Association Between Coffee and Mortality

I never drank coffee growing up. My dad only drank his coffee black and the taste was far too bitter for me. That was, of course, until I arrived at Penn State. After my first long night in the library, coffee became a necessity. As I write this post, there is a cup of coffee on my desk. I would be willing to bet that most college students drink at least a little bit of coffee. According to researchers from the Neurology departments at the University of Columbia and the University of Miami (FL), there is some good news for coffee drinkers. The research team, led by Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami, found that drinking coffee had an inverse relationship with mortality.


The study was conducted using a population found in Northern Manhattan. In order to be eligible to participate, a person must have been at least 40 years old, with no history of stroke, cancer, or myocardial infarction. The final population came to a total of 2461 participants. These participants were given a questionnaire to gauge the amount of coffee (decaf and normal) and tea they consumed.  Coffee drinkers were placed into different groups based on their consumption (less than 1 cup/mo, 1/mo-4/wk, 5-7/wk, 2-3/d, and more than 4 cups/day). Tea drinkers were similarly grouped (less than 1 cup/mo, 1/mo-4/wk, 5-7/wk, and more than 2 cups/day).


After grouping all of the participants, the researchers observed their mortality rates over the next 11 years (2001-2012). Over this period of time, 863 of the 2461 had died. After analyzing the results, the team found that for every extra cup of coffee consumed per week, there was a 7% reduction in rate of mortality.  Furthermore, for people who consumed over 4 cups per day, every additional cup accounted for a 9% reduction in mortality rate.


Because this is only one study, I wouldn’t suggest going out and chugging coffee all day to live longer, but these results certainly will not deter me from drinking an extra cup here and there.



Gardener H, Rundek T, Wright CB, Elkind MS, Sacco RL. Coffee and tea consumption are inversely associated with mortality in a multiethnic urban population. J Nutr 2013;143:1299–308. [PMC free article][PubMed]

Leave a Reply