Americans are serious about their coffee. So much so that millennials are reportedly spending more to stay energized than on their retirement plans. That got us curious about other details related to their coffee consumption. To learn more about people’s caffeinated habits, we polled 1,008 respondents concerning these buzzy beverages.
We asked them how often they consumed caffeine, their beverage choices, and even where they worked to determine the most caffeinated industries across the country. Curious what your career says about your caffeine consumption habits? Read on to find out.
Daily Caffeine Intake
Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee every day. Considering there are less than 250 million adults in the country, simple math suggests most people drink more than just their morning cup of joe each day.
As our study found, coffee may not be as much a luxury but a cultural need instead. Seventy-nine percent of respondents consumed caffeinated beverages every day, while the rest drink them now and then.
While the first cup of coffee or tea in the morning might help wake you up, there are other long-term effects of caffeine. Beyond temporary relief from drowsiness or fatigue, excessive caffeine consumption has been linked to headaches, irritability, heartburn, and jitters. Even if you don’t drink caffeine late at night, it might still impact your ability to get a good night’s rest.
Feeling the Buzz
If your job is stressful enough, you may want to think twice before downing that second, third, or even fourth cup of coffee. Studies have shown caffeine consumption increases the body’s production of cortisol, the "stress hormone." Caffeine can also come with other health consequences such as gaining weight and diabetes.
Americans working in wholesale and retail as well as hotel, food services, and hospitality drank the most caffeine – averaging three and a half cups per day. As customer-facing roles, both industries experience their fair share of frustration. Even though these jobs can be stressful, caffeine might not be the right answer to get you through the day.
They weren’t alone, though. People working in manufacturing, construction, and information services and data processing also reported drinking more than three caffeinated beverages each day. On the opposite side of the caffeine spectrum, people working in education (2.5 cups) and technology (2.3 cups) drank the least on average.
Cause For Consumption
Caffeinated Drink of Choice
For coffee drinkers, there are more than a few ways to order a beverage. What goes into your coffee matters too. Some options, including frozen coffee or Frappuccinos, may have more sugar (and calories) than a full can of soda. Experts suggest mixing too much sugar with caffeine in the morning can actually negate the positive health effects of coffee and tea for most consumers.
In some cases, the way you prefer your brew might actually say something about the jobs you prefer. Despite all the fancy drinks you might consider ordering on your way to work, hot coffee was the most popular caffeinated drink across most industries, including real estate, rental, and leasing, marketing and advertising, and utilities. Americans in the publishing field preferred lattes, while those in telecommunications and science opted for a cappuccino instead. Only people working in legal voted iced coffee above all others.
A daily caffeine habit can be an expensive vice. Clearly the finance folks have figured out a way to work their costly habit into their monthly budget as they reportedly spend an average of $709 year at coffee shops. Even workers in the last spot on our list, Transportation and Warehousing, spend an average of nearly $150 annually.
Fueling the Hustle
Caffeine marks a pivotal point in the workday for most Americans.
Over 1 in 3 people were only slightly productive before their first cup of caffeine in the morning. After caffeine, however, that response changed significantly. Nearly half of respondents felt moderately productive after consuming caffeine, and nearly 1 in 4 felt highly productive.
Even though drinking caffeine over longer periods can make you less sensitive to its effects, the perception of productivity before and after coffee probably isn’t all in your head. Caffeine will certainly help to make you feel more awake, but that isn’t all it does to help boost productivity. Coffee also stimulates the production of dopamine in the brain and helps reduce inflammation, working as a pain reliever.
Even if caffeine makes you feel better at work, it’s important to temper your consumption. You may need to drink more over time to feel these same benefits, which can have a negative impact on your sleep quality and rest cycles. Even if coffee helps pick you up in the morning, not getting enough sleep at night is sure to hinder your productivity eventually.
All Good Things in Moderation
Respondents felt strongly about their caffeinated beverages. With a vast majority drinking caffeine every day, many indicated they felt more productive as a result.
Caffeine intake has its benefits, but its long-term effects can have a negative impact on sleep too. The rest you get at night has tremendous health implications, including overall happiness, creativity, and productivity.
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We collected responses from 1,008 people using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Forty-six percent of participants were male, and 54 percent were female. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 82, with a mean of 38 and a standard deviation of 11. Participants were excluded if they were clearly not paying attention (e.g., failed attention check question or entered obviously inconsistent data). We weighted the data to the 2017 U.S. census for age, gender, and home state.
Limitations:The data being presented relies on self reporting. There are many issues with self reported data. These issues include, but are not limited to: selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and exaggeration. Additionally, no statistical testing was performed, so the claims listed above are based on means alone. As such, this content is purely exploratory and future research should approach this topic in a more rigorous way.
Fair Use Statement
Feeling the buzz? We’d love to see the results of our study shared on your site for any noncommercial use. No clever tip jars here; make sure to include a link back to this page so that our contributors earn credit for their work too.