Why Does Coffee Give Me a Headache but Tea Doesn’t?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on April 26th, 2023

Are you someone who loves coffee but can’t understand why it often leaves you with a splitting headache? Do your friends love coffee yet don’t suffer the same consequences? If so, then this article is for you. We’ll explore why coffee may give you a headache while tea doesn’t and what steps to take if that’s the case. 

Whether you’re trying to reduce your caffeine intake or you want to understand why coffee gives you a headache while tea doesn’t, this article will provide all the answers.


Migraines and coffee 

Migraine sufferers may experience more headaches after coffee consumption due to the effects of caffeine on serotonin or brain electrical activity. Coffee can cause headaches in two ways: dehydration and the loss of magnesium during urination.

What causes headaches?

Headaches can be caused by various reasons, including:

Caffeine withdrawal

Coffee is well known for its high caffeine content, while tea generally contains less. Caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches if you suddenly stop consuming it. Most people who regularly consume caffeine will experience mild and short-lived headaches when they stop suddenly.

This is because caffeine narrows the blood vessels surrounding the brain, so when consumption is stopped, the blood vessels enlarge, leading to the sensation of a ‘pounding’ headache. 

It’s important to quit slowly to avoid caffeine withdrawal headaches. Quitting cold turkey can shock the body and worsen withdrawal headache symptoms. Instead, cut back gradually, and drink plenty of water to ease your body into the transition.

Overconsumption of coffee

Excessive caffeine consumption can also cause headaches, as can missing out on your usual dose. People prone to migraines may be more sensitive to the effects of coffee on serotonin and electrical brain activity. 

Prolonged coffee consumption

Additionally, steady consumption of caffeinated tea over a long period can lead to headaches.

Caffeine and blood vessels

Caffeine has vasoconstrictive properties, which narrows blood vessels and restricts blood flow. This property can benefit those suffering from a headache or migraine as the constriction of the blood vessels helps ease the pain. However, once caffeine leaves your system, these blood vessels dilate and swell, which can lead to a headache. 

In daily caffeine users, caffeine has less effect on blood vessel constriction and brain activation, so it is important to keep an eye on your caffeine consumption and find the right balance to avoid potential headaches. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the potential for caffeine withdrawal when reducing or eliminating caffeine intake for those who suffer from migraine headaches.

The real solution

Know the caffeine content of Your beverage

Knowing the caffeine content of the beverages you are drinking is important. Caffeine can be found naturally in many foods and drinks or added artificially. Be aware of the amount of caffeine in your beverages to manage your headaches better. 

Caffeine can act as a stimulant, and if not consumed in moderation, it could lead to headaches and other complications. Knowing your beverage’s caffeine content will help you better regulate your caffeine intake and avoid any potential headaches.

Drink plenty of water

Drinking plenty of water can help alleviate the negative effects of caffeine withdrawal. As mentioned earlier, caffeine is a mild diuretic that causes your kidneys to flush extra sodium and water from your body. 

Drinking more water helps to replace the lost fluids and electrolytes in your body, helping to reduce headaches and fatigue associated with caffeine withdrawal. Additionally, drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help reduce the risk of dehydration, which can cause further headaches and fatigue.

Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages

It’s important to remember that too much caffeine can cause headaches and lead to withdrawal symptoms. It’s best to limit your intake of caffeinated beverages to avoid these symptoms.

The FDA recommends limiting caffeine intake to 400 milligrams per day for healthy adults – about four cups of coffee. To ensure that you don’t exceed this limit, be sure to read the labels of any drinks you consume and make sure you know how much caffeine they contain. 

Additionally, switch from coffee to decaffeinated or herbal tea to minimize your intake while still enjoying a hot beverage. If you feel you’re missing out on your daily caffeine fix, try drinking plenty of water or a non-caffeinated beverage instead.

Switch to decaf or herbal tea

Switching to decaf coffee or herbal tea is a great way to avoid headaches and other side effects associated with caffeine consumption. Decaffeinated coffee and tea still contain many of the same beneficial compounds as regular coffee and tea, without caffeine’s energy swings and other side effects.

Drinking herbal tea or decaf coffee can effectively produce the same health benefits as regular coffee and tea without the potential for headaches. 

Also, taking small sips of your beverages throughout the day can help you become accustomed to the flavor of decaf coffee or herbal tea, making it easier to make the switch.

Differences between coffee and tea

Regularly drinking tea may not be as likely to cause headaches as coffee, but it’s still important to be aware of the quantity of caffeine you’re consuming. Consuming caffeinated tea in moderation can help to reduce the risk of headaches caused by caffeine withdrawal.

If you are prone to headaches, it’s best to limit your intake of caffeinated beverages and switch to decaf or herbal tea. Try to keep your consumption steady and avoid skipping days when you usually drink tea.

This will help your body adjust to a steady caffeine intake. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can also help to prevent headaches caused by dehydration or caffeine withdrawal.


It’s easy to see why coffee can sometimes cause headaches while tea doesn’t. Caffeine is the main factor here, as it can cause headaches on its own or when there is a sudden lack of it. Caffeine also affects blood vessels and can even trigger migraines in some people.

It’s important to be aware of your caffeine intake, drinks plenty of water, and switch to decaf or herbal tea if needed to prevent these headaches. Remember that all bodies are different; what works for one person might not work for another. If you think caffeine may be causing your headaches, talk to your doctor about the best way to reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet.

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.