Urine Smells like Coffee

The urine in normal healthy people is usually transparent, colorless, or yellowish and odorless. The smell, color and other aspects of urine can change due to varied reasons, including intake of certain types of foods or underlying diseases, etc. Similarly, urine may smell like coffee due to varied causes, but the main reasons are the intake of large amounts of coffee, or drinking very strong coffee, or dehydration.

Causes of urine smells like coffee

As stated above, urine smells like coffee due to drinking excessive amounts of coffee. However, it can be argued that urine does not smell like apple juice even after it is drunk in large amounts. Then, why does it happen only with coffee. This is because coffee contains caffeine, a product that cannot be easily digested or metabolized by the body. Thus, the kidneys cannot filter the chemical and it gets removed from the body along with urine, thereby causing the urine to smell like coffee. It may also be noted that urine may smell like coffee after drinking varied beverages with caffeine as an ingredient such as soda, tea, and energy drinks, etc.

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Intake of excess amounts of coffee or caffeinated drinks means that the kidneys pass out urine with higher amounts of caffeine as compared to when such beverages are consumed in normal amounts. This can subsequently impart a strong and pungent coffee smell to the urine.

It may also be noted that intake of less amounts of water can cause the urine to become concentrated. The caffeine in such concentrated urine tends to be substantially higher as compared to urine that has less concentrated and with higher water content. Thus, even when you drink normal amounts of coffee or caffeinated drinks, but do not drink sufficient amounts of water, you may pass out urine that smells like coffee.

It is important to remember that consuming any kind of foods or beverages in large amounts may have an adverse effect on the health. Hence, it is advisable to limit the consumption of soda, coffee, tea and other caffeine-based drinks so as to avoid passing out urine that smells like coffee. Also, do not forget to drink lots of water to prevent dehydration and formation of concentrated urine.

urine smells like coffee

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Relationship between drinking coffee and coffee-smelling urine

  • Coffee has caffeine and certain other compounds that cannot be processed by the body, and hence get filtered out along with urine by the kidneys. These compounds is what imparts the coffee-like smell to urine.
  • There are several drinks, like mango juice, containing compounds and chemicals that are easily metabolized by the body. When the compounds are broken down into its varied components, they do not smell the same as the juice consumed. This is the reason why urine does not smell like the drinks that you may have consumed.
  • Alternatively, there are some foods like turkey and deli-sliced chicken, etc., which have scenting or flavoring compounds that do not get broken down by the body. This causes the urine to smell like such foods; hence the smell of such urine may be a reminder of the turkey sandwich that you may have eaten earlier.
  • The bodies of different people are different from one another. Some people may have bodies that can process certain compounds and chemicals much better than the bodies of others. This means that some people may experience changes in urine smell after eating a certain food or beverage, while in some others the urine may remain odorless.

Urine smells like Coffee: Self-care and treatment

  • Keeping a lookout for changes in urine color or smell is recommended as such changes are often indicative of some underlying illness. Urine color and smell can change due to serious conditions like diabetes, toxin exposure, or UTIs/Urinary tract infections, or due to simple causes like deficient intake of water or eating asparagus. Thus, being vigilant about urine characteristics can help understand the overall health of the body and facilitate early detection and treatment of a disease.
  • The best way to avoid changes in urine smell, clarity, and color and upkeep the health of the body is by drinking lots of water. Most doctors recommend drinking a minimum of 2 liters of water on a daily basis. Sufficient water intake will not just help flush out toxins from the body, but will also reduce the concentration of coffee-smell producing chemicals like caffeine.
  • In addition to keeping the body hydrated, people also need to limit the intake of soda, coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages or foods with components that cannot be metabolized by the body. This will help prevent urine odor changes.
  • It may also be noted that caffeine is an addictive substance and consuming it in high amounts can cause the body to develop a tolerance to it, which in turn will lead to desire to drink even more coffee.

When urine smells like coffee, then people should first drink lots of water and check the urine odor for 2 to 3 days. If the issue persists, then consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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