Hot Drinks in the Summer: Method to the Madness?

Have you ever gone on holiday with a friend or family member to catch some much-needed sun, only for them to stick the kettle on? Have you ever been lounging out by the pool in Portugal, only to be asked by your sibling if you would like a piping hot cup of coffee? Let’s settle the debate once and for all — does a hot drink in hot weather cool you down? 

What happens when you drink a cold drink?

When the sun is blazing overhead, the idea of a crisp, cold glass of water or juice sounds amazing. But just how well does a cold drink fare in cooling us down? 

Firstly, we’re going to look at what happens to the body when you drink cold water. Surprisingly, drinking cold water can cause digestive trouble, as your body will attempt to regulate its core body temperature instead. This is particularly problematic after a workout, where the sudden mismatch of icy cold water compared to your sweat-pouring post-workout body can cause a shock to the system. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should cut back on drinking water. Drinking enough water is vital for a healthy body. But how you ingest that water, particularly in warmer weather, is important.

What happens when you drink a hot drink?

It won’t come as a shock to suggest that drinking a hot drink does the opposite to your body, in so far as it raises your temperature. Your body will once again focus on regulating your temperature, but this time, it will do so by sweating if needed. 

This is where the apparent “madness” of reaching for a hot drink in the summer becomes a bone fide “method”. 

If you’re already feeling warm under the summer sun, drinking a hot drink will trigger thermosensors in the throat and stomach. This sends a signal out that makes the body react as though your entire body is the same temperature as your hot drink. This in turn will cause you to sweat more — where we arrive at our make-or-break case for whether or not hot drinks cool a person down. 

Provided your clothes allow the sweat to evaporate, and there is a nice breeze or conditions for the sweat to evaporate properly, then yes. A hot drink will cool you down in hot weather, thanks to your body sweating more in order to cool you down. This cooling is enough to compensate for the added heat of the drink too. So, when the summer sun is in full swing, head to your favourite coffee roasters in the UK and get your favourite blend ready for the season. 

Which is best for cooling you down in the summer? 

Of course, not every summer’s day is made equal. On hot, muggy days where the air is humid and sticky, a hot drink won’t be as effective in cooling you down. This is because the sweat on your skin will struggle to evaporate and cool you. If the sweat is dripping off you, then it’s not evaporating — definitely not a time to reach for a hot beverage! At times like this, when sweating won’t help you, opt for a cold drink instead. 

On a dry, hot day, a hot drink will cool you down more efficiently than a cold drink thanks to good old natural sweat! On a humid summer’s day, a cold drink is your best bet. So, yes, there is certainly method to the apparent madness of drinking a hot drink in the scorching summer months — depending on the circumstances!