I had often found that the first thing that I thought of the moment I woke up groggily in the morning was, "Coffee is what I need right now." However, after I decided to find the best time to drink coffee in order to lessen crashes and addiction, I found that drinking coffee right away after waking up was probably increasing my tolerance to caffeine and was quite ineffective.

Why Morning Isn't the Best Time to Drink Coffee

The intake of caffeine in the morning interferes with our higher levels of cortisol production at the top of the morning--cortisol is a hormone that helps us feel alert and awake.

By drinking coffee in the morning when cortisol levels are high, the morning coffee drinker is increasing her tolerance to caffeine because she is replacing the cortisol-induced energy boost with it instead of adding to it.

The Best Time to Drink Coffee

Here is a neat little infographic of a timeline of the optimal "coffee break" times from a coffee blogger.


One doubt that may be raised from reading this chart is that not everyone wakes up at the same time--what about people that wake up around 5 am or earlier?

Dr. Steven Miller, the original writer of the blog post that presented this, suggested that people still wait at least an hour after waking up to have their first cup of coffee. 

See here for a simple, illustrated explanation from a blog all about coffee. The blog is from a coffee lover living in Seattle, and it contains numerous infographics, blog posts, and fun content centered around coffee. 

All in all, the term "coffee break" makes sense; it seems to make the most sense to take coffee breaks to supplement our natural energy boosts driven by our circadian rhythms. In other words, coffee will always be there for you when cortisol isn't.