of espresso. I've heard of people adding lemon juice to coffee because it supposedly aids in weight loss (spoiler: it doesn't), but it appears that many people are mixing OJ with espresso purely for the flavor.

Curious? Before you try it, read about how espresso and orange juice taste together, what the health benefits are, and how this bizarre beverage might affect your teeth and gut.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

What Does Orange Juice and Espresso Taste Like?

TBH, I didn't hate it! Pouring hot espresso into cold OJ made me cringe a little, especially because the new color looked so unappetizing. But when I took a sip . . . it wasn't awful. It tasted mostly like sweet, crisp orange juice but with a little coffee aftertaste. It reminded me a little of the orange-chocolate flavor combo (but not quite as good). Would I drink it again? No, thanks. I much prefer these two drinks on their own.

Even if you try it and immediately say "nope" (like many TikTokers have), you might enjoy a variation on the OJ-and-espresso trend — for example, adding a splash of tonic to the glass or making it a little creamier by adding almond milk.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

Are There Any Benefits to Mixing Orange Juice and Espresso?

A one-ounce shot of espresso on its own can offer a jolt of caffeine (64 mg), so mixing it with orange juice, which you'll drink slower, might make it more tolerable for people who are sensitive to caffeine. As for the OJ, eight ounces offers a boost of vitamin C — 50 percent of your daily needs — and for those who drink coffee for breakfast, the juice also adds calories for energy. If you go for pulp, you'll also get a gram of fiber, making it even more filling.

Is Drinking Coffee and Espresso Bad For Your Teeth?

When you're considering how a drink affects your teeth, you need to look at the acidity level, cosmetic dentist, Joyce Kahng, DDS, says. You want to aim for a pH level that's above 5.5 — when a beverage's pH is below 5.5, it's considered acidic and makes enamel start to soften, demineralize, and weaken. Enamel damage means a greater likelihood of developing cavities and temperature sensitivity.

The pH of orange juice is around 3.3 to 4.2, while the pH of espresso is slightly less acidic — around 5.0 to 6.0. Since the drink is mostly OJ, with a small shot of espresso, Dr. Kahng doesn't think mixing the two significantly changes the drink's overall pH. It's probably still below 5.5 — meaning it's pretty acidic and "can't be great for the teeth," she says. And yes, that means orange juice on its own isn't great for your teeth, either.

If you do decide to try this (or regular OJ, for that matter), make sure you wait a minimum of 30 minutes after drinking to brush your teeth. You don't want to brush after exposing your teeth to acidic drinks, since the friction of brushing and flossing can damage the softened enamel, Dr. Kahng warns.

Is Drinking OJ and Espresso Bad For Your Gut?

If the acidity in espresso or orange juice doesn't bother your stomach separately, you shouldn't have issues with the combo. The same is true if you frequently drink them both in the same meal without issues — your gut shouldn't be affected if you mix them into one glass, gastroenterologist Supriya Rao, MD, says.

With that said, if you have issues with acid reflux or heartburn, OJ and espresso "can potentially worsen acid-reflux symptoms, so combined, there can definitely be heartburn issues but not definite gut-health implications," Dr. Rao says. Acid reflux is when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, is an acid-reflux symptom characterized by discomfort, pain, or a burning sensation in your chest. (Not everyone with acid reflux will experience heartburn.) If you have issues with acid reflux or heartburn, you'll probably want to skip this TikTok trend.

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