Coffee keeps us moving through the routines of the day

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

From Antigua to Zimbabwe, the world of high-end coffee drinking has opened a whole new vocabulary to the American public. Whether you prefer your morning joe be prepared using the French press or the open pot method, whether your favorite roast is French, Italian, Viennese, or American, there is so much more to having a cup of coffee in the morning than there used to be.

What hasn't changed through popular culture is the need for a cup of coffee to get the day rolling. A recent survey commissioned by Dunkin' Donuts, the Canton-based coffee-and-baked-goods chain, and CareerBuilder, a job-search website, determined the coffee drinking habits of a variety of professions. The survey was conducted Aug. 13 to Sept. 6 and it included more than 4,100 workers nationwide.

According to the survey, the top ten professions for coffee drinking were:

1 -- Food preparation/service workers

2 -- Scientists

3 -- Sales representatives

4 -- Marketing/Public relations professionals

5 -- Nurses (Nurse, Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant)

6 -- Editors/Writers/Media workers

7 -- Business executives

8 -- Teachers/Instructors (K-12)

9 -- Engineering Technicians/support

10 -- IT managers/network administrators

The survey also found that 43 percent of those who drink coffee claim they are less productive without it, and 28 percent said they drink three cups of coffee or more per workday.

What we see in common with most of these professions is that the high-pressure bulk of their day begins early in the morning. And most are professions in which "routine" is really not in the job description, as each day requires multi-tasking with a variety of items to check off the daily "to-do" list.

At least we know that is the reality in our newsroom (where we placed number six on the list.) Got the city council story done? Check. Time for a quick cup of coffee. Page two is all put together? Check. Maybe a coffee break before we finish up page one. With each "I'm back," which means "my current assignment is done and I need a quick distraction before I tackle the next one," a visit to the break room usually requires another cup of coffee.

The physical health risks and benefits of drinking coffee have been all over the map. Positives include lessening the risk of Parkinson's disease and Type 2 diabetes and preventing gallstones. The downside is that people who drink coffee regularly often also consume calorie-rich extras like cream, sugar, and flavored syrup (not to mention the cookies and doughnuts that are also regularly present on the break table).

The stimulating effect that caffeine produces is usually the desired outcome of drinking it. A 16 ounce cup of coffee, a Starbuck Grande, has 330 mg of caffeine, compared to 143 mg in 16 ounces of Red Bull, the popular energy drink whose advertising slogan is "Red Bull gives you wings."

Too much caffeine can make you restless, anxious, and irritable. It may also keep you from sleeping well and cause headaches or abnormal heart rhythms. If you stop using caffeine, you could get withdrawal symptoms.

On the other hand, denying yourself that cup of coffee can make you restless, anxious, and irritable as well. And functioning in the hustle and bustle of the workday does not quite seem possible without coffee.

In fact, we really like the recent post we saw that says "the problem with coffee is trying to make it when you haven't had any yet."

Editorial written? Check. See you in the break room.

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  • Great article

    But we need to be more aware that caffeine causes/exacerbates anxiety and other mental health condition.

    Just read the 170+ pages of comments of people trying to get off caffeine here; http://coffeefaq.com/site/node/11

    And the research referenced here; http://caffeineevaluation.blogspot.co.uk/

    When people feel they cannot 'get going' in the morning without caffeine; in reality they are just experiencing withdrawal from not having ingested any over the previous hours.

    A key point is the research showing anxiety sufferers can be very sensitive to caffeine; some people think 'it can't be the caffeine, I only have 1 cup a day', but for them that could be the key issue in their anxiety.

    Withdrawal is not easy (especially first 2 weeks, when anxiety actually goes up), but is possible.

    Everyone should go without caffeine for 30 days and just see how they feel (like this lady here is doing; http://stopcaffeine.blogspot.co.uk/)

    -- Posted by JohnC777 on Wed, Oct 3, 2012, at 2:00 AM
  • The only time I experience anxiety is when I realize I am about out of coffee.

    -- Posted by Diatheke on Wed, Oct 3, 2012, at 11:58 PM
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