Work and Coffee


Though I get the fun opportunity to work a good number of hours daily, I rarely drink coffee (though I have picked up tea drinking somewhat). From the looks of it, I am a bit of an outlier.

A survey done by Dunkin’ Donuts looked at coffee consumption. While I take this cup with a bit of salt (and cream and sugar), the results are interesting. About half of US workers claim they are less productive without their morning cup of Joe, and this need for work-day coffee is most concentrated in the Northeast. Then again, considering there is a Dunkin’ Donuts per block in Boston, that may be an artifact.

There were also the results broken down by profession, surveying 4700 people, and it looks like scientists and lab technicians are the biggest drinkers (graphic from here).

Now, there is some irony in this because there are scientific studies looking at the effects of coffee. There may be all sorts of health benefits, but productivity isn’t one of them (the study can be found here). What’s going on? Basically it looks like that morning coffee is staving off the withdrawal by you foolishly sleeping instead of drinking delicious, delicious caffeine. Your body, in fact, after you have normalized your drinking builds a sort of immunity or expected tolerance to the effects of caffeine. By adjusting its receptors, your body can have some sort of normality, an effect that can come into play in as little as a week; but if the caffeine isn’t there, the suppressor remains and you crash. Thus you drink not to get back to work but to get to normal. So, either drink your cup a day and keep the habit or never get started.

So, I have some reason to be unlike my fellow scientists when it comes to coffee consumption, and it’s because of science! Now, to lay back with my pint of methyl alcohol and cigarettes.

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