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Why Put a Match Head in Coffee?

Post by: Yurii Brown
Published on:

A match head - particularly its potassium chlorate content - can serve as an unconventional flavor enhancer, much like adding a dash of salt to a dish. It can actually help to tame the bitterness of over-brewed or stale coffee and give a smoother overall taste.

Hey there,

Ever seen someone drop a match head into their coffee? Strange, right? But this unconventional trick could be a game-changer for your coffee routine.

Skip the usual cream and sugar. Let’s journey into the lesser-known realm of coffee additions: match heads. Curious? Intrigued?

Let’s jump in.

Key Takeaways

  • Match heads can improve the coffee flavor of older stale coffee.
  • Potassium chlorate in match heads helps reduce bitterness.
  • Use in moderation due to health risks.

Ingredients in a Match Head

Ever wondered what’s inside a match head? It’s a fascinating mix of ingredients, all designed to create that little burst of fire.

The heart of a match head is an oxidizing agent – usually potassium chlorate – combined with sulfur and glass powder. This mix creates the magic we see when a match strikes to life.

What about putting them in the coffee?

Match heads are packed with chemicals, some of which are toxic. So, is it a reckless coffee dare, or a harmless hack?

Here’s the deal: for adults, ingesting a match head in your coffee – in moderate amounts – might be considered adventurous. However, too much of it can lead to severe health issues. For kids, it’s a definite no-no.

Why so? High levels of these chemicals can cause issues like the breakdown of red blood cells. And since these cells are our oxygen carriers, you don’t want them malfunctioning. It can lead to damage to vital organs, and in some cases, even fatality.

That’s why moderation is crucial. If you do decide to explore this coffee trick, stick to one or two match heads per cup. Overdoing it can lead to unpleasant effects like diarrhea, dehydration, and irritation.

Stay curious, but remember to always prioritize safety in your coffee adventures.

What Are The Benefits Of a Match Head In Coffee?

Believe it or not, there’s a silver lining to this unusual coffee trend. 

When used moderately, adding a match head to your coffee might just offer some unexpected perks. Let’s dive into them:

  1. Rescues Bad Coffee: Even the best coffee maker can’t save your brew from going stale if it’s left sitting for too long. That’s where the match head comes in. Stirring in one or two can jazz up the flavor of even the most lackluster brew. And with the potassium chlorate in the match head acting as a salt substitute, it can even help to reduce bitterness. But remember – moderation is key. Too much, and you’ll be left with a cup of disaster.
  2. Helps with Sensitive Teeth: Hot or cold coffee can be a real bummer for those with sensitive teeth. Guess what might help? A couple of match heads. Recent matches contain potassium nitrate, which can aid in calming tooth sensitivity. So, this hack might let you savor your favorite brew without any discomfort.
  3. Fends Off Mosquitoes and Bugs: This one sounds like a weird military myth, but some swear by it. Soldiers have been known to ingest match heads to deter bugs and mosquitoes. The idea is that the chemicals excreted through sweat act as repellents. While not everyone might buy into this, it’s been a lifesaver for many military vets.

So there you have it, the surprising ways a match head might add a twist to your coffee ritual. But remember, safety first. If you decide to give this a go, moderation is absolutely critical.

Alternatives To Match Heads In Coffee

While match heads might be a bold (and quite unconventional) way to experiment with your coffee, we wouldn’t recommend making it a daily ritual because of potential health risks. 

But don’t fret, coffee adventurers! 

There’s a whole world of exciting additives out there that can elevate your cup of joe. Let’s explore some safe and tasty options:

  • Ice Cream: Want a real coffee game-changer? Add a scoop of your favorite ice cream. It’s a decadent twist that lends your brew a creamy richness, not to mention an aroma that’s downright irresistible.
  • Lime or Lemon: Looking to cut through coffee’s natural bitterness without reaching for the sugar bowl? Try adding a squeeze of lime or lemon. Even letting a piece of peel steep in your coffee can add a refreshing citrus twist.
  • Nutmeg: It may sound quirky, but nutmeg can add a whole new depth of flavor to your coffee. Just one or two grinds, and you’re in for a unique experience that might just make you rethink what a cup of coffee can be.

So go ahead, mix up your coffee routine. 

With or without a top-notch coffee maker like the plumbed coffee maker, these alternatives to match heads are all about crafting an unforgettable coffee moment right in your home or office.


From a pinch of salt to a splash of cream, there’s a whole universe of ways to enjoy your coffee. Dropping a match head into your mug? 

That’s just one of the more out-of-the-box methods. While it’s not for everyone, it can provide an intriguing twist, thanks to the potassium and phosphorus involved.

The key to unforgettable coffee experiences? It’s all about personal preference. So don’t be afraid to experiment and discover what suits your taste buds best.

Ever tried a match head in your brew? If so, we’re curious to hear about it! And if not, what’s your go-to coffee hack? Share your coffee adventures in the comments below.

Remember, it’s not just about the coffee—it’s about the experience you create with each cup. Cheers to your next great coffee experiment!

Want to learn more about coffee? Read our guide on do coffee beans go bad?

Photo of author


Hi, I'm Yurii Brown, a certified coffee expert with a fervor for coffee. I've explored coffee intricacies, from brewing methods to equipment, and I'm eager to share my insights to help coffee lovers appreciate high-quality brews.
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