By October 21, 2019

The Relationship Between Coffee and Developers

A cup of steaming hot coffee prepared just how you like it!

This is how millions upon millions of people start their day. Some use it to give themselves a boost while working, studying, or feeling low-energy. Others drink coffee simply as a part of the ritual when meeting with friends.

Still, although coffee is consumed by professionals from all fields, for many different reasons, programmers as a bunch apparently have a particular taste for it. 

It is a widespread concept that drinking coffee can benefit work that relies on productivity and steady brain function—easy to see, then, why it is a preferred beverage for people who need just that. 

However, if you’re a developer who loves coffee, there are certain questions that need answering:

  • How much coffee do developers commonly drink?
  • Is coffee beneficial to my work as a developer? 
  • Are there any dangerous side effects? 
  • Should I drink coffee on a daily basis?

In this post, I’ll explore the relationship between software developers and coffee to answer these questions. So, if you’re wondering whether (and how much) coffee is good for you as a developer, keep reading!

How Much Coffee Do Developers Drink?

Ever since I started working at an angular development company, I noticed just how much drinking coffee is a part of the daily work process. A cup when starting the workday, a cup when taking a smoke break, a cup when feeling stuck on coding and needing a fresh perspective, a cup when enjoying a conversation with friends, and so on and so forth …

Assuming programmers drink a lot of coffee might seem like a cliché. But is it a cliché if it is true?

The graph below displays the results of an informal and voluntary questionnaire, tracked in this article by Lisa Sidlow. Out of all the developers who participated, only 16.4% do not consume caffeine, leaving 83.6% who consume varying amounts on a daily basis. 

For a better understanding: On average, one shot of espresso contains between 60 mg and 100 mg of caffeine. 

coffee and developers

So, having established that the vast majority of developers do consume coffee, the important thing is to see whether it’s beneficial or not. 

Is Coffee Beneficial to My Work as a Developer? 

If coffee is part of your routine when setting up for work, it can easily turn into a trigger for productivity. You have your mug on your desk. Now you are ready to code and make the most of this sweet, sweet performance booster. 

These effects are not just myths but come from coffee’s ability to raise energy levels and improve the average attention span. That, in turn, allows for more productive brain function that helps with performing tasks that demand analytical thinking and problem-solving.

Just what a developer needs!

Not to mention, coffee has been observed to help greatly when tackling mental health issues. A study from the Archives of Internal Medicine observed that drinking coffee once or twice a day can lower the risk of suicide

In addition, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, women who drink more coffee are less likely to be clinically diagnosed with depression.

Coffee has undeniable benefits when it comes to health and cognition. However, it is important to mention that excessive caffeine intake can easily overwhelm the positive effects. In those cases, a caffeine detox would be preferential in order to reset the caffeine tolerance and allow renewed enjoyment of the perks, without the side effects. 

On average, drinking two or three cups of moderately strong coffee will nurture a lot of great benefits in terms of performance. But if you drink more than the recommended amount consistently over a long period of time, you may start to develop potentially dangerous side effects.

Are There Any Dangerous Side Effects?

As far as side effects go, most of them come with excessive use. Chugging down multiple mugfuls a day is not something that should ever be allowed to turn into a full-blown habit. Some of the risks that come with overconsumption may include:

  • Sleep disruption
  • Anxiety
  • Physical and mental fatigue
  • Dependency
  • Irritability
  • Rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure

As with any side effect, maintaining consumption consistently over a long period of time causes the issue to become more and more severe and can cause permanent damage to the affected system. 

Considering that reaching dangerous levels is completely avoidable, not only is there no need to put your body through unnecessary harm and stress, but it is impractical and not particularly logical.

When consumed within the recommended amount (below 400 mg of caffeine—the equivalent of about four cups of brewed coffee—per day for healthy adults), coffee is a great natural supplement that can give a lot to someone with a busy and dynamic life. 

However, being wary of the risks that come with overconsumption is a must if you want to avoid stepping into the dangerous zone of hard-to-shake side effects.

Should I Drink Coffee on a Daily Basis?

As far as what people consume in a day, most of us have some sort of habit that affects our health negatively in one way or another. 

For some, it can be eating sugary foods too often, smoking, or perhaps binge-drinking on the weekends. Many of those habits are built over time as a result of repetitively exercising a habit for the sake of experiencing momentary satisfaction, even if it is not the best thing for our health overall.

And as far as bad habits related to consumption go, when taken in moderation, coffee is one of the more harmless habits one can partake in. Many find that the ritual of making a cup of coffee contributes to their sense of happiness, stability, and productivity. 

This little piece of consistency is something that can help with mental health when you face problems in other areas of life.

And of course, if you have noticed coffee affecting your health badly in any way, it is not recommended to consume too much of the beverage, if any. 

If you notice any negative effects that impact your overall health, short- or long-term, then you need to reconsider your choice. Some things to look out for are becoming too jittery, feeling more anxious, or having an upset stomach. Be open to noticing any other sign that points to coffee affecting you negatively. At the end of the day, no beverage is worth the damage.

It’s All a Matter of Balance

As a developer, the choice of drinking coffee to boost your productivity depends on balance and moderation.

Enjoying coffee is great, and the same goes for getting an advantage in your routine or feeling better and more energetic. However, you should also be honest about the downsides you may have experienced from coffee. Does it negatively affect your health? Do you actually depend on coffee to function normally? Does it damage your quality of sleep?

Answer those questions for yourself and choose whether drinking coffee helps your career as a developer or not. In the end, it’s all a matter of balance and choosing the path that makes you a better programmer.

About the author

Danila Petrova

Danila Petrova is a Marketing Assistant Manager at Dreamix, a custom software development company, focusing on strategy building and audience engagement. With a background in mathematics, informatics, she has extensive knowledge in web design, business communication and a deep understanding of the IT industry. She is involved in numerous graphic design projects and is passionate about the advancement of software development. Danila's email