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Food Funct. 2011 Sep;2(9):547-54. doi: 10.1039/c1fo10102a. Epub 2011 Aug 30.

The immediate and short-term chemosensory impacts of coffee and caffeine on cardiovascular activity.

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School of Life Sciences, University of Westminster, London, UK.


The immediate and short-term chemosensory impacts of coffee and caffeine on cardiovascular activity.


Caffeine is detected by 5 of the 25 gustatory bitter taste receptors (hTAS2Rs) as well as by intestinal STC-1 cell lines. Thus there is a possibility that caffeine may elicit reflex autonomic responses via chemosensory stimulation.


The cardiovascular impacts of double-espresso coffee, regular (130 mg caffeine) and decaffeinated, and encapsulated caffeine (134 mg) were compared with a placebo-control capsule. Measures of four post-ingestion phases were extracted from a continuous recording of cardiovascular parameters and contrasted with pre-ingestion measures. Participants (12 women) were seated in all but the last phase when they were standing.


Both coffees increased heart rate immediately after ingestion by decreasing both the diastolic interval and ejection time. The increases in heart rate following the ingestion of regular coffee extended for 30 min. Encapsulated caffeine decreased arterial compliance and increased diastolic pressure when present in the gut and later in the standing posture.


These divergent findings indicate that during ingestion the caffeine in coffee can elicit autonomic arousal via the chemosensory stimulation of the gustatory receptors which extends for at least 30 min. In contrast, encapsulated caffeine can stimulate gastrointestinal receptors and elicit vascular responses involving digestion.


Research findings on caffeine are not directly applicable to coffee and vice versa. The increase of heart rate resulting from coffee drinking is a plausible pharmacological explanation for the observation that coffee increases risk for coronary heart disease in the hour after ingestion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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