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Why You May Want To Think Twice Before Eating Spicy Food With Coffee

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hands holding latte - Aegeanblue/Getty Images

If your mouth is on fire from a habanero-laced hot sauce or a fiery snack like Cheetos Flamin' Hot Smoky Ghost Pepper Puffs, a cup of joe may be the last thing you want to reach for. While it may seem obvious not to pair these foods with coffee, there are times when you could find yourself downing a spicy breakfast sandwich or a tongue-tingling burrito. But if you reach for java to douse the heat inside your mouth, you'll be disappointed in the result. In fact, the opposite reaction is more likely to occur, where your coffee can actually enhance the spicy flavor.

Why does this happen? While a cup of joe brings acidity instead of spice, both are strong flavors — so, when combined, they can easily saturate your tastebuds. Plus, the heat from your java can make the burn from spicy foods more intense. When we eat meals that contain spicy chiles, we feel the fiery sensation on our tongue because of capsaicin, a compound that reacts with our pain receptors. And these receptors are the same ones activated by temperature hot foods and drinks, meaning that when you have a sip of steaming coffee after consuming something spicy, you get an amplified effect.

Read more: 26 Coffee Hacks You Need To Know For A Better Cup

How To Cool Down Your Mouth After A Spicy Breakfast

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top of glass of milk - Andrewjohnson/Getty Images

Because your heat receptors are already activated when consuming spicy food, you probably don't want to pair it with a hot cup of joe. Although, if you're feeling risky and want to test it out, a pinch of cayenne pepper can bring your coffee to a whole new level of flavor. But in general, there are beverage options that make a little more sense with a particularly spicy breakfast sandwich or burrito. If you can't bring yourself to give up your morning coffee (and we wouldn't blame you), try switching to a cup of iced java, cold brew, or even a frappucino to temper your heat receptors.

If you're looking to quell the spice on your tongue, add a splash of cow's milk to your coffee. It's made up of about 80% casein, which is a protein that can disintegrate capsaicin. If your cup usually consists of just java and water, however, you won't have much luck, since water isn't effective in dissolving this type of spice. But if you're pairing your burrito with a bowl of yogurt or a dollop of sour cream, the dairy in these foods will also help cool things off. And if you love a glass of orange juice with your breakfast, you're in luck, because the acidity from the citrus can also counteract the more alkaline capsaicin.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.