The best (and worst) times to drink coffee during the day


“I don’t have coffee after 5 pm” or “Coffee should only be drunk in the first part of the day!” or “For me, coffee makes me sleepy”… these are just some of the phrases we hear very often when it comes to coffee and when to drink it to benefit from its effects fully. So when to drink coffee? Are there the best times to take this fantastic drink?

This article will reveal what is true behind the classic coffee-related stereotypes.

What time to drink coffee, the best and worst times

We all know that coffee is one of the most popular liquid refreshments in the world, and it’s the first one we think of when we need an energy boost. But why does this happen? Why do we immediately feel better when we are tired and drink coffee?

Is it one of the many placebo effects, or is there some scientific basis for it?

The recharging effect of coffee is that coffee is fundamentally related to its caffeine content, a substance with stimulating and energizing properties that give the body a sprint similar to that of cortisol which can produce an increase in the production of adrenaline and noradrenaline, thus increasing the level of alertness and attention.

Given that the question “when to drink coffee?” has always gripped the consumers of this drink, an American neuroscientist, Steven Miller, conducted a study to find precise answers. 

So when is it better to drink coffee?

Coffee lovers answer without a doubt that any moment of the day is the right one to enjoy a steaming espresso, but what does science say?

According to Miller, the time to drink coffee is very important because taking it at the wrong moment in time could favor the development of the phenomenon of addiction, and that is that in the long run, the body needs greater doses of caffeine to be able to see the beneficial effects of this substance. For the same reason, choosing the time to take caffeine would keep us safe from developing an addiction. 

Again according to this study, drinking coffee as soon as you wake up, especially if you wake up before 9 in the morning, may not have the desired effect because, between 8 and 9 in the morning, our body already produces a high level of cortisol (it is the moment of the day when cortisol reaches its peak). The two effects do not add up but rather predispose us to the development of addiction. On the contrary, between 9.30 and 11.30, the cortisol levels begin to drop physiologically; at this point, drinking coffee gives us the best benefits. The mid-morning coffee break is a panacea. If we don’t have it, it is a habit that we must learn to insert into our daily routine. Drinking coffee in this time slot greatly enhances the energizing effects of caffeine, which keeps attention levels high for up to 5 hours.

The other physiological peak of cortisol occurs around 13.30/14:00; therefore, even coffee immediately after lunch is not, again, according to Miller, a good habit, but to have an afternoon full of energy it would be advisable to have a cup of coffee around 3 pm. However, coffee stimulates the digestive processes, especially after a large meal. It won’t make us more awake but it will help us digest better.

Since caffeine has a stimulating effect, the best thing is to have the last coffee before 4.30/5.00 pm to completely dispose of this substance before going to sleep. Arriving in the evening with the caffeine taken during the day still in circulation could interfere with good quality sleep. However, if we can’t give up coffee after dinner, it’s better to prefer the decaffeinated one to avoid disturbed sleep.

How much coffee to drink?

Now that we understand when to drink coffee, another question arises: “how much coffee can I drink daily?”. Also, in this case, science intervenes to give us answers. According to a study, it would be advisable for a healthy adult to keep within 400 mg of caffeine daily, corresponding to a maximum of 4 coffees. People should reduce these quantities in hypertensives (i.e., people suffering from high blood pressure) because caffeine, a stimulating substance, also increases blood pressure values.