When is the best time of day to drink coffee?
All the time.
- At least that’s the obvious answer to us Joyriders. Sip some cold brew immediately upon arriving at work; coast through the morning on Chemexed single origins expertly brewed and delivered to our desks by our in-house barista, or rather, intern (shhh...don’t tell Dartmouth); maybe an afternoon airpot; possibly another shot of cold brew before heading home. But is there any downside to this reckless caffeine consumption? If we were drinking coffee strategically, could we be more productive, healthier, stronger and perhaps even more attractive? As always, I asked the internet.
Numerous studies, including one published by Cardiff University’s Center for Occupational and Health Psychology, have shown that caffeine can improve alertness, concentration and motor skills. This goes a long way in explaining why everyone at Joyride types so very fast and is oh so productive all the time. But then again, even the most naive mocha frappucino sipper knows caffeine is a stimulant.
What I wanted to know was – does drinking coffee at a specific time make a difference?
According to science, if you drink caffeine while your body is producing cortisol, you will not reap its normal benefits. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates bodily functions related to stress and when our bodies are producing it, we naturally feel more awake. Adrenal glands produce cortisol in time with our circadian rhythms; during the early morning hours, at midday and then again in the early evening.
If you drink coffee during these times, your tolerance to the benefits of caffeine tragically builds up. So, the best time for caffeine consumption is between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. as well as in the afternoon between 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
In other words, if being too lazy to brew your own, or too cheap to buy some, or the fact the Joyride’s coffee is the most delicious, weren't reason enough to wait until work for your first cup, now you have the best reason of all – science.
When talking with potential and existing customers, one of the most frequently asked questions involve the strength of our coffees. But what we should really be asking ourselves is – can our coffee make us stronger?
If you’re a runner, drinking coffee about an hour before running can help you run further, faster and feel less pain. You only need three to six milligrams of the chemical per kilogram of bodyweight to achieve this edge, which generally comes out to 8 - 16 ounces of coffee.
If you prefer to exercise in a more contained environment, perhaps pumping iron while listening to Beyoncé, the same general rules apply. Scientists at the University of Illinois also found that drinking two to three cups of coffee one hour before a 30-minute session of “high-intensity exercise” reduced perceived muscle pain. It stands to reason that, because workout-induced muscle pain is a major factor in tiring out exercisers, coffee-drinking gym frequenters would be able to perform longer or more aggressive exercise routines.
It seems every article on my Google news “coffee” feed features new discoveries related the coffee’s health benefits. Generally, when it comes to drinking coffee for health, it’s more about total volume and less about specific timing. An Iowa Women’s Health Study found that one to three cups of coffee per day reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 24 percent for women. This benefit diminished as intake rose, so as with the rest of life – moderation is key.
A recent study conducted by the American Gastroenterological Association showed that coffee can reduce the risk of liver cancer up to 40 percent with a potential to reduce it up to 50 percent if you drank more than three cups per day.
Guess that means my whiskey, cold brew and Coca-Cola habit (a dangerously delicious recipe courtesy of Stumptown) leaves my liver at net zero? Fingers crossed, especially since a Finnish study suggested that four cups of coffee a day protect the liver from cirrhosis.
Given that Joyride is already pretty damn fine as far as attractive offices go (we credit our good looks to our strict coffee diet) there’s not much room for improvement here.
But if you’re feeling kinda crafty, you can mix up a “mocha frappuccino mask” (hint: you put it on your face, don’t drink it). This won't just make you smell like a delicious cup of coffee, but it'll also exfoliate your face, detoxify and act as an anti-aging agent. Plus, caffeine absorbs through your skin, so it'll wake you up, too.
A simpler version, especially for us coffee-vores who typically don’t have other food in our pantry, involves putting coffee grounds under your eyes to let the caffeine reduce puffiness and swelling. Easy, effective, and very helpful when you’re up into the wee hours, sipping W, CB & Cs (seriously guys, try this recipe).