Afternoon Coffee - Let's Talk August 27, 2019 4:35 PM   Subscribe

The six a.m. 16 ounce is required, and the booster at 10 a.m. helps, but when your eyes just will.not.stay.open. at 2:00 p.m., do you go back for another?

The engineers down the hall hoist bucci dobles all day long, the other folks usually coffee-up in the morning. If I'm dying, I'll have an afternoon cup, but it just seems to make me more sleepy.

I know we have some coffee drinkers here. What's the perfect spacing so I'm not just the dregs at 4:00 p.m.?
posted by halfbuckaroo to Uptime at 4:35 PM (70 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I get up at or 8, go to bed at 11 or 12. I rarely drink coffee after 2 pm because it affects my sleep. Maybe you could have 8 oz at noon, presuming you want to sleep by 10.

I'll add my energy is improved by limiting sugar, some protein at breakfast, and making sure I get B12 regularly. For me, that means some egg at breakfast, and some meat every couple days, at least. There are many options. A lot of people get the 4pm lull, maybe a good time to tasks that don't require energy?
posted by theora55 at 5:28 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Weekday mornings when I get off the train I get a medium cup at the local coffee shop, which serves Starbucks. I very rarely get a another cup around 3:00 but usually I make a cup of tea at work.

Weekends I make a pot of Pleasant Morning Buzz (from Whole Foods) ground from beans. I'll drink a couple cups in the morning and then usually have the remaining cup around 4:00. There is nothing I love more than having coffee on the porch in the summer.

I take it black, as god intended.

And just coffee. I've never had anything other than "coffee" at a coffee shop. No shots of anything, no macchiatos, no steamed milk, no whateverchinos, no nothing. Just coffee. I don't judge you if you do otherwise, but I just want coffee.

And hot. Always hot. I have never even had so much as a sip of iced coffee in my life. I don't care if it's 100 degrees outside, coffee should be hot.

Jesus, now that I've typed it all out I realize I'm kind of a boring, stubborn old man.

Crap, that's all I need.
posted by bondcliff at 6:46 PM on August 27 [10 favorites]


If only there was a reliable, thoughtful, preferably green-hued Q&A site where one could ask this
posted by donnagirl at 6:48 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Metatalk has an approval queue which means a moderator felt this post fits in in meta or they would have bounced it back; probably because it is sure to be much too chatty for Ask.
posted by Mitheral at 7:02 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I get up 7-8ish most days, and most often do a few cups of black tea in the morning. Or a couple cups of coffee or an Americano if we end up going out to a local cafe. I mostly don't drink coffee in the afternoon at all, though I'll have some tea sometimes if I'm feeling worn out but need to stay up. Late night coffee jitters ruin my sleep more than anything, unless I've been so physically active that my body's just gonna collapse no matter what I put into it.

If only there was a reliable, thoughtful, preferably green-hued Q&A site where one could ask this

Heh. I'm taking this in the spirit of posting for the sake of sociable chatting in which case I'm fine with it here, but, yes, it'd totally be okay to go to Ask with this sort of question if it was more of a "I need to solve this problem" and less "how y'all feeling about your p.m. coffee manuevers".
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:02 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


So, humor attempt failed. I know about the approval queue and understand why this post is here. It was just funny to me. And only me, I guess.
posted by donnagirl at 7:18 PM on August 27 [10 favorites]


I mostly drink coffee because I like it—I find it does little to prop me up when I’m tired. To the extent I can be propped up by a beverage I actually find green tea is better at keeping me alert. So I’ll drink a lot of coffee in the afternoon, and sometimes dangerously late (it doesn’t help keep me alert, but it can keep me from sleeping).

One of the few things I liked about working at a bar up until a few months ago was the caffeinated beverage anarchy. Eight million cups of drip coffee at midnight just because it’s available behind the bar? Sure, why not! No consequences. I was always going to bed late enough and tired enough that the caffeine didn’t matter.
posted by Gymnopedist at 7:39 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I'm terrible about sleep, in part because of kids (we have a 4 year old bed invader, who still joins us between midnight and 4 AM every. single. night), and because I stay up too late listening to music and futzing around online, only to get up at 5:30, so we can all be out the door before 6:30 AM. But I get by with an oversized container of coffee made at home (two "large" Keurig servings, brewed from refillable pods), finished by noon or so. It never seems as strong as coffee from local shops, because when I don't get coffee at home and get my thermos filled elsewhere, I'm PERKY! ALERT! CHIPPER!

Afternoon coffee usually is no good for me, further screwing up my sleep schedule. I brought soda to work for an afternoon pick-me-up, but that never worked as well as desired, especially compared to a mug of black tea.

Tomorrow I have a long day of driving, so I got two weird energy drinks on sale this weekend, and I figure I'll try those out, one for the AM, the 2nd for the PM. I'll report back on how they are, and if they work.

Speaking of kid-interrupted sleep, it's tons better than the baby days, when I bought boxes of 5 Hour Energy-Type Drinks at Costco, and chewed chocolate covered coffee beans to keep going, after nights of up and down.

Some day, I might get to be like my dad, who will drink coffee throughout the day, all day, and still be able to fall asleep at a moment's notice. But I'm not there yet.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:53 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


The flavors are guava mango and WORMS. That’s gonna keep me up tonight for sure.
posted by Secretariat at 8:00 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


So glad I have an Adderall RX.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:06 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


I like to have coffee in the morning, double espresso in the afternoon. It was born out of necessity when doing research at the National Archives. I kept running into an afternoon slump, but if I got a coffee, I'd have to sit and sip it, or at least wait for it to cool off a little. Espresso is a neat little shot, gone in no time. The cafe across the street from the Archives used to have a deal where you could get a discount pastry after 3 PM with a free coffee -- so I'd get a little lemon tart and a double espresso. Best afternoon snack!

I actually love coffee as a drink, and would drink it nonstop if not for the caffeine and whatnot. I have actually experimented with a cup of real coffee in the morning, and then decaf all the rest of the day. The problem there is that nowadays I have to have low acid coffee, and most of the decaf I've found tends to be more like a medium roast, which gives me heartburn. But it also doesn't really taste the same. I drink it black, so the difference tends to be pretty noticeable.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 8:12 PM on August 27


One before I leave for work around 8am and one in the flask for coffee break around noon, black. I find a third makes me noticeably irritable, and by irritable I mean prone to I-will-murder-someone rages, so I usually turn down the Tim Hortons that someone has brought in if offered. I’ll do 3 or 4 on a weekend though, without work stresses I’m much more chill.
posted by rodlymight at 8:14 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


My coffee diet is a study in contrasts of fussy and unfussiness:

I start the day off with the old and busted...the left over drip in the carafe from yesterday and poured essentially, around 7 am, directly down my neck. Meanwhile i'm making the new hotness...which is almost always from a single sourced, Ethiopian whole bean coffee that I walk 2 miles to get (since the original cafe/roaster went on "a long vacation" and closed up their primary shop for the time being). These fabulous beans are ground in a Braun grinder that i've had for decades, and couldn't replace for love or money if it ever dies. The grinds go into a 12 cup MR. COFFEE and think about themselves while the dog and I go outside and contemplate the mysteries of pooping. Seemingly eons later, (20 minutes, c'mon dog, focus) we're back inside and i and my partner take at least four cups of new hotness in each, the Mr. Coffee is turned off and the cycle starts anew.
Sometimes I feel that I can never wake up, and there is no old and busted left by 9am. But unless there are guests or some special occasion, there won't be another pot made, because unless you need me cleaning around your bathroom taps with H2O2 and q-tips at 11pm, I will not be having coffee, or any major caffeine source, after noon. 2pm if I have to perform, and 4pm only if flying internationally. In those exceptional instances I walk into the nearest coffee shop, ask for four shots of espresso poured over minimal ice, then fill it to the brim with whole milk and down it in five minutes. I call this drink the heart attack in a glass/pace maker. Has yet to catch on in starbuck's parlance, yet here we are.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:37 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


morning coffee - one. Usually around 8am.

afternoon coffee - one ... after a short nap. Never later than 4:30 pm.

Everyone else is wrong.
posted by philip-random at 9:10 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Tea I have learned by bitter experience is all I can drink afternoons on. I stupidly drank a mocha in the late afternoon after a horrible hospital day with one kid and a migraine, and then woke repeatedly throughout the night and finally at 2am went 'oh that's why I can't get to sleep'.

I have a Nespresso which amuses me because my ex was/is a coffee snob and did all the coffee making rituals but couldn't tell the difference in cold brew varieties in blind taste tests. I let him keep the equipment in the divorce.

I'm happy to drink just about anything as long as it has caffeine in it, although a perfectly done flat white or a ristretto are sublime.

And a kopi ginger (kopi halia) when you feel under the weather which is local thick ground coffee roasted dark, brewed and then poured through a cotton 'sock' to make it frothy and then stirred in with ginger (it's either powder, weird ginger water or fresh pounded ginger), is the perfect spicy heat to clear a sore throat and make your face all tingly warm and better.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:07 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I daren't indulge again after 12 noon because I won't fall asleep till midnight. Then again my first brain boost is quadruple strength, and if I don't have one, my head explodes. On a road-trip with my less-addicted brother, I discovered chocolate coated coffee beans from Byron Bay, which will do in a fix.
posted by b33j at 12:29 AM on August 28


I actually switched to decaf for my morning coffee a year or so ago for this reason. Now when I get sleepy later in the day, a caffeinated coffee really works to wake me up. I try not to do it every day, and that makes it even more effective. I used to be one of those people who could drink six cups of coffee and still go right to sleep, but no longer!
posted by lollusc at 12:33 AM on August 28


I'm not sure I understand the concept of "spacing" coffee consumption, the idea of it feels vaguely heretical to me. But I guess I can sorta work my head around it since I did switch to starting my "day", which is really 10pm, drinking decaf which I continue with all night save for one cup of regular coffee right before I leave work. I then switch to drinking a large glass of iced coffee which I'll nurse until about an hour before I go back to bed and start the whole routine over again. On weekends it's all iced coffee though, which can sometimes make for a Monday headache as I go back to decafing.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:59 AM on August 28


*vibrates loudly*
posted by loquacious at 4:14 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Confessing this will probably result in me being banned for life, but I have to get it off my chest: over the past few months I've turned away from my bean grinders and my Chemex to make instant coffee in the morning. It's just so...easy. How did no one ever tell me about this before? You literally put a cup of water in the microwave, and a couple of minutes later, you have coffee. No loud grinder racket waking everyone up, no carpal tunnel from using your manual grinder, no carefully measuring out scoopfuls into the paper filter that you've folded just so to make sure it doesn't cause a vacuum within the pot. Just...press a button and a few minutes later, enjoy. It's amazing. Everyone else hates it, and so I do go through the rigamarole with the Chemex for them much later in the morning...but not before I've enjoyed a couple of cups of pure scientific convenience.
posted by mittens at 4:15 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


My super power is that I generally prefer instant to 'proper' coffee. I say super power, because as far as I can see, it's brilliant - I can make a cup in a few moments, I really enjoy it, and I don't get the shakes & anxiety after a single cup. Lovely. I can see the appeal of the process - and do indeed own a lovely grinder and some fancy beans - but generally instant hits the spot for me so much better.

But telling that to people who love 'proper' coffee results a look of the purest pity you ever did see. We're so culturally conditioned these days to think of enjoying fancy coffee as a sign of superiority and refinement - the same way some people see knowing your way round expensive wines - so it's as if they've just discovered I'm 99 per cent neanderthal, or just revealed I have a very loving relationship with my first cousin. But I guess it's also disappointment when they realise their gizmos and beans and preparation techniques are going to fail to impress or excite me.

Anyway. I drink 2 cups in the morning and that's me for the day - anything after lunchtime and I'm awake at night.

I do at least prefer decent quality instant, mostly Azeera, though I'd love to find something that tastes like that and isn't Nestle - anyone?

(On preview: mittens, I think we have a club!)
posted by penguin pie at 4:26 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


I started drinking Nescafe instant when traveling around Europe because in some countries the brewed coffee is very expensive compared to instant, and both are on the menu. Having legendary drug resistances as I do, I can and do drink a lot of coffee: both hot and iced, depending on circumstances. Now I drink Nescafe instant almost exclusively at home because it's not half bad really and also, the smell and the taste of that particular brand reminds me of my travels, and I can get that hit of nostalgia anywhere in the world pretty much, since Nescafe Instant coffee can be easily obtained nearly anywhere in the world. It's the Heineken of coffee. Plus a jar of it costs about as much as a "Tall" starbucks latte in most countries.
posted by some loser at 4:42 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


I recently switched from Maxwell House pre-ground coffee back to fair trade organic coffee beans, from S. America. The difference is astounding. My stomach is less irritated, the caffeine jitters have gone away, and my morning coffee experience is now something to look forward to, instead of something I drink out of habit.

I stop after breakfast, and drink ice water the rest of the day. When the weather turns cooler, I'll sometimes have a cup of decaf Earl Grey tea in the afternoon. It does contain a tiny amount of caffeine, but not enough to keep me from falling asleep at night. There's also something relaxing about having a cup of sweet, hot, milky tea in the afternoon. Not too sweet, but just enough, maybe 1 teaspoon.

Agree about the high protein breakfast. If I eat a heavy lunch, even if it's healthy, I'm doomed to be falling asleep at the keyboard by 2:00 p.m. So I'll eat a lighter lunch, then have my tea a little while later.

If I'm out shopping and doing errands, sometimes I'll get an iced mocha drink from a gas station, and take a few swigs of that. Not the whole thing, as that would be too much sugar and too much caffeine for me to drink in an afternoon. Then I stick the bottle in the fridge and save for a rainy day, or let my husband finish it off. I only do this about once or twice a month, tho'.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:58 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


So when I moved to Canada I found that almost everyone here had an electric kettle. I had no idea how useful it would be for both kitchen and cleaning applications (do the vinegar and baking soda volcano in your bathtub drain and follow with a kettleful of boiling water!).

BUT

It is super genius for things like pour-over coffee, French press, instant.

(I have one big coffee, just one big one, most mornings, and a boost around 3pm if I will have a late night. ICED IS DELICIOUS you can take my iced out of my very very cold dead hands.)
posted by wellred at 5:04 AM on August 28


I try to avoid coffee after 2 or 3 p.m. The only exception to this is weekends. When it's my weekend, I can drink coffee and fuck up my sleep however I see fit. During my work/weekdays I power through about 3-4 cups of coffee.
I take it black, as god intended.
🙌🏾
posted by Fizz at 5:05 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


So when I moved to Canada I found that almost everyone here had an electric kettle. I had no idea how useful it would be for both kitchen and cleaning applications (do the vinegar and baking soda volcano in your bathtub drain and follow with a kettleful of boiling water!) .... It is super genius for things like pour-over coffee, French press, instant.

I will never not be amazed by a. the fact Americans don't have electric kettles and b. the air of awed wonder with which you guys discuss them, as if they're the most unbelievable contraption ever dreamed up :) It's kind of charming, like you're time travellers from an era before electricity or something. Like Edwardians marvelling at the wonderful new horseless carriages.

On a more practical note - it had never occurred to me to wonder - how do you boil water for hot drinks, then? Surely not on the hob every single time?
posted by penguin pie at 5:13 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Ah penguin pie, the colonies have microwaves, which I have since been told is not OK for heating water for tea, or if they are sufficiently bougie, magical hot water taps built into the kitchen sink (separate from the regular tap with its own special spigot).

Imagine my shock when my new husband had not only an electric kettle, but milk in a bag!
posted by wellred at 5:18 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


I should mention that I have switched to tea in the evening for when I crave something warm that has a coffee-esque impact.
posted by Fizz at 5:23 AM on August 28


Thanks wellred - I just love that each country, each individual, has its/their own hot beverage-related customs, which seem 100% normal to each of us and somewhat strange to everyone else. Microwave?! For tea?! The horror!! ;).

Would be interesting to know why the kettle division exists/where the boundaries lie, though - you mention the 'colonies', but sounds like Canada has electric kettles? Is it just that the power supply in the US doesn't have enough welly for kettles?
posted by penguin pie at 5:29 AM on August 28


Oh but then if your electricity can cope with magic boiling water taps, it would surely also manage a kettle?
posted by penguin pie at 5:30 AM on August 28


So when I moved to Canada I found that almost everyone here had an electric kettle. I had no idea how useful it would be for both kitchen and cleaning applications (do the vinegar and baking soda volcano in your bathtub drain and follow with a kettleful of boiling water!)

Ugh. For the last ten years or so of living in this apartment, I have dealt with a bathtub drain that clogs up on the regular, and my fix for this has always involved making multiple trips through the apartment carefully carrying vats of boiling water from the microwave to dump down the drain. Never in a million years occurred to me to get an electric kettle I could heat up on the bathroom counter, and avoid potentially boiling my feet or the cat in the process. Doh!

Weird thing about that is, it's not like I don't know about them. My grandmother had one when I lived with her growing up and used it daily for tea. Not to mention, I am on the altar guild at my church and we have an electric kettle in the sacristy which we use to dump a pot of hot water down the piscina so it doesn't freeze in winter or clog up from bread crumbs.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:37 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


It's nothing to do with the power supply I'm sure. And I never think of Canada as the colonies, which is funny, I have only ever used that term to refer to the US, sorry if that was confusing. We definitely have electric kettles here.
posted by wellred at 5:38 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


I drink a lot of caffeine. Always have. It's bad enough that I make plans around caffeine availability (like, I won't go camping without a flask of cold brew or some coffee making apparatus). I started drinking coffee when I was around 11 or 12.

I was a teaching assistant in the machine shop at college, and due to my schedule I was always put on the Wednesday morning class. It met at (gasp!) 7:30, and I would always stop at the coffee bar on the way to the basement, grab the largest cup of coffee they offered, and drink that while I made sure a bunch of groggy freshmen didn't cut their fingers off.

When I worked at the airport, we had a little breakfast bar that served coffee and some short order foods. I had access to the (restaurant style) coffee maker so I'd make coffee for the flight instructors and line crew when I arrived in the morning. More often than not, I would drink the whole pot myself.

My first workplace post-college had an automatic hot drinks maker (years before Keurig existed). This machine used Mylar pouches filled with coffee, tea, or cocoa powder to pump out something vaguely drinkable in a few seconds. Since a) it was free and b) I was frequently bored there, I spent a lot of my time going between my cubicle and the coffee maker.

I nearly quit my last job over coffee. You see, after a couple years of buying coffee at the canteen I learned The Ways of The Kettle and brought in a French Press, tea set, and water boiler to the office. At some point, I was moved to work onsite with the customer, and I brought my paraphernalia with me. The customer location was vile for many reasons, and at this point I was making a full French Press in the morning and one or two pots of tea in the afternoon. It was the only thing allowing me to survive in that place. I enjoyed my hot beverages for several years, and then one day I was told I couldn't have the kettle anymore because it was "a fire hazard." I applied for several jobs that afternoon. I ended up buying a big Thermos like you might see a construction worker carry to a job site and brought that to work every day.

At my current position, I make coffee at home. I split a French Press with my wife in the morning, or in the summer we make cold brew (coffee comes with me in a travel mug). I still have my kettle at work, but I use it exclusively for afternoon tea now. We have a nice coffee bar downstairs that serves snob-level drinks, and if I don't feel like bringing my travel mug to work I'll grab something from them in the morning.

My challenge now is that there are days when I need to get up early and get out of the house quickly, and that doesn't always work well with the need to get caffeine in my body. I need a good solution for those mornings.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:56 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


A year-long struggle with insomnia about ten years ago lead me to go easy on my caffeine intake after noon. The only caffeinated beverages I have then are either tea or Coca-Cola; not coffee.

I used to drink more coffee when I was working in theater and had the rehearsals after work and needed to wake up, and when I was temping because most of the time I was bored and needed to stretch my legs. Now, though, I just have the cup at home before going to work and maybe a second cup when I get to work.

Although actually, the home cup is usually cafe au lait, largely because it uses more coffee grounds per cup and I'm trying to stay on top of my CSA coffee distribution (I signed up for it when my old roommate was still living there, and he drinks a lot, but then in July he up and moved to Los Angeles and now I'm stuck getting a pound every other week and my intake can't keep up).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:20 AM on August 28


I love coffee, usually drink a couple of cups in the morning and would love to have another as an afternoon pick-me-up but my cutoff point is noon on weekdays or I risk not being able to sleep. Sometimes on Friday afternoon I will treat myself to a nice cup around 3 pm because I can sleep/wake as I please on the weekend. I mean, I am always up before 6 on Saturday anyway to go to my early WW meeting, but if I didn't sleep enough Saturday is great for napping.

We have two automatic drip coffee makers side-by-side on our stupidly small countertop, because my husband was advised to give up caffeine when he developed heart palpitations. At first I was making a pot of high-test for me and a pot of decaf for him daily, but now that I'm trying to cut down on caffeine as well, it's become a pot of half-caf. I am a lazy turd that hates to make coffee so after I make the two full pots, the leftovers sit there on the counter and we reheat them each day until the pots are empty. We usually get three days out of a pot. We've never had any issues with mold or anything and I'm willing to trade daily fresh-brewed flavor for the convenience. My husband uses so much milk and sweetener he has no idea what coffee tastes like anyway.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:27 AM on August 28


I'm a weird coffee drinker, pretty much every variation (except pumpkin spice, basically nutmeg, ugh, yuck) a bit of cream and sugar one day, espresso the next, mocha, gone off for months or years, iced!!, coffee flavored milk, percolator, boiled, anytime of day or night. But it does nothing for the afternoon slump. One word:

 
PowerNap!

 
posted by sammyo at 6:48 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


My husband uses so much milk and sweetener he has no idea what coffee tastes like anyway.

I think I'm the same way.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:23 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


> I will never not be amazed by a. the fact Americans don't have electric kettles and b. the air of awed wonder with which you guys discuss them, as if they're the most unbelievable contraption ever dreamed up :) It's kind of charming, like you're time travellers from an era before electricity or something. Like Edwardians marvelling at the wonderful new horseless carriages.

Plenty of Americans have electric kettles! Especially if you grew up with immigrant parents from a much older tea culture that predates British tea culture by centuries ;) or just care about coffee a little more than the average person.

What I find somewhat fascinating in terms of hot water tech nowadays are the sinks that have a separate boiling hot water faucet (instead of a not-boiling hot water tap that takes a while to heat up and goes through the main faucet). Sometimes at work, I use that separate faucet to get the water for my coffee or tea. Lately, I've also discovered our kitchen's coffee contraption can also dispense hot water, so that's been terrific when there's a line at the sink.

Since becoming A Coffee Person, I've never worked anywhere that hasn't had those hot water amenities. backseatpilot's comment makes me wonder what I'd do if suddenly we couldn't have access to hot water, a kettle or other boiling device, or readily available premade coffee anymore. I'd probably resignedly bring a hydroflask of boiling water from home each morning so I could make a couple pourovers each day, I guess.

> My challenge now is that there are days when I need to get up early and get out of the house quickly, and that doesn't always work well with the need to get caffeine in my body. I need a good solution for those mornings.

Instant coffee or bottles/cans of pre-made coffee? Not sure how long they'd keep (you'd have to keep drinking that emergency supply and replenishing) - maybe not really a good solution if you're not able to predict when you'll have to get out of the house quickly.

As for what I do - this isn't a "good" solution, but I typically don't have time to make coffee in the morning before heading out to work (unless it's a work at home day), so I've trained myself to get used to not having coffee for a couple/few hours after I wake up. Even if I'm working at home or don't have anywhere I need to go first thing in the morning, I'll wait at least an hour before having coffee.
posted by rather be jorting at 8:38 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Coffee is A Thing for me. I have a routine.

- coffee when I wake up during my "45 min offline" in the morning. At home I have an aeropress,. I had an electric kettle but my stovetop one is simpler. At my dad's place for the summer I have a Keurig with one of those reuseable pod things which I fill with some sort of dark-as-possible beans (lately I've got some chicory stuff too and I loooove it). Half and half, no sweetener.
- coffee during the 4:30-5:30 window, usually with a small snack that will keep me non-ravenous until dinner. Usually outside with a book unless it's way too hot or I'm in the middle of a project.

If I have people over, sometimes we'll go out for coffee. There's a new place around here that I really like, which is good because the old place closed and I was inconsolable for a time. I've talked here before about the difficulty I have getting what I want at a coffee place (basically a dry cappucino, but I get random things so I usually order a double-espresso and add half and half). I hate paying extra for iced coffee (more money for less coffee? BAH) but I'll pay extra for a coconut-tumeric latte sometimes. I'm either not at all picky about my coffee ("Oh coffee, for me? Thank you!") or I want it ONE WAY AND ONE WAY ONLY. There's not really an in-between.

No coffee after 6 usually but sometimes if I have people over and there's some sort of dessert thing, I'll have decaf with it.

Just recently I've started getting rid of coffee makers that I don't really use. I got rid of my chemex. I got rid of the travel espresso maker (so cute but I don't really need it). I keep a drip machine around on the rare cases I airbnb my place. I can't get rid of the aluminum stovetop percolator because it was my dad's. I keep a spare espresso carafe around because if it breaks and you need espresso, well.....
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:40 AM on August 28


On a more practical note - it had never occurred to me to wonder - how do you boil water for hot drinks, then? Surely not on the hob every single time?

Yep.

Or, rather: some people have electric drip coffee makers for coffee, and only use the kettle on the stove for tea. Still other people have Keurig single-use contraptions and use those for everything.

But yeah, most of us have a kettle on the stove. I use mine for everything (I have a French press for coffee, I use that for tea, it's reserve water for if I'm making beans and I realize that I didn't put enough water in the pot....)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:53 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


I DRINK DECAF *cue maniacal laughter*
posted by supermedusa at 10:00 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


1. Put water on gas stove for tea.
2. Forget
3. Thoughtbubble: Tea would be ni ... run to kitchen.
4. Kettle is dry.
I got a small electric kettle. Now, I make tea, leave it steeping, forget ...
posted by theora55 at 10:52 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


and I have to use a timer,or the clothes stay in the washer until icky, repeat.
posted by theora55 at 10:52 AM on August 28


Normally I have a mug of coffee or black tea (depending on the mood of my taste buds) around 9 or 10 in the morning, and (depending on the mood of my metabolism) sometimes another in the afternoon. Coffee is cold-brewed, which takes maybe 10 minutes of hands-on prep once a week to end up with a quart of concentrate in the fridge. When I want a cup I pour a full 1/4 C to scant 1/3 C of concentrate in a mug, heat water (in an electric kettle, had it for 6 or 7 years, LOVE it), top off the mug, and presto, fresh wonderful coffee in about a minute. I've only recently come to appreciate tea; most of my life it's tasted like astringent industrial runoff to me. But Scottish Breakfast has a nice robust flavor, and a tiny pinch of salt plus a lemon wedge and 1/4 tsp of sugar takes the astringent edge away.

Appropriately enough for this post, yesterday was a departure from my typical 2-mug caffeine routine: Work was insanely busy and by 2pm-ish I had no energy left to face the rest of the day. So I made a mug of tea using two teabags...then got a call from a customer and inadvertently left it steeping for about half an hour! Fortunately, it was still palatable with double helpings of sugar and lemon. Usually all I want to do after work is sit down with a beer and try to decompress for a while before I can do much else. Not yesterday! I jumped right into making dinner and cleaning up the kitchen, then after dinner I made a batch of brownies. I'm sure everyone will be relieved to hear I was still able to get a lovely night's sleep. I'll definitely be keeping that double-tea method in reserve for occasional exigencies.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:02 AM on August 28


Seconding the power nap or NASA nap for afternoon slumps - you drink the smallest amount of caffeine that affects you and nap for the 10-15 minutes until the caffeine actually gets to your brain. Usually this is just enough to be restful but not enough to make me groggy.
posted by clew at 11:07 AM on August 28


the smallest amount of caffeine that affects you

last time i ordered this they told me i had to leave some for the rest of the customers
posted by backseatpilot at 11:49 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


I began a 3pm coffee routine sometime last year and while I might skip it if for whatever reason it doesn't appeal, I really like it. It feels like the difference between "tonight I'll get to the gym and run an errand and do some chores after work" and "will collapse in a pile of tacos at 7pm."

That said, I don't go to bed until midnight or 1 am most nights (and I don't get up til 8) so ...ymmv.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:57 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


There's a tiny but always-packed Dunkin' in the terminal of my train station, so I mobile-order ahead at the exact right moment and then swoop in and pick up my coffee and walk to work, around 8:30 am. If I have any caffeine after that first one, I probably won't sleep until after midnight.

Sometimes I'll drink a Diet Coke with dinner and around 1 am will wonder why on earth I can't fall asleep and then go 'ohhhhhh, right.'
posted by rachaelfaith at 12:43 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


9 am: 1st cup of coffee
9:30 am: 2nd cup of coffee
3 pm: black tea
5 pm: black tea
posted by sugarbomb at 1:45 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


My caffeine consumption waves and wanes. I’ve been struggling with insomnia since May so we’ve generally been doing half caf only, and I won’t have coffee after finishing my second morning cup. Granted this blessed thermal mug keeps it so warm it’s sometimes 2 pm when I finish my second morning cup...
posted by eirias at 1:51 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


After the rare but severely bad spell of 1am insomnia feeling like my heart was about to escape my body permanently, I no longer drink coffee past 2-3pm. Instead, I switch to tea (black or green, but usually earl grey), then gradually dial it down to herbal tea (if any) after dinner.

Eating too much at lunch (or more sugary/gluten-y food than usual) tends to be the culprit for my cases of the afternoon slump. Sometimes it's inevitable, though, especially at office lunches where I feel like I must take advantage of the opportunity to eat on someone else's dime. Tea tends to help me out more than just water in those cases, I've noticed.
posted by rather be jorting at 1:57 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


I have a strict policy: no caffeine after midnight. Also, don't get wet.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:36 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Interesting. I used to drink a large black coffee every morning. I was the first one into my office at around 6:45am. I was banned from making the coffee because I used to use two pouches instead of the one in the machine. Why waste time drinking two cups when you can get the jump with one?

I then took 18 months off from any caffeine. I actually made a large bet with a friend that I could/could not go 1 year without caffeine. A large enough bet ($1,000) where I had enough incentive to quit. I was more alert then than with the coffee. I worked out more then too. I then, after winning the bet and an additional 6 months, slipped and started drinking Diet Cokes. Lots and lots of Diet Cokes. Figure about 6-8 cans a day. Sometimes more.

Now I drink silver Diet Coke in plastic bottles, (caps!) until around 2pm. I start at about 8:30am. Any DC after 2pm is the gold caffeine free kind. When it goes on sale at the grocery store, I am buying 12-16 six packs at a time. I am currently soliciting my friend for another bet. He is not biting, but I need to quit or at least cut back.

My dad would drink 8 cups of coffee a day and smoke 2 packs of cigarettes and complain that he could not sleep at night. He said he was a fast sleeper.
posted by AugustWest at 7:13 PM on August 28


Confessing this will probably result in me being banned for life, but I have to get it off my chest: over the past few months I've turned away from my bean grinders and my Chemex to make instant coffee in the morning.


Relatively skilled barista and barista trainer here to mercilessly judge you:

It's ok, you can drink instant coffee. It's actually affordable and probably one of the most low-impact ways to enjoy coffee because they make it in huge batches, it's the easiest to ship and store, and even requires less water to prepare and consume.

I also drink instant coffee. As someone who hates washing dishes or having to deal with coffee grinds I like it just fine. My main complaint is it just doesn't get you as jacked up as a nice light roast pourover or something caffiene-focused and heavy like that, which I also like a lot.

Heck on a good or bad day I sometimes have to make instant coffee before I make real coffee.

I have a seasoning/spice shaker I have repurposed into portable instant coffee dispenser. It's very handy and definitely contains just about enough coffee for an entire day and then some. It goes into my snack bag I carry around. It saves lots of money and paper cups or whatnot with actually having to buy coffee, and if I do go out to buy coffee it's as a special treat instead of just the needful "gimme a large drip no room".

My favorite instant is Nescafe Clasico, but because Nestle is the devil I try to buy the store brand of that. For Safeway that's Cafe Cesaro and it's way cheaper and probably made in the same plant. Which, yeah, makes my boycott effectively symbolic but hey.

I also really like the Starbuck's VIA packets but they're stupid expensive, and it's pretty much the only Starbuck's product I like and will endorse and I wish they didn't have a patent or trade secret lock on it or whatever, because it's brilliant for instant coffee.

I wish they made that stuff in larger jars - but they don't because there's microground coffee mixed in with it to give it body and it would settle out of the freeze dried coffee crystals and also probably oxidize just like ground coffee, and the ratios of the microground parts would go off if they did.

It's just so...easy. How did no one ever tell me about this before? You literally put a cup of water in the microwave, and a couple of minutes later, you have coffee.

Wait what? Hot water!?! You can do that!?

No really I kind of just put too much instant coffee in plain old water and drink it like that. I think I drink 99.9% of my instant coffee as cheap cold brew.

If I make hot instant coffee it's probably cold enough to snow. I mean I don't hate hot drinks and I do enjoy them, but I just really don't care.
posted by loquacious at 7:40 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


I used to gross out my coworkers by drinking plain Sanka instead of water throughout the evening shift.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:19 PM on August 28


I broke my caffeine tolerance as a teenager and 20 years later, it has never really recovered, so I go low and slow with caffeine now.

Mostly that is a) one cup of gold roast instant coffee (black, no sugar) when I get into work and then one cup of some form of black tea (depends what comes out of the tea box in my desk drawer first although I am at the moment regularly using loose tea in my T2 infuser which was a Secret Quonsar gift a couple years ago) around noon. After that it is herbal teas if I want anything else, less I spend the rest of the evening jittering.

Some times I get a black americano from the coffeeshop at work instead of the instant but I definitely notice the hit from that so it's a treat or for when I really need that jolt.

At home, it tends to be a couple mugs of earl grey over the day but if I have beans, I'll make pour over coffee in the morning and have less tea in the rest of the day.
posted by halcyonday at 1:26 AM on August 29


caffeine is no longer doing it for me ive taken to pleading witht he three fates witches baristas at the kiosk to start adding meth
posted by um at 4:15 AM on August 29


loquacious that was inspiring. I visit a friend regularly who does not drink coffee so I bring/stash VIA packets. I do use hot water, though.
posted by wellred at 5:39 AM on August 29


If I'm up early enough on weekday mornings, I'll make myself an Aeropress cup. Usually, the first cup of the day ends up being from either the Peet's in my office building, or the frequently unreliable Seattle's Best free coffee contraption in the galley nearest my desk.

Black. I dabbled with bourbon-barrel-aged maple syrup for a bit, but rarely do that anymore.
posted by emelenjr at 7:29 AM on August 29


Secretariat: The flavors are guava mango and WORMS. That’s gonna keep me up tonight for sure.

They also kept me up a bit later than I should have been awake.

But it wasn't the worms, as far as I can tell. It was drinking two big energy drinks, particularly that second in the afternoon, when I wasn't feeling particularly tired, but was more thirsty than anything else.

If you're looking for a new energy drink, you can pass on those. Guava mango pretty much tasted like other guarana-based energy drinks, and the sour gummy worm had a bit of extra tartness and sweetness on top of the prominent energy drink flavor. But I didn't fall asleep while driving, and I didn't have an energy crash, so it worked as advertised in that aspect.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:35 AM on August 29


I've dramatically cut my coffee consumption in the past few weeks. I would use the office espresso machine and milk brought in to make lattes all day long. Like maybe 5 -6 cups a day? Then I'd down an energy drink prior to a fast evening bike ride. Needless to say this isn't really a great way to live and it will catch up with me even if appear to be in fantastic health. Now I'm down to maybe 2 cups of coffee a day if I even drink it that day. Trying for more green tea, about 3 cups. Still have the nasty energy drink habit before bike rides though.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:53 AM on August 29


As some major work travel has been violently jerked back and forth across my calendar recently, it reminded me of just how bad my coffee consumption can get when I'm out at a site.

For a lot of my career, I was going to environmental testing facilities across the country. These labs aren't in the most exciting places to visit. It's usually too hot to be outside and the air conditioning is too cold inside. Once you get your hardware installed in the test chamber, there's not much to do except stand around and wait. And drink coffee, of course. I would spend a lot of time wandering around with a styrofoam cup of nasty tepid coffee which usually kept me from eating too much (coffee's free but the snack machine isn't) and occasionally racing to the men's to deal with the aftereffects of drinking too much cheap acidic coffee.

The times I got to actually go work on the plane, they would usually supply the galley with coffee (even if we weren't flying). This came in the form of a large cubic insulated liquid dispenser full of hot (warm, really) water and a take-out container full of instant coffee powder and some plastic spoons to mix it in. This stuff was even worse than the shitty office coffee, but if you're stuck in a metal tube out on the tarmac all day then you drink the shitty instant coffee. At least it was nice to have something warm to drink, since I always seemed to be out there when it was cold and raining.

Nowadays my field trips are at sea, and the ship provides 24/7 coffee in the mess and other coffee makers strategically placed around the working deck. They also have the biggest paper coffee cups I've ever seen, so once again I find myself guzzling swill for hours at a time waiting for the machine to go "ping." The last time I was out, I was pulling 20 hour shifts and having nonstop coffee was a huge help.

Work trips are the rare times when I'll add cream to hot coffee. The naked drink is usually so foul and I drink so much of it that I need that little bit of fat to cut the burning acidity; it sucks drinking your eighth or ninth cup at one in the morning after starting your day at 5:30 the previous a.m. and have your stomach doing backflips.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:51 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


200mg caffeine, 15mg ephedrine, at 7:30 AM and 12:30 PM on weekdays. On weekends? Just whatever keeps caffeine headaches away. But...cycle off the ephedrine every month or two, and drop to maybe 60mg caffeine at 7:30 and 12:30. The will is strong but the human body is vulnerable to adrenal fatigue. This has worked for 15 or so office years now.
posted by Phyltre at 1:38 PM on August 29


I'm a doc student and a full time employee and have a lot of shit going on outside of work. My coffee consumption (and caffeine consumption in general) is ridiculous. We drink Death Wish in the morning (travel mug each for me and my wife in the mornings, and I'll usually make a cup for me for before we leave the house - we have the Ninja coffee bar thing that lets me make a half carafe and then top it up with a small mug, and it's perfect). I have a french press and more Death Wish in my office, and top up throughout the day with that or tea or Diet Coke or Monster on really bad days. There's no schedule, just "I'm approaching zombie."

One of our best friends is a hard sciences doc student with a hot of life shit going on, who also mainlines coffee, so my daily consumption is sometimes punctuated by trips to campus adjacent coffee shops and commiseration. He drinks his with honey and half and half, which I'd never thought to try in coffee and I think I just might this morning; the French press awaits.
posted by joycehealy at 6:24 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


Everyone else is wrong.

No caffeine all day. Wake up at 7:30am groggy but a shower fixes that. Get tired around 10:30PM
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 2:20 PM on August 30


I drink a fair amount of coffee (usually black, strong, hot—sometimes iced lattes), but there's no real pattern re consumption. Some days I fix several cups, some days I have none. Time of day never factors into the decision because I rarely get a noticeable buzz from caffeine.

I've also taken 3-4 Adderall/day for 15+ years. It keeps me feeling clear-headed and "normal" (i.e., definitely not buzzed).

For the record, if the reports re the relationship between good sleep habits and a long, healthy life are true, I'm living on borrowed time. I have no bedtime routine, I'm usually awake at least an hour in the middle of the night, almost always up and about by 6 am. I might go a couple of days on relatively little sleep, then fall asleep for 7-8 uninterrupted hours. Fyi, this is not Adderall-related. I've always had sleep issues (though I was forced into a relatively traditional schedule when my kids were young)—perhaps hereditary, my brother's the same way.
posted by she's not there at 7:03 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


> I have to get it off my chest: over the past few months I've turned away from my bean grinders and my Chemex to make instant coffee in the morning

Hello, my friend.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:32 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


Once a week I grind 150g of beans and put them in a 2L jar and fill it with just off the boil water, and let it sit overnight. The next day I strain the liquid and put it in a 2L bottle in the fridge.

When I want coffee I take 2oz of this elixir and to it add 6oz of boiling water (or 4oz+12oz for a big go cup), et voila, nearly instant, astonishingly smooth, delicious, flavourful and non-bitter coffee.

I used to do Aeropress each time I wanted a cup, but this produces coffee that is just as good (in a slightly different way) for very little incremental effort.

Typical consumption is a 500ml insulated cup filled between 9-10am and slowly sipped through the rest of the morning.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:52 PM on August 31


I marvel at all of you who are sufficiently not-morning-people to want coffee first thing, and yet still able to drag yourselves out of bed in time to make some before rushing out the door. I consider my morning to be going well if I have enough time to be able to walk the full half-mile to the station instead of having to run.

Anyway. I drink coffee black, mostly - Aeropress at the weekend, Americano from the machine at work during the week. On work days, I try to stick to one cup a day, when I get into the office - about 10am, after getting up at 7:30 or so. (Long commute.) Sometimes I supplement it with another one after lunch. Occasionally I have a day when I'm so bone-weary that I need another cup to get me through the last hour or two of work (and safely home again). On such days, I'm so exhausted that sleep comes easily despite the extra caffeination. My sleep tracker therefore marks "drank coffee after 5pm" as a lifestyle choice having a positive effect on my quality of sleep. This amuses me.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:25 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Coffee slightly perks me up for about an hour, but I will absolutely fall asleep 2 to 3 hours post cup, even if it was a small drip coffee, or the kind with butter and MCT.

Every time.

I used to be able to drink several cups a day (or night) with no ill effects. But I switched to black tea when I noticed I was getting headaches in the morning if I didn't have coffee. I kicked the addiction but now I really cant drink it at all unless I have time for a nap soon after.

Bleh.
posted by ananci at 10:38 AM on September 11


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