Why You Should Have Your First Cup of Coffee a Little Later in the Morning

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Ryoko of I Love Coffee)

Here’s an interesting tidbit of food science I ran across this week and thought was worth sharing with you. Even if you’re a coffee-lover, as I am, the caffeine jolt that first cup provides is admittedly as important as Fair Trade sourcing and the range of berry and floral notes. But science tells us that, while you may rush to the coffee pot (or pour over station) first thing in the morning, it’s better to wait. Here’s why.

I read this explanation at the fun blog I Love Coffee, which posted an infographic explaining the basics. See the whole thing here:

The author got her info from a more in-depth blog post by a neuroscientist. Here’s his original post:

The best time for your coffee at NeuroscienceDC

So what’s the gist of it all? Well, basically, most of us are going to feel most alert between 8 and 9am in the morning, which is when our body is naturally producing cortisol, a hormone that makes you feel alert. If you drink caffeine during this naturally high period of cortisol, it won’t be as effective because you’re already more alert, and it will take more caffeine to give you a jolt. It’s more effective to wait an hour and drink your coffee between 9:30am and 11:30am, when cortisol dips.

How does this advice align with your own coffee habits? Are you an extra-early riser? Do you have to have your coffee in your hand at 7am? Or do you ease into that first cup?