Category • Bean to Cup Coffee Machines

The best time to drink coffee is not when you think

Ollie | December 13, 2023 | 3 minute read

It’s an extreme sport. As our alarm launches us into a new day – the first moments can feel like the last 4 miles of a desert marathon. Gasping for air. Dragging our feet towards our first coffee. Just one sip; one sip will nourish me and pour clarity into this groggy exhaustion. Where are my keys again? Wait. Coffee first.

For many: coffee first-thing is as routine as brushing your teeth. Miss it, and you’ll feel off all day. But what if we’ve got the best time to drink coffee all wrong?

When’s the best time to drink coffee?

It’s time for the unfiltered debate.

1-2 hours after you wake up

Let’s pause. What if our early morning caffeine-crave could feel less rushed? Less life-threatening? The truth is – it doesn’t have to be this hectic. By holding off on your coffee for at least an hour after you wake up, we allow our cortisol to take hold and energise us naturally.

What is cortisol?

Meet cortisol – the natural steroid (or stress hormone) produced in our adrenal glands. Kicking in 30-45 mins after you wake up, and normally peaking between 8am and 9am, cortisol gives us a natural alertness. This means when we throw in caffeine before or as our cortisol hits us, things can feel very intense. Our heartrates double. We speak too fast. And the anxious jitters run riot.

Sound familiar? It’s easily done. In our fast-paced, to-do-list-loaded society, we’re always trying to surge ahead. But caffeine and cortisol equals too many cooks. Instead of jumping the gun on our body’s energy surge, we recommend waiting 1 to 2 hours for your morning coffee (until roughly between 9.00am and 11am depending on when you wake up). This is a more mindful way to appreciate your coffee’s taste (instead of chugging it down in frantic desperation). Plus, it lets your caffeine kick at the perfect time, just as your morning cortisol levels dip. Meaning you’ll feel alert throughout the day.

Discover More: Mindfulness at work starts with coffee

Should my last coffee be at 12 midday?

Caffeine and sleep are not lovers. Caffeine blocks our adenosine (a natural hormone that makes us feel tired), deeply affecting our sleep. This means choosing a last coffee of the day is a delicate balancing act for people keen on daytime alertness with nighttime slumber waiting at home.

While general research suggests caffeine can disrupt sleep up to six hours after consuming it, there is no set-in-stone guidelines on when to drink your last cup. Caffeine affects everyone differently. Meaning our advice is to tune into your body and experiment with different times to find your sweet spot. How did you sleep last night? Perhaps a decaf coffee or herbal tea after 3pm or midday (for especially caffeine-sensitive coffee-lovers) is the way to go.

Finding your perfect times for coffee

You must find the best times to drink coffee for you. Listen to your body. We all have a unique reaction to a hot cup of java. Personally: I love a hot coffee at 10am every morning. It’s a blissful reward after 2 hours of work; and I feel present enough to savour the taste at this time. I also love making a frothy cappuccino after completing a tricky deadline. As well as handing my colleagues their favourite cups from our office coffee machine before our Tuesday marketing meeting.

Holding off first-thing has made me feel lighter in the mornings, shifting my coffee from a need to a fascinating joy. Top tip: it’s time to try new rituals.

Discover More: Trial a bean-to-cup coffee machine for your office

Get in touch for quality office coffee

The freedom of FreshGround’s one-touch coffee machines means no employee is left wanting. Speak to us on 020 7553 7900 to talk about an exceptional coffee experience for your workplace. Handing your team barista-quality favourites anytime.