Single-serve coffee machines have introduced an influx of flavours and blends. With so many to choose from, picking a favourite can be challenging. Similarly, limiting your intake can be a struggle when coffee takes mere minutes to brew. So let’s consider which coffees you should drink and when.

In the Morning

First thing in the morning, it may feel like a good idea to drink coffee, but doing so increases your body’s tolerance to caffeine. This is because of a hormone called cortisol, which affects our stress levels, metabolism and alertness. Research shows that cortisol peaks between 8am and 9am, making coffee unnecessary until mid-morning. Interestingly, cortisol start to rise again after 5:30pm, too.

If drinking coffee in the morning, get the milk-based variants out of the way. Cappuccinos and lattes, for instance, can provide more energy from their lactose and fat content.

In the Afternoon

Many of us experience an afternoon slump and look to coffee for a lift. Black, milky or creamy; light, medium or dark roast; it doesn’t matter so long as it’s before 5:30pm.

We recommend brewing fresh coffee for the afternoon. Black coffee that sits for hours won’t harm you, but milk at room temperature starts to spoil after two hours. Thankfully, caffeine is somewhat antimicrobial.

In the Evening

While some people refrain from consuming caffeine in the evening, fearful it will keep them awake at night, Italian tradition lends some wisdom in sipping espresso after dinner. Interestingly, espresso helps with digestion, and, contrary to popular belief, it contains less caffeine than a regular cup of coffee.

But from where does the confusion stem?

A typical shot of espresso (two ounces) offers 80 milligrams of caffeine. Conversely, a cup of coffee (12 ounces) provides us with 120 milligrams. The caffeine difference really comes down to volume. After all, if we were to examine the concentration of caffeine, espresso would prove itself more potent.

Nevertheless, a single or double shot of espresso after dinner shouldn’t interfere too much with your sleep.

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