Should Members of The Church of Latter-Day Saints Drink Coffee?

Photo of author

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a commission if you purchase using these links.

For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), adhering to the Word of Wisdom is a fundamental aspect of life. This health code, revealed to Joseph Smith in 1833, includes guidance on what members should and shouldn’t consume to maintain their physical and spiritual health. Among the substances advised against are “hot drinks,” traditionally interpreted to mean coffee and tea. This article aims to answer the question, “Can members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints drink coffee?”

The Word of Wisdom and Coffee

Historical Context

The Word of Wisdom was provided as a revelation to Joseph Smith at a time when the medical community had little understanding of the effects of certain substances. It was initially given as a recommendation and later adopted as a commandment, reflecting the church’s evolving understanding of health and spiritual well-being.

Joseph Smith Praying Lds Mormon

Modern Interpretation

Today, “hot drinks” are interpreted by LDS Church leaders to specifically mean tea and coffee, regardless of temperature. This interpretation focuses on the substances contained within these drinks, such as caffeine and other compounds, which are believed to be harmful or addictive.

That said, many in the LDS community feel confused about this doctrine, since it doesn’t strictly prohibit caffeine. So they can drink energy drinks to their heart’s content, but must stay strictly away from coffee or tea in all forms.

Health and Spiritual Devotion

Forgoing coffee is understood as more than a mere health guideline; it’s a spiritual pledge. Observing the Word of Wisdom is essential for members seeking a temple recommend and signifies a deeper dedication to living by church doctrines.

This practice is akin to how Jewish individuals adhere to a Kosher diet and devout Muslims follow a Halal diet. Similarly, LDS members abstain from hot coffee and tea as part of maintaining their health in accordance with church teachings.

Opinions of Actual Mormons: Insights from Reddit

The subreddit r/LDS reveals varied personal interpretations of the Word of Wisdom’s coffee prohibition among its members. AeroStatikk advocates for obedience to divine commandments, suggesting that spiritual benefits outweigh the need for scientific justification. In contrast, a [deleted] user calls for a more pragmatic approach, desiring health-based rationale over blind faith.

Screenshot Of A Debate In Lds Subreddit About Coffee And Tea
Drinking coffee or tea is hotly debated in the LDS subreddit

These perspectives encapsulate the broader discourse within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, highlighting a community divided between unwavering spiritual obedience and a desire for rational, health-oriented explanations.

Coffee Alternatives for Latter-day Saints

For those adhering to the Word of Wisdom, finding suitable coffee alternatives is about maintaining health and honoring religious commitments. Here are some popular choices:

1. Herbal Teas: Herbal infusions that don’t contain actual tea leaves are a popular choice. Varieties like peppermint, chamomile, or hibiscus offer a range of flavors and can be enjoyed hot or cold.

2. Caffeine-Free Chicory Coffee: Chicory root coffee provides a similar flavor to regular coffee but without caffeine. It’s a popular choice in many LDS households for its rich, satisfying taste.

3. Grain Beverages: Drinks made from roasted grains, aka cereal coffees, like barley or rye can mimic the flavor and warmth of coffee. Brands like Pero and Postum are specifically marketed as coffee alternatives and are caffeine-free.

4. Hot Cocoa: While it contains some caffeine, hot cocoa is generally considered acceptable for most members of the LDS Church. However, individuals are encouraged to use their judgment and seek guidance from church leaders.

5. Decaffeinated Drinks: While some Latter-day Saints choose to avoid decaffeinated coffee due to the presence of trace amounts of caffeine and its close association with coffee, others feel it’s an acceptable alternative. Personal interpretation and consultation with church leaders can guide this choice.

While the Word of Wisdom provides general guidelines, individual interpretation and adherence can vary among Latter-day Saints. Members are encouraged to seek personal revelation and consult with church leaders when making decisions about what is appropriate for them and their families.


For members of the LDS Church, choosing alternatives to coffee is more than a dietary preference; it’s a commitment to a way of life that encompasses both health and spirituality. The variety of available alternatives ensures that members can find enjoyable beverages that align with their beliefs and commitments. As with any aspect of religious practice, the journey is deeply personal, and what works for one individual may differ for another. The guiding principle is always a personal commitment to the teachings of the church and the individual’s spiritual well-being.

Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
With over two decades in the coffee industry, Kelsey is a seasoned professional barista with roots in Seattle and Santa Barbara. Accredited by The Coffee Association of America and a member of The Baristas Guild, he combines practical expertise with a profound understanding of coffee's history and cultural significance. Kelsey tries his best to balance family time with blogging time and fails miserably.