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Coffee is usually served at temperatures that would burn your hands if it spilled on it.

Is the inside of your mouth not affected by the same biological process as that which causes your skin to burn?

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migrated from chemistry.stackexchange.com Sep 2 '16 at 6:11

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  • $\begingroup$ I think this is more of a physics question: the volume of a single sip (about 20ml) is so small that it cools down before it damages the lining of your mouth. If you put a couple of drops of coffee at the same temperature on the back of your hand it wouldn't burn you either, but if you dipped your hand in it would be a different story. $\endgroup$ – arboviral Sep 2 '16 at 7:57
  • $\begingroup$ But when you sip it, the first second of contact the water doesn't have a chance to cool yet. I don't think 20 ml of 180° won't burn you $\endgroup$ – larry909 Sep 2 '16 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ To be honest 20ml was probably an overestimate (caused by not yet having had my coffee) - when drinking very hot drinks I suspect a sip is considerably less than 5ml. And I frequently burn my mouth on hot coffee despite this. $\endgroup$ – arboviral Sep 2 '16 at 8:17
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    $\begingroup$ (Ha ha) But the question is about water temperature that your mouth feels comfortable with but is still nevertheless too hot to touch. Are you, or why aren't you, damaging your mouth $\endgroup$ – larry909 Sep 2 '16 at 8:21
  • $\begingroup$ @larry909 I think several factors work, such as 1. mucous layers and moisture help to cool it, and 2. a habit to sip hot drinks cause desensitization and Callosity. Personally, I do-not like to drink very-hot drinks as others do, but if in certain occasion (winters / tourism hurry) I drink hot beverages for several successive days, some desensitization take place. $\endgroup$ – Always Confused Sep 7 '16 at 9:38

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