Why Do We Drink Coffee

From the first discovery of the weird berries that give you energy, coffee became an all-time favorite drink of the human race. Besides water and tea, of course. The coffee drinking traditions were more than mere hydrating. They were part of the culture and still are. Especially in Europe, where Italian, French, Turkish, and many other coffee drinking traditions have more than strict rules of preparing, serving, and drinking our favorite cup of joe. Modern times gave us a premium single-serve coffee maker, fully-automated coffee makers, Aeropress, and other gizmo. But the principle remains the same. Good bean extracted in good water, using any method you prefer. 

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Coffee is not just a method of a quick wake-up. It became a symbol. Before or after work, on the break, after the exam… a cup of coffee is always there for us, as a friend, comfort, and social event trigger. Almost everyone likes coffee, be it plain black, best decaf coffee,  or a frappuccino latte with pumpkin spice. 

Benefits of Drinking Coffee

Imagine a tasty substance that’s good for your health, both mental and physical. That’s coffee for you. The magical bean holds numerous health benefits, and we are here to count them.

Makes You Happy and Energized

Caffeine is the most consumed legal psychoactive substance ever, and our plain old cup of joe is full of it. After the coffee ends up in your stomach, the caffeine goes in your blood and then to your brain. There, it blocks the adenosine and increases the dopamine levels. Dopamine is the most common “happy hormone” and responsible for a good feeling after finishing your coffee. So, caffeine makes you happy, energized, and your mental functions improve.

Makes You Thinner

Only coffee and a few other natural substances are proven fat burners. Depending on your body type, coffee increases your metabolic rate anywhere between 3% and 11%. Of course, only black coffee makes you thinner. Coffee-based drinks with alcohol, sweeteners, creamers, and whipped cream will sadly have the opposite effect. 

Makes You Stronger

We’re not selling snake oil; it’s pure science here. Coffee not only boosts your metabolism, but caffeine helps break fat cells much quicker, especially belly fat. If you hit your coffee before going to the gym, your physical performance will increase by 11%. It’s truly a mighty beverage for your well-being. Especially black coffee and Nitro coffee go great with the exercise. 

Full of Essential Nutrients

Benefits of Drinking Coffee

We took one cup of black coffee (8 ounces) as a standard serving size. And look what we found inside:

  • Calories – only 2.4
  • B2 vitamin – 11% of the RDI (Reference Daily Intake)
  • B3 vitamin – 2% of the RDI
  • B5 vitamin – 6% of the RDI
  • Potassium and manganese – 3% of the RDI
  • Magnesium – 2% of the RDI

And that’s just one cup of coffee daily. People tend to drink a lot more, and the nutrients just add up, multiplying the benefits. 

Protects You From Diabetes

Diabetes is one of modern people’s diseases, and type 2 diabetes is the most common. People who have diabetes have a high blood sugar level due to insulin resistance or insufficient insulin production. Miraculously, but coffee drinkers have a reduced risk of getting diabetes. Science still searches why, but numerous studies showed that regular coffee drinkers have a 50% reduced risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

Protects Your Brain

Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia are diseases that attack your brain after you reach a certain age. Again, coffee is here for you. Drinking at least one cup of coffee every day can lower the risk of getting any of these three diseases up to 65%! Not bad, coffee, not bad.

Saves Your Liver

The liver is one of the fantastic organs in our body that we mistreat almost all the time. Medicines, alcohol, obesity, and certain viruses will damage your liver. The worst issue is liver cirrhosis, where your liver is slowly replaced by scar tissue until it completely shuts down. However, if you drink four or more joe cups every day, you reduce the liver disease risk up to 80%. 

Fights Cancer

Cancer is still one of the world’s most common causes of death. The stunning 70% of people with cancer are from low and middle-income countries, with poor life quality. Although coffee doesn’t help against all cancer types, it will help against liver cancer and colorectal cancer. Drinking coffee regularly reduces the risk of getting colorectal cancer by up to 15% and liver cancer by up to 40%.

Full of Antioxidants

In the Western diet, beverages are the largest source of antioxidants. To be precise, 79% of antioxidant comes from our drinks, and only 21% comes from food. Tea and coffee are the beverages with the largest antioxidants concentration. You can get 1-2 grams just by drinking your cup of joe and your cuppa tea. 

As a plant, coffee cherry takes the unflattering 11th place on the berries scale when it comes to antioxidants. But as a drink, it takes first place. However, drinking coffee won’t get you all the antioxidants your body needs. Don’t forget to eat veggies, fruits, and legumes to make sure your diet is complete. 

How Does Coffee Work

As we all know, the thing we call a coffee bean is a cherry seed. Yes, coffee grows in bushes. Depending on the climate, altitude, type, humidity, and many other factors, every coffee bean type is different. After different levels of roasting, coffee has over 1000 chemical compounds that determine the smell, aroma, flavor, and every other aspect of a good quality coffee. But the most important coffee compound is trimethylxanthine. If you feel confused, it’s a scientific name for caffeine.

In nature, caffeine can be found in tea leaves, cocoa beans, and of course, coffee. Over 60 more plants have caffeine, too, but they haven’t yet become notorious because of it. Caffeine is the plant’s natural defense against bugs and weeds. It’s also one of the main reasons people drink coffee. Not to scare away the bugs, but to wake us up. But how does caffeine work?

When caffeine enters your body, after your first-morning sip of coffee, it splits into three molecules:

  • Theobromine
  • Paraxanthine
  • Theophylline

These three molecules look almost similar to each other and to the compound called adenosine. Adenosine is one of the key players in your brain, responsible for the sense of relaxation and tiredness. But, as the caffeine molecules are almost similar to the adenosine ones, they can bind to the same receptors. Hence, adenosine can’t make you feel sleepy, as the caffeine took its place in the receptors. And as we have three caffeine molecules, we have three different modus operandi:

Theobromine feeds your brain by increasing the amount of oxygen and energy from your body.

Paraxanthine breaks fat easily and helps your musculature relax.

Theophylline helps your concentration and makes your heart beat faster.

The jolly trio produces the thing we call the caffeine kick or the morning buzz. Usually, caffeine needs cca 45 minutes to start working. 

Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee in the Morning

Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee in the Morning

Pros

Coffee is the most effective (legal) waking up solution. You can rant about orange juice or cucumber water all you want.  When you need to wake up, people pick coffee. Tea lovers aside, but the sole scent of fresh coffee is enough to wake an honest working man up and give him the energy to go out, dominate the world, and come back in the evening. The fresh bean grinding, creamy taste of steamed milk, slow stirring, and that pleasant rush of caffeine swarming your sleepy brain…

Cons

The negative effect of our first-morning cup of freshly brewed cappuccino is connected with cortisol. Sure, high levels of both cortisol and caffeine are a sure wake-up…for now. But later, cortisol and caffeine wear off, leaving your body in a state of a crash. Also, your body gets used to caffeine and produces less cortisol. Hence, it will require more caffeine. Bad, closed cycle.

Also, a decent percentage of people suffer from IBS, also known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, and gasses. It’s common among people that drink their first cup of joe on an empty stomach. 

Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee in the Afternoon

The afternoon is a good time to drink coffee as any other part of the day. But you should opt for a time between 1 and 5 PM to ensure the maximum caffeine boost. That said, here are some pros and cons of your afternoon coffee.

Pros

  • Coffee will boost your metabolism, and you won’t feel sleepy after a huge meal—a great choice for a drink after lunch.
  • A cup of coffee in the afternoon will give you enough energy to go through a long, hard day. 
  • If you drink a cold brew or iced coffee, your coffee will be prepared quickly, and you won’t lose any of your break time.

Cons

  • You have to wait for 1 PM for your coffee to have any effect. 
  • If you are caffeine intolerant, an afternoon coffee can disrupt your sleep.
  • If you are a morning drinker, the cups of coffee can add up through the day. Limit your coffee intake if you are having health problems. 
  • Having an office stainless steel thermal coffee maker is a great thing. However, you might just end up drinking more coffee than you should. 

Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee in the Evening

A large number of people prefer drinking their coffee in the evenings, some even in the night. However, like any other time of the day, an evening cup of joe has its pros and cons. 

Pros

  • A cup of coffee is an unmatchable stress reliever after a long day.
  • Evening cup of coffee will keep you sharp and awake. Students, nightshift workers, and all the people working late appreciate this perk.
  • The evening is a perfect time for coffee-based cocktails, especially in summer. A coffee cocktail as an evening cocktail will start your party and make it posh, especially if you add some of your favorite liqueur instead of serving mocktails. 

Cons

  • Caffeine will, shall, and would affect your sleeping routine. You can fall into an endless cycle where you drink coffee late and then have a bad night of sleep. The next day you need more caffeine to wake up, and you end with a metabolism full of caffeine, which will disrupt your sleep. Then the next day is the same story all over again. 
  • An evening cup of joe will disrupt your melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone that synchronizes sleep. Neurotransmitters control their secretions. Caffeine affects those neurotransmitters. Negatively, of course, and you end up sleeping little or none.

Effects of Coffee

Coffee and Cortisol Level

And now, coffee lovers, it’s time to learn about cortisol. No, it’s not an artificial sweetener, but a hormone with a mission. Cortisol regulates your metabolism, blood pressure, immune system, focus level, and much more. Your sleeping schedule determines the level of cortisol in your blood.

Your cortisol levels are high when you wake up and slowly get lower during the day, with occasional spikes now and then. Caffeine increases the level of cortisol in your body. In the end, your body starts increasing the cortisol levels. That can lead to some health problems in the long term. However, scientists haven’t confirmed this theory by 100%. But one thing they have confirmed is that your coffee has a weaker effect if you drink it when your cortisol levels are high. You will need more coffee to wake you up, and your body will produce less cortisol. And that can be a major issue for your immune system. To play it safe, try to drink your usual coffee between 9 AM and 11:30 AM. 

Boosting Exercise Performance

Caffeine isn’t just a pesticide or a quick wake up. Ask any gym-goer. Caffeine will enhance your exercise performance if you drink it just before the training. Every trainer will recommend the strongest nitro-infused coffee just before you hit the gym. Your muscles will be stronger, you will feel more powerful, and your tiredness will come much, much later. The golden ratio for coffee lovers that hit the gym is 2mg of caffeine per pound of your body weight. So, find a gym near the bar, or bring your coffee to go. Still, if you weigh over 200 pounds, keep to the recommended daily dose of 400 mg of caffeine. 

The best time to consume the coffee is cca 45 minutes before the training, so the caffeine can start working its magic.

Anxiety and Sleep Issues

Effects of Coffee

The rule of thumb is that most caffeine stays in your body for three to five hours. However, people are different, and caffeine is a powerful compound, so many people experience the negative aspects of coffee drinking. So, if you are prone to anxiety, you may find out that coffee only makes it worse. As for the sleep issues, avoid drinking coffee at least 6 hours before your usual bedtime. Drinking decaf espresso before going to bed is also a great solution, but let’s not forget that even a decaf coffee still has some traces of caffeine inside. 

What Is the Best Time to Drink Coffee

Let’s break it through the whole day. The best time for the morning coffee will be between 9 AM and 11:30 AM. Afternoon coffee will have the best effect between 1 PM and 5 PM. 

The highest cortisol levels happen between 8 and 9 AM, but they are not the only ones. You have to be extra careful between 12 and 1 PM, and again 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Coffee brewing and an alarm clock go well together. 

Do’s and Don’ts When Drinking Coffee

Do’s

  • Try and make coffee creamer by yourself. It’s a fun, healthy, and cost-effective alternative to store-bought creamers.
  • Always use fresh beans and clean water. It’s the only way to get a tasty cup of joe. 
  • Grind your beans directly before the coffee consumption. This way, all the aromas will be preserved.
  • For a maximum caffeine effect, try to drink your coffee in the recommended time intervals during the day.

Don’ts

  • Never use old beans, as your coffee will taste awful.
  • Don’t have prejudice about instant coffee. There are great, top-quality brands available. Not all are bad.
  • Don’t forget to always use clean and high-quality equipment for brewing your cup of joe. Using a low-quality or, God forbid, dirty equipment is a guaranteed way to spoil even the best beans. 

World’s Coffee-Drinking Rituals

How Do Ethiopians Drink Their Coffee

Ethiopia is the birthplace of Arabica, and they take their coffee ceremonies quite seriously. Every village drinks their concoction three times daily – morning, noon, and evening.

The ceremony starts by burning incense and showering the flowers on the floor. Then, the roasting starts. They usually use a large metal pan over the charcoal flame. During the roasting, tribe women add cinnamon, cardamom, and other spices to the beans. After that, they grind the beans using a robust metal rod (zenzena) and boil them in a clay pot (jebena). After that, the coffee is strained several times before serving. The oldest members are served first as a sign of respect. The whole ceremony lasts around two hours, and it’s considered rude to drink less than three cups.

How Do Italians Drink Their Coffee

Italia is the birthplace of the espresso machine and many endemic coffee rituals. For instance, Italians drink their milky coffee drinks only in the morning. Meaning, you will get an evil eye from the barista (and looks of pure judgment from the guests) if you order a cappuccino in the afternoon. Also, Italians drink their espressos at the counter of the bar. There are several reasons for that:

  • It’s time-saving, as you can drink your espresso as soon as it’s done.
  • The best espresso is fresh espresso, and if the bar is crowded, you might end up with a cold espresso if you wait for the waiter.
  • In most Italian bars, the prices of beverages vary depending on where do you sit. The espresso on the terrace can cost several times more than the espresso on the counter. 

How Do the Irish Drink Their Coffee

One word: whiskey. Irish coffee has become a legendary drink since the 1940s. A simple mixture of coffee, whiskey, and whipped cream has taken the world by surprise and remains the world’s most favorite coffee cocktail. The Irish are more tea lovers than coffee lovers, but nobody will resist a hot cup of Irish coffee.

FAQ About the Best Time to Drink Coffee

FAQ About the Best Time to Drink Coffee

Is it okay to drink coffee at night?

Drinking coffee at night is highly not recommended. Caffeine will stay in your metabolism, and you will have a low quality sleep and wake up feeling you had no sleep at all. Coffee can make you tired. Moreover, a bad sleeping schedule can lead to stress-eating, late-night visits to your fridge, and thus, obesity. 

That said, if you have a scary exam tomorrow or you have to work a night shift, we say go for it. Just don’t let it become a habit for you. Or opt for a decaf coffee that won’t disturb your sleep schedule. 

What time of the day should I stop drinking coffee?

The doctors suggest you should drink your last cup of joe until 5 AM. But that’s just for the caffeine content inside the coffee. If you are a fan of decaffeinated coffee, you can even drink your evening cups. But beware, as the decaf coffee still has a certain percentage of caffeine, so don’t over-enjoy it. 

How long does it take for the effects of coffee to wear off?

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine claims that caffeine’s half-life in your metabolism is up to 5 hours. Half-life is the time interval for any substance to be reduced by 50%. So, if you drank your usual 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee, you have 100 mg of caffeine in your body. In the next five hours, it would be reduced to 50 mg. However, the remaining half will be in your body a lot longer. Some researchers even claim it can stay up to 10 hours in your metabolism. If you are a coffee veteran, you might barely notice the effects. However, some people are over-sensitive when it comes to caffeine intake. 

When should you drink coffee after waking up?

Although a cup of coffee is usually the first thing on our minds a soon as we wake up, medical experts claim that we need to be patient. Wait for an hour till your cortisol level kicks out, and then brew your first cup. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible.

What time should you drink coffee if you want to lose weight?

If you are on a diet plan, coffee is a great little helper. Especially black coffee, as it contains next to zero calories. Every time of the day is a great time to drink coffee. If you choose to drink it after the meal, it will help your digestion system work smoother. If you choose to drink coffee before the workout, you will gain extra endurance for the training. You can even drink your first cup of joe on an empty stomach, but we wouldn’t advise that, as your digestive tract might be complaining. Avoid drinking coffee late in the evening, as it might disturb your sleeping cycle and increase your night visits to a fridge. 

What is the best time to drink black coffee?

Suppose you are one of the people that adore the bitter taste of black coffee congratulations. Black coffee is the healthiest coffee beverage you can drink, as it contains almost zero calories. You can drink it anytime you want if your health is generally well. However, drinking black coffee on an empty stomach can stimulate stomach acid production, leading to digestion problems. Also, black coffee is rich in caffeine, so it is best to limit the coffee intake during the afternoon and evening.

Conclusion

Through our article, we have given you the best times to drink coffee every day. Use your smartphone for the first two weeks as a reminder, and you will get a habit in no time. That is if you want to maximize the coffee effects and reduce the risk for your health.   But even if you choose to drink your cup of joe at some other time of the day, it will do you no instant harm. But in the long run, it’s best to listen to the medical expert’s advice. 

In the end, the only important rule is that you should enjoy your coffee every day. Salut!

Photos from: Efetova / depositphotos.com, AndrewDemenyuk / depositphotos.com, Elnur_ / depositphotos.com, kanareva / depositphotos.com and KucherAndrey / depositphotos.com.