Coffee has become a staple drink within our society along with a host of other caffeinated drinks. They taste great, give us a kick and often make for the perfect excuse to meet up with friends. However, the actual value for money you get in each coffee is drastically out of proportion to its actual cost.
There are certainly ways, however, to maximise the effectiveness of the caffeine hits from coffee to give you better value for money overall. The way to do this comes down to understanding how caffeine works fundamentally, so that you can use this drug to your advantage. The following tips will explain when the most opportune times to consume caffeine are and how to get the best results under different circumstances.
The caffeine in coffee is a natural chemical that stimulates the brain and gives a mental boost, which can reduce the feeling of fatigue. The drug produces heightened brain activity and increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. These combined effects make you feel more alert although the intensity will vary from person to person.
Caffeine and Working Out
Caffeine for many of us is a great way shake off the tiredness from the night before, but for those of you who like to hit the gym then it can also be attributed to improving physical performance. Caffeine is scientifically known to block adenosine which is a natural chemical in our body that slows down our brain signals when we need to rest or sleep. Certain tests have proven that individuals taking part in triathlons, marathons and cycling races and consuming caffeine, managed to improve their finishing times by an average of 3% (with some experiencing 17% improvements).
If you are hitting the gym hard this January, whether it’s a NYE resolution or not, get an extra boost from a coffee before your workout to help you hit your goals sooner.
Coffee and Napping
Caffeine whilst associated with giving an energy boost in the morning can also be a very effective tool for taking a nap. Consider coffee not solely as an energy enhancer, but more similar to a multi-purpose tool like that Swiss-army knife you had as a kid. If you like the tradition of the Spanish siesta, a coffee just before taking a nap can be the best way to experience an effective short rest.
Scientists from the Loughborough University in the UK found that a sleep-deprived person only needs one cup of coffee before a 15-minute nap to feel completely refreshed after waking up.
Coffee and Morning People
If you are a morning person and you love to get up and seize the day, having a coffee late at night can seriously mess with your groove. Caffeine can alter your natural sleep patterns which can throw your natural sleeping habits out of sync. The affects generally hinder morning people more than night owls, which is why numerous people choose to stop their caffeine intake after midday. Learning precisely how your body reacts to caffeine can save you money in terms of avoiding buying that after dinner coffee, or otherwise causing you to purchase more than the usual the next morning when you are over-tired.
Caffeine and Value for Money
Certain people only consume caffeinated drinks because they want to feel the alertness that comes with them. Well, if this is you there are certain types of caffeine products you can consume to get the biggest bang for your buck. Tea, for example, such Tetley’s black tea is a British favourite priced at $2.40 per 100g at Woolworths. The cost of the caffeine per milligram is a minute $0.0011, which is so cheap that it’s practically free. This cost in comparison to a Starbucks Grande Latte or Espresso is $0.0200 per mg.
Wise Bread conducted a research project to find the cheapest ways to get your caffeine fix and have listed all of the most common caffeinated products bought today and their cost per mg of the drug.
There are other forms of taking caffeine too, which come in the form of a pill, the strongest being No Doz. It actually works out to be the cheapest form, but if you don’t want to turn your caffeine addiction into a pill popping one too, the next best option is Tetley’s black tea.
Caffeine and Coffee Beans
A common misconception is that a stronger tasting coffee such as an Espresso contains more caffeine, but this isn’t necessarily true. The degree in which the coffee is roasted doesn’t affect the concentration too much either, it more alters the taste. What really affects the level of caffeine above all else is the type of bean that you choose, for example an Arabica contains half the amount of caffeine compared to a Robusta.
Buzzle gives a brief insight into the types of coffee beans and the types of coffee drinks most widely available.
Caffeine and Improving your Tolerance
If you have realised that you might have a slight caffeine addiction or suffer from withdrawal symptoms, then there are a few things you can try to overcome these sensations. If you wish to reduce your intake then you can try switching to half-caffeinated alternatives or swap your 3rd coffee for a regular cup of tea, for example.
On the other hand, if you find that you are no longer getting the buzz that you once felt, it’s time to try cutting back on your intake for an entire month to reset your caffeine sensitivity.
Often though, for coffee lovers there's not much that will get in the way of you and your beloved drink. However, knowing what ways you can consume caffeine can certainly help you get better value for money. So, on a final note if you love multiple coffees during your day and wish to get the best mental boost possible, aim for between 20 to 200mg of coffee per hour, or roughly one coffee each hour.