The following morning routine might seem familiar to you:
You wake up early, a bit groggy and wishing you could sleep a little longer. Being the good employee that you are, you force yourself out of bed and head to the kitchen. Most likely this is where you drink your first cup of coffee while having breakfast. The smell of coffee alone is enough to perk up your senses and make you feel awake, never mind actually drinking it. After filling your belly and making yourself presentable you grab your things and head to work.
Once at the office, it’s not time to work yet! First things first, another cup of coffee to get the heart pumping, the brain into high gear, and the fingers typing! Depending on how heavy a user you are you might have some more coffee pick-me-ups throughout the day.
If your day starts something like this, you’re a lot like the hundreds of millions of other coffee drinkers around the globe. Many of us can barely function without that first cup of Java in the morning. Indeed, you could say most of us are slightly reliant (or addicted?) to coffee.
But it is coffee really good for productivity in the workplace? Is it healthy? How much coffee is too much? What are the benefits and disadvantages of drinking coffee on a regular basis? We will explore all these questions in greater detail below. Let’s start with some of the truly astounding statistics of coffee usage around the world.
Coffee has truly become the worldwide symbol of energy and productivity. Our statistics will focus mostly on the U.S. since this is the country on which the most accurate and reliable figures are based. The stats can pretty much be replicated worldwide.
- Fins consume the most coffee in the world (3+ cups per day for the average consumer!). Closely followed by Swedes. America consumes the 8th most coffee of any country.
- Of everyone 18 years and above more than 50% of people drink coffee daily. Of the rest 30% drink it on occasion, leaving around 15% of the population that never, or rarely, consumes it.
- American coffee drinkers have one specialty/gourmet coffee (mocha, latte, frappuccino) a day on average.
- We like our coffee most in the morning. 65% of consumers say they drink a cup with breakfast every day.
- Women mostly drink coffee to relax, whilst men drink it mostly for productivity.
This consumption drives a global, multi billion dollar industry that is still growing with each passing year by up to 20%.
- The global coffee industry is worth $42.5 billion. The U.S. alone is $18 billion.
- Brazil is the world’s top producer and produces 33% all coffee. Vietnam and Columbia come in 2nd and 3rd.
- France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. imports the most coffee, in that order.
Coffees nutritional information varies greatly between brands, variants, type of preparation and source. The values below are therefore an estimate of the average values. You will need to check your specific product for accurate values.
Vitamin B2 riboflavin: 0.2mg
Vitamin B2 riboflavin: 0.0mg
As you can see, except for vitamin B2 (which has many health benefits and is a strong antioxidant, coffee doesn’t offer a huge percentage of your daily nutritional needs. What we are interested here is caffeine. Caffeine is behind most of the effects coffee has on our bodies. As you can see brewed coffee has considerably more of that than instant coffee. We will discuss all these in the next section.
It is often the case that what we add to our food (condiments, seasoning, additives) often determines whether it is healthy or not, coffee is no different. We know that on average most people have at least one gourmet coffee along the way. The following values show you how much the nutritional value can differ:
As you can see the values are dramatically different. A tall, regular coffee can go up to 370 mg of caffeine. It also has much higher levels of fat, sugar, and a little more protein. It’s easy to see why you should be careful with these beverages.
Coffee has a remarkable list of benefits. It might even seem like some miracle cure-all. Almost all these benefits are well ground in fact and not some say-so folk cure.
- Increase energy levels – Thank you caffeine! Coffee is a much healthier source of energy than energy drinks which contain large amounts of sugar.
- Burn fat and lose weight – Not only does coffee actually help burn fat cells, but it also reduces cravings for sugary foods by regulating blood sugar levels.
- Improve physical performance – Research says a cup of coffee can increase your performance by up to 12%, through adrenaline. This is good for a physically demanding job, or just a gym session.
- Some essential nutrients – Coffee contains some vital vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B2 riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
- Lower levels of depression and higher levels of happiness – The caffeine in coffee stimulates your central nervous system. This promotes the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, both mood enhancers. People who consume more than two cups of coffee daily, run a 50% lower risk of suicide.
- Antioxidants – Coffee is said to be the only strong antioxidant that forms part of the “western diet”.
- More focused and alert – Unless you drink too much coffee (over 6 cups a day) coffee helps your mind to focus on a task and stay wide awake. This is particular useful if you work in an office. Make sure your office workstation is set up correctly, too.
- Fight off death – All the benefits above attribute coffee with the ability to fight off death. Many studies with control groups that either drink coffee or don’t drink it at all have found the coffee drinkers to live longer lives, by quite some margin.
We already mentioned that coffee helps regulate blood sugar levels, making you crave less sugar. Well, it also helps regulate insulin by diminishing its sensitivity and lowers the build up of glucose tolerance. Decaf coffee has the same effect, only slightly lower.
According to European Journal of Neurology, there is evidence that coffee may protect against Alzheimer’s. Coffee works wonders on the brain in general and the effect extends to dementia.
Drinking coffee every day can impair the onset of Parkinson’s. This is because it activates the area of the brain that is affected by Parkinson’s.
Caffeine helps the body rid itself of free radicals. Free radicals lead to cancer over time. Daily coffee consumption reduces the risk of cancer of all types with between 20-25%. Coffee has been shown to be effective in preventing the following types of cancer:
- Prostate cancer in men
- Endometrial cancer in women
If you drink a healthy amount of coffee on a daily basis, your chance of having a stroke is reduced.
Although we don’t condone drinking (certainly not in the workplace), there is good news for those of us who enjoy an alcoholic drink every now and then.
There are many misconceptions about the consumption of coffee. One of the most dramatic is that coffee leads to heart problems. While it is true that coffee beans contains cafestol and kahweol, two substances suspected of leading to higher LDL cholesterol levels. This amount is too small to affect people with normal levels of cholesterol. For people with high cholesterol, filter coffee is still fine as the filtering process filters most of those substances.
All these benefits might make coffee seem like some kind of miracle substance. Many of us would even swear by its powers. Nothing is perfect, and coffee is no exception. There is always the risk of too much of a good thing. You should be aware of the following:
- Sleeplessness and insomnia – This depends a lot on your individual caffeine tolerance. For most of us it’s good to stay below 400 mg of caffeine (around 4 cups).
- Tone down when pregnant – Although the effect isn’t clear, fetuses are sensitive to caffeine and whatever you consume makes its way there eventually. It is recommended to stick to one cup a day when expecting.
As you can see the established benefits of coffee far outweigh the potential risks. The reason why coffee is such a boon in the office space should also be clear looking at the positive effects it has on us.
Not only does coffee have amazing everyday benefits like upping our focus, keeping us alert, improving our mood, raising our energy levels, and keep our bodies healthy, but it also fights of the risk of many chronic (and life threatening) illnesses. Not only does this keep your employees productive and happy, but it keeps them coming into the office in the first place!
A survey conducted by The Daily Buzz, a company that specializes in corporate coffee bars, found out the following from employees: