Shockingly, it's not the minute you wake up.

Jaime Ritter
October 12, 2017

I don't know about you, but I'm like Pavlov's dog when it comes to my morning coffee. As soon as I wake up, I reach for my French press, Chemex, or good ol' fashioned drip brewer – depending on my mood that day. On a particularly groggy morning, you can find me with a double shot espresso in my hand. There's something about the ritual of brewing coffee, the way the freshly roasted beans smell, and the first soul-warming sip that helps me start my day off on a positive note.

The only problem? Even after my two cups in the morning, I'm still dragging when 3 p.m. rolls around. This got me thinking: What if there's a better, or at least more strategic, time to drink coffee? 

Sidney Fry, MS, RD, says, "Drinking coffee first thing in the morning is a waste of perfectly good caffeine. Why? Your body’s level of cortisol – an energizing hormone triggered by stress and low blood sugar – peaks early in the morning, and the hormone flows freely up until about 10 a.m. Caffeine inhibits cortisol production, leaving you with less energy."

Fry also said over time your body starts to rely on caffeine to wake up, which is way less effective than the "stress hormone" boost you'd get naturally. Fry says the solution is simple, "Wean yourself off the early-morning cup, and soon you’ll find that hormones get you humming instead. Cortisol levels drop as the day wears on, so your coffee will have the biggest energy impact between 10 a.m. and noon and again in the afternoon starting around 2 p.m."

So there you have it – for the most efficient caffeine buzz, don't start drinking coffee until after your morning meeting.