Why Do People Put a Match Head in Coffee?

Last Updated on March 3, 2023

You’ve probably heard of people putting match heads in coffee, and you might have even seen someone stir one or two match heads into their cup of joe. But why do they do it? Why put a match head in coffee?

The reasons behind this strange practice are actually quite interesting and have to do with the chemicals that make up a match head, and how they affect the taste of the coffee.

why do people put a match head in coffee

We’ll share what you need to know about adding match heads to your coffee, and you can come to your own conclusion. I have to be honest. It’s not for me. But in the spirit of providing information to help readers and coffee lovers make an informed decision, the facts are laid out for you in the post.

Please note that this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease, nor is it an endorsement for adding match heads to coffee. Please consult your doctor for medical advice. We do not endorse the consumption of match heads or any other chemicals that may harm you.

By the way, if you click on a link and then decide to make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Why Do People Put Match Heads in Coffee?

learn why people put match heads in coffee

The practice of adding a match head to coffee is meant to give it a little extra flavor. The chemicals inside the match head (phosphorous and sulfur) are released when you make this addition, creating an interesting taste in your cup of joe.

Adding a match head or two to your coffee is similar to adding a pinch of salt to the brew. It can improve the taste while reducing bitterness.

What is a Match Head Made Of?

A match head is comprised mainly of red phosphorus and potassium chlorate. When the match head is lit, the mixture releases oxygen. This is what creates the flame you see when lighting a match.

There are two types of matches – safety matches, which can be struck only against a specially prepared surface, and strike-anywhere matches. With this type of match, an suitable frictional surface can be used.

How Many Match Heads Should be Added to a Cup of Coffee?

how many match heads should be added to a cup of coffee

Well, if this is a little experiment you must try, start with just one match head in coffee, two at most is the general consensus.

It’s important not to add too many match heads initially. It only takes a couple, and the match head will give your coffee a distinctive flavor that you may or may not like. Some say that if your coffee is tasting stale adding a match head will round out the flavor.

People have been doing this for years with no negative side effects, but the wise decision is only adding one or two at the most to your next cup. Too many match heads and you could be drinking harmful chemicals! 

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What are the Health Risks of Ingesting Too Many Match Heads?

Too many match heads in your cup of joe can lead to a bitter aftertaste and a lack of flavor. If you continue adding more match heads in hopes of improving the taste, you may end up ingesting some very harmful chemicals.

Ingesting too many match heads can cause a variety of negative health effects. Potassium chlorate can cause irritation to the lungs and eyes, as well as nausea and diarrhea. It can also affect how your blood works by interfering with oxygen uptake from hemoglobin in red blood cells.

In addition, ingesting too much red phosphorus can lead to gastrointestinal upset, headache, and fever. 

Match head ingestion has also been known to cause extreme cases of bleeding in the brain and other organs, as well as bone marrow suppression. This can lead to a weakened immune system and increased risk for infection.  

What happens if you swallow a match head?

If you ingest a single match head, it will most likely pass through your body without harming you or causing any health problems.

How to Make a Good Cup of Coffee

how to brew a good cup of coffee

Of course, if the cup of coffee you brew is awesome you won’t feel the need to add anything to it, match stick, sweeteners, lighteners, flavorings, etc. When you feel like the coffee you’re drinking is bad coffee, or the instant coffee you make is efficient but tasteless, or the ground coffee in the pantry just isn’t cutting the mustard, it might be the perfect time to learn how to make a good cup of joe!

Simple 3-Step Guide for Making Good Drip Coffee

Drip Coffee Maker or Pour Over Dripper

what is the best coffee for espresso
Step 1: Use fresh, whole coffee beans and grind them yourself just prior to brewing the coffee. Most of the time you’ll want a medium grind if you’re using a standard drip coffee maker, with a medium-fine grind if the filter is cone-shaped. Experiment a bit and see what gives you the best result. The “golden rule” of coffee, 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water, is a good starting point.
Step 2: The water temperature should be between 195-205 degrees for proper brewing And, please use filtered water for the best tasting coffee!
Step 3: Clean the coffee maker daily, and deep clean it monthly. Here are some basic instructions and reminders for cleaning an auto drip coffee maker.

Alternative Ways to Make Your Coffee Taste Better

Other than the fact that adding a match head in coffee is sort of unique and weird, the bottom line is that your coffee isn’t tasting quite right and you’re looking for ways to make the coffee taste better.

Here are some suggestions that are ultimately safer choices, my friend. Some are quite well-known and others not so much:

Sugar – If you love coffee sweet, simply add sugar. This is the simplest way to improve your morning cup of Joe without adding potentially harmful chemicals to your body. You can even experiment with different types of sugars like honey, brown sugar, or syrup.

Milk – Adding milk will give your coffee a creamy texture and taste great, too. If you like your coffee with milk, this is a great alternative to adding potentially harmful chemicals.

Nut milk – This is another great alternative to adding milk. Add some almond or coconut milk that’s free of additives.

Cinnamon or cocoa – If you’d like something else in your coffee to make it taste better, try cinnamon or cocoa powder. These two alternatives will also provide health benefits beyond making your morning cup of Joe taste delicious!

Salt – If you don’t want anything added to your coffee, but you’d like it to taste slightly more rich, try putting a pinch of salt in the coffee.

Baking soda – If you don’t want to add anything to your coffee, try putting a pinch of baking soda in the cup of coffee. It will help reduce bitterness and acidity as well as giving your coffee a smoother taste.

Lemon – a small amount of fresh lemon juice can also help balance out the bitterness found in a cup of coffee.

Stevia – This is an all-natural sweetener that can be used with your morning cup of Joe without adding chemicals or making the drink taste overly sweet.

Sum It Up: Match Head in Coffee

Well, there you have it, the pros and cons of adding a match head or two to your coffee to improve the taste. Ultimately it’s your choice, my friend. For me, it’s a fresh, hot, black cup of joe every time, with nothing added. That’s the best way to drink coffee!