Bracha Acharona on Hot Drinks & Soda

I was told that I shouldn’t say a bracha after drinking coffee at work. Is this true and why?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Yes, there are good grounds for this. The issue is that although we say the blessing before eating or drinking any amount, to recite the blessing after (bracha acharona) we must eat or drink a specific quantity in a specific amount of time. For food this is generally not difficult – we must eat food equal to the size of an olive (29cc, close to an ounce) in 4 (preferably 2) minutes. For drinks, however, the quantity is three times that amount (86cc) – a quarter of a log, known as a revi’it (literally, “a quarter”) – and we must drink it almost all at once – with one short break in the drinking, without removing the cup from our mouth.

This would seem to rule out hot drinks (as well as soda), which are sipped slowly. (In fact, if you would force yourself to gulp down a hot drink it would be considered an “unnatural act” – not a normal act of drinking, and would not warrant a bracha acharona either.)

Therefore, we do not make a bracha acharona on hot drinks or soda, although it’s preferable to leave 86cc to cool off at the end to enable saying the bracha. This is the practice followed by Sephardic and most Ashkenazi Jews. However, many Ashkenazi Jews, especially in Israel, follow a minority opinion that hot drinks are exceptional since it is normal to drink them slowly, and a bracha acharona is recited so long as we finish them in 4 minutes.

Unless your rabbi tells you otherwise, out of doubt you should follow the first opinion and not say a bracha acharona on such drinks.

(Sources: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 210:1, Mishna Berurah 1, Orchat Rabbeinu (Chazon Ish) 1, 88, Yechaveh Da'at V 21, V’Zot HaBracha 41-42.)

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