Observationally, coffee is inversely associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), depression and Alzheimer’s disease, but not ischemic heart disease (IHD). Coffee features as possibly protective in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Short-term trials suggest coffee has neutral effect on most glycemic traits, but raises lipids and adiponectin. To clarify we compared T2DM, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and IHD and its risk factors by genetically predicted coffee consumption using two-sample Mendelian randomization applied to large extensively genotyped case-control and cross-sectional studies. Childhood cognition was used as a negative control outcome. Genetically predicted coffee consumption was not associated with T2DM (odds ratio (OR) 1.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.76 to 1.36), depression (0.89, 95% CI 0.66 to 1.21), Alzheimer’s disease (1.17, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.43), IHD (0.96, 95% CI 0.80 to 1.14), lipids, glycemic traits, adiposity or adiponectin. Coffee was unrelated to childhood cognition. Consistent with observational studies, coffee was unrelated to IHD, and, as expected, childhood cognition. However, contrary to observational findings, coffee may not have beneficial effects on T2DM, depression or Alzheimer’s disease. These findings clarify the role of coffee with relevance to dietary guidelines and suggest interventions to prevent these complex chronic diseases should be sought elsewhere.