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 just feels wrong, like drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth. Yet, TikTokers are swearing by this unusual combo. Just the thought of mixing the two together had my stomach churning — so, naturally, I had to try it.

Although 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 example, for years, the Jobot Coffee cafe 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 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.

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 didn’t taste 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 may prefer 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.

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 super 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 as their breakfast, the juice also adds calories for energy. And if you go for pulp, you’ll get a gram of fiber, too, 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, explains cosmetic dentist, Joyce Kahng, MD. You want to aim for a pH level that’s above 5.5, she explains. When a beverage’s pH is below 5.5, it’s considered acidic, and enamel can start to soften and demineralize, weakening the enamel. If your enamel is damaged, you’re more likely to develop cavities and temperature sensitivity.

The pH of orange juice is around 3.3 to 4.2, whereas the pH of espresso is slightly less acidic, around 5.0 to 6.0. Since this drink is mostly OJ with a small shot of espresso, Dr. Kahng doesn’t think mixing the two together would significantly change the drink’s overall pH; it would probably still be below 5.5, meaning it’s pretty acidic, and as such “can’t be great for the teeth,” she said. And yes, that means orange juice on its own isn’t great for your teeth, either.

If you do decide to drink this (or regular OJ, for that matter), make sure you wait a minimum of 30 minutes afterward 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 that softened enamel, warns Dr. Kahng.

Is Drinking Coffee and Espresso Bad For Your Gut?

If the acidity in espresso or the acidity in orange juice separately doesn’t bother your stomach, you shouldn’t have issues with this unique combo. And if you often drink them both in the same meal without any issues, the same is true: your gut shouldn’t be affected if you mix them into one glass, says gastroenterologist Supriya Rao, MD.

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,” says Dr. Rao. Acid reflux is when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. Heartburn (also known as acid indigestion) is a symptom of acid reflux, which causes 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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