The best time to drink coffee…according to science

Coffee clock

There’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh coffee in the morning. For many of us drinking a morning coffee is a ritual to jump start you for the busy day ahead. But what if I told you could be drinking coffee at completely the wrong times that could be counter productive?

Caffeine whether you like it or not is a stimulating drug. Its effects bear similarities to the likes of cocaine – just in a much much milder form of course. That being said with its health benefits and sensational flavour I would hardly think any less of it.

As with any drug (legal or illegal) the body reacts, but it can also proactively adapt in its natural attempt to keep your body balanced. This is where Cortisol comes into play.


Cortisol is a steroid hormone released throughout the day to maintain alertness. It is commonly associated with the ‘Fight or Flight’ mode that activates when the body goes under stress, whereby the lines between brave and stupid frequently blur.

The reason this is important is because coffee can disrupt the impact and release of Cortisal. They both in the short term can result in heightened awareness. However prolonged coupling of the two can build up the bodies tolerances to weaken the overall affects. According to studies at the Giesel School of medicine at Dartmouth the combination of Cortisol and Caffeine can actually increase your stress levels. This is why it is important you drink coffee when Cortisol is at its lowest levels within the day.


Cortisol is controlled by the part of the brain known as the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus, which among many things controls the bodies biological clock (aka Circadian Rythm) for the most basic of bodily functions including when to sleep, wake and eat. Based on the 2009 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Cortisol levels were  found highest at 8am to 9am, 12am  to 1pm and 5:30pm to 6:30pm. This would suggest you should drink coffee between 9:30am to 11:30 am, 1:30pm to 5pm….and 6.30pm to 7.30pm for nocturnal creatures like myself.

Now this is very subjective as habits differ between people resulting in misaligned body clocks, however the logic is sound. So if you find yourself trying to maintain your caffeine fix with more or stronger coffees I would strongly suggest switching up your coffee routine. Furthermore to help manage caffeine intake sticking to the higher quality Arabica coffees, which just so happen to contain less caffeine and be our speciality could be the way forward.


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