This study assessed the effects of regular coffee drinking on 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) in normotensive and hypertensive older men and women. Twenty-two normotensive and 26 hypertensive, nonsmoking men and women, with a mean age of 72.1 years (range, 54 to 89 years), took part in the study. After 2 weeks of a caffeine-free diet, subjects were randomized to continue with the caffeine-free diet and abstain from caffeine-containing drinks or drink instant coffee (5 cups per day, equivalent to 300 mg caffeine per day) in addition to the caffeine-free diet for a further 2 weeks. Change in systolic and diastolic blood pressures (SBP, DBP) determined by 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring showed significant interactions between coffee drinking and hypertension status. In the hypertensive group, rise in mean 24-hour SEP was greater by 4.8 (SEM, 1.3) mm Hg (P=0.031) and increase in mean 24-hour DBP was higher by 3.0 (1.0) mm Hg (P=0.010) in coffee drinkers than in abstainers. There were no significant differences between abstainers and coffee drinkers in the normotensive soup for 24-hour, daytime, or nighttime SEP or DBP. In older men and women with treated or untreated hypertension, ABP increased in coffee drinkers and decreased in abstainers. Restriction of coffee intake may be beneficial in older hypertensive individuals.