When Is The Best Time to Drink Coffee?

Physiologically speaking, when would your body benefit most from drinking coffee? As a coffee professional and co-owner of Lake City Coffee, I (Russell) have read considerable research and done a bit of personal experimenting.  My goal in this article is first to cover both the best time to drink coffee and secondly why this is the case.

coffee comfort food

Jumpstarting Your Mental Day

Most Americans drink coffee as soon as they wake up. Every morning, from the pitter-patter of a small woman’s feet to the bear stomping construction worker’s steel toed boots, one can hear the family heading to the kitchen for coffee.

Caffeine can kick some people in the butt to get moving. The far more powerful effect of coffee is the psychological, comfort-food, that coffee gives people. It gives them a sense of security, that they can get through this day easier and better with a good cup of coffee.

Imagine, a comfortable chair, a hot cup of coffee, and the cares of the coming day receding to insignificance. With that cup of coffee, you’re thinking, “That’s good. That’s real good”. Your body and mind immediately begin to relax. It’s almost like putting on the armor of God, knowing that no matter what the day throws at you, you’re ready.

Jumpstarting Your Physical Day

Your body is made to wake up slowly. But most of us would rather sleep an extra 10 minutes, then jump up and hurry to get ready for the day with some caffeine. If it’s just the caffeine that you’re looking for, then keep this in mind. The lighter the roast, the more the caffeine.

That’s right. Most people think that the darker the roast the more the caffeine, but that’s just not the fact. A light roast coffee can have almost double the caffeine as a very dark roast coffee.

So how much coffee is effective and safe. Researchers have been telling us for over 50 years that the rule of thumb is 400mg of caffeine a day, which equates to (4) 8 ounce cups of coffee. More than that and the side-effects that you experience will compound.

Health benefits of coffee
Whole Bean Coffee

Side Effects of Coffee

Although coffee and caffeine have side effects, the benefits far outweigh any negative effects. The positive effects of coffee are too numerous to list here, so instead check out this article of mine, “Health Benefits of Coffee”. The video in this article, by Dr. Jumpur is mind blowing. You’ll love it.

An important factor to consider is that coffee effects people differently. For most of us, we have no issues. For others, the negative effects are mild. And for others, the negative effects are extreme.

Here’s the good news. For many of the negative effects of coffee, there are workarounds, which we’ll discuss.

Getting The Jitters

Caffeine is a psychotropic drug. That means that it affects your brain. One common side effect is getting the jitters or shakes. I mean that’s all find and dandy if your day job takes place in a cyclone fence cage with a madman looking for your head on a platter.

But for most of us, getting the jitters isn’t fun or necessary. If you need a stimulant, then take it slow.

Best time to drink coffee

Increased Blood Sugar

 As stated earlier, coffee does produce a small, but measurable, bump in your blood sugar level. If you are healthy, then this shouldn’t be an issue. Your body is waking up and a little more go-juice is probably a good thing.

If you’re a diabetic, then read my article “A Diabetics Guide To Coffee”. If you keep your coffee intake to 400mg of caffeine (4 cups of coffee), then you should be fine. And for God’s sake, obviously don’t add sugar!

Increased Blood Pressure

Because caffeine is a stimulant, some folk’s blood pressure will often see a slight spike at the peak of the caffeine’s effect. The good news is that your blood pressure is going to increase anyway as you wake up.

Since the effect of caffeine in your system increases over time, the effects should ware off noticeably in an hour. If you have a heart condition, then the rule of thumb is to check with your doctor. I personally don’t trust doctors, since they’re often drinking the Doctors are Gods cool-aid. Instead, I suggest that you listen to your own body.

Vintage Poster Man
coffee for people that don't like coffee

Sour Stomach Issues

I mean, who wants to start the day with stomach issues. And believe me, I hear from a lot of people that coffee gives them indigestion, heartburn, or acid reflux. None of that is fun.

Often people blame the acid in coffee. Actually, that’s not true. The pH level of coffee is about the same as apple juice and also very close to your stomach’s natural pH level. So, if it’s not the acid, what is it? It’s charcoal.

What? How did charcoal get into my coffee? Well, the coffee roaster, burnt the snot out of your beans, leaving behind little more than charcoal. Suffice it to say, your stomach doesn’t like charcoal. If you drink properly roasted coffee, it shouldn’t upset your stomach. Here’s a great article on “Coffee For Sensitive Stomachs”.

Montezuma’s Revenge

Yep, coffee can make you poop. For some of us, that’s a good thing. For others, maybe that’s an issue. Either way, it’s not to hard to figure out when coffee makes you poop.

So, just plan ahead. Either change how you make your coffee. Or you can change when you drink your coffee. Or know where the nearest bathroom is located.

Coffee Outhouse
Decaf Coffee Required

Challenges Trying To Go To Sleep

As a stimulant, not only can coffee wake you up, but it can also keep you awake too long. So how late can you drink coffee? Honestly, I know people that can drink coffee then go right to bed. I also know people that, if they drink coffee for breakfast, it’ll keep them awake 16 hours later.

16 hours? That sounds a bit nuts, but I did read a study that says the half-life of caffeine is 12 hours. That means if you drink 200mg of caffeine (2 cups of coffee), the effects of that 200mg 12 hours later is half of what it was the first hour. That seems unlikely to me, but it certainly could be for some people.

Bottom line is to test coffee’s effect on yourself and see if the caffeine is affecting your sleep cycle. Or you can switch to decaf.

Best Time to Drink Coffee

Considering your metabolism and your body’s natural biorhythm, your body wants to wake up slowly. There’s a hormone called cortisol that regulates your body’s alertness. It typically spikes 30-60 minutes after waking up and then tapers off until early afternoon.

Have you ever had that after lunch, afternoon, crash? Yep, that’s your body screaming for a jolt of coffee. In all reality, you should be drinking coffee in the afternoon. By drinking some “Joe” in the afternoon, you’ll be more alert and get through the day.

Morning Coffee
Vintage Woman Drinker

Second Best Time to Drink Coffee

Here’s the issue. You want your coffee as soon as humanly possible after waking up. Yeah, me too. The heck with the science. I want my coffee and I want it now! I’ll bet you do too.

Here’s a tiny tweak to your coffee routine that will help your caffeine pick-me-up to last longer, not spike your sugar levels, and leave your cortisol hormone to do its job.

All you have to do is drink your coffee during or after breakfast. That’s it. Drinking your coffee after breakfast will improve your health, make you feel better, give your stomach a break, and keep you from pooping your brains out in the morning. That sounds like a pretty good tradeoff to me.

Consider Decaffeinated Coffee

So, if regular coffee is giving you issues, then consider drinking decaffeinated coffee. I know that “decaf” is a cuss word to most of us. There are several reasons that decaf has such a bad reputation.

  1. The taste of decaf is usually, but not always, disgusting. There are two reasons for this.
  2. The first reason decaf tastes disgusting is that a vast majority of coffee companies decaffeinate their beans using chemical solvents similar to formaldehyde. We don’t. We use 100% pure water, called the “Swiss Water Processed" method.
  3. The second reason decaf tastes so bad is that a vast majority of coffee companies burn the living snot out of their beans, so that you can’t taste the chemicals.

Since our Delicious Decaf uses the Swiss Water Process and is roasted to a very dark “brown” color, and it’s shipped to you the same day that it is roasted, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between our regular coffee and our decaf coffee. Maybe that’s why we get so many compliments on our Decaf Reviews Page regarding our decaf coffee.

Man In Bed Coffee
Russell and Alisha Volz

Lake City Coffee

Alisha, (My wife and business partner) and myself started Lake City Coffee in 2015 for one reason. We wanted the freshest (<72 hours after roasting) smoothest (zero-bitterness) and best tasting coffee with a quality to price ratio (QPR) that was unbeatable.

In twelve years of coffee roasting, I’ve found one coffee bean that was as good as our Costa Rican beans. That one bean was from Kona Hawaii and cost over $75 per pound!

I personally believe we have the best coffee that you’re likely to find anywhere. Just take a look at our Reviews Page and I think you’ll agree.

best time to drink coffee


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