October 12th, 2007 - by Golgotha

Since caffeine and coding go together like peanut-butter and jelly I thought I would talk about this drug of choice.

We truly are a nation of drug addicts. With alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine, most people are more amped than Steve Balmer talking to a bunch of developers.

Bennet Weinberg has written two books on coffee. His latest is called “The Caffeine Advantage.” Weinberg says caffeine is the world’s most popular drug. More than 50 percent of Americans drink coffee everyday — three to four cups each, more than 330 million cups a day and counting… When you add tea and soft-drinks, more than 80 percent of Americans are getting their fix.

It’s no coincidence that all the most popular drinks on earth, which taste quite different from each other, all contain caffeine.

A report by CBS says that caffeine is one of the fastest acting drugs known to man. When we drink it, almost every cell in the body, including the brain, absorbs it within minutes. There, caffeine works it’s magic by blocking something called adenosine, a chemical the body releases to tell the brain it’s tired. Caffeine intercepts the adenosine, turning the “I’m tired,” message into “I’m wide awake.” The result is an invigorating buzz coffee drinkers crave.

Some studies indicate that caffeine can help alleviate headaches. Caffeine is present in both over-the-counter medications (Excedrin) and prescription medications. Caffeine acts to constrict blood vessels and therefore helps some headaches.

Weinberg says, “We really want something that’ll help us work harder, sharpen our minds, increase our sense of well-being, improve our performance; caffeine is just that substance.” Is that guy pimpin’ caffeine or what?

What’s your thoughts — do you drink caffeine?

Do you think it helps with coding?

What’s your beverage of choice while coding?

14 Responses to “Caffeine > Code ? Good : Bad”

1 cpradio

I typically used to drink Mountain Dew when coding. Not because I felt it helped with anything (other than the amount of sugar), but because it kept my thirst quenched.

Now I am drinking juice. All varities that have very little sugar and I can’t tell the difference.

In all honesty, some days I wonder if the caffeine role is 50% mental and 50% actual chemical changing properties.

Matt

2 Ben Partch

I do drink soft-drinks, I do not drink coffee.

I do not think caffeine improves coding ability (any more than say methamphetamines do) I think that if you are tired anything you consume that can alter that can make you more awake but are you really more aware? Just like the myth that coffee will sober up a drunk, instead you just get a wide awake drunk.

I prefer Mt.Dew but more for the flavor than for an effects I get from it. I try to drink water more often than not these days.

3 Brandon

I don’t drink caffeine at all if I can help it. In college when I crammed, I might drink a soda or two when I was starting to fade — and man could I feel it! When I wasn’t pulling an all nighter, my drink of choice was (and still is) water. It’s funny, but it wakes me up just enough and it does it’s job of quenching my thirst. I will also say that water improves my code output and efficiency.

I do love the taste of a good Vanilla Latte, however even when I order it half-caf, I shake a little and I feel a little sick later in the day. Getting a pure decaf latte just seems sacreligious or something.

4 Golgotha

@cpradio – I used to be a big time Mtn. Dew drinker. Infact, I was the founding member of Super Big Gulp (SBG) Club at work where we make daily runs to 7/11 for beverages. I don’t do that much anymore.

@Ben – “Just like the myth that coffee will sober up a drunk, instead you just get a wide awake drunk.”

That’s priceless Ben – you need to claim that one.

@Brandon – I do love coffee. You don’t even want to talk to me in the morning until I get my first cup. But, I also drink a lot of water throughout the day too.

Want more post about addicting drugs? Who doesn’t — Chris Garrett just sent me a link to the article 10 Questions From a Wannabe Cigar Smoker. I have probably one cigar a year is all so that was a fun read :)

5 brightfeather

I admit that I’m into eating well and That I’m into fitness as well. I drink decaffeinated green tea while I work. And I know so much about the negative effects of caffeine on the body and that I could talk your ears off about it. Instead of doing that though I’ll just give you the link to one of the most popular posts on my blog http://thistimethisspace.com/2007/06/09/high-energy-drinks-for-athletes-not-for-kids/

6 Guilherme Zühlke O'Connor

Great post.

I am not much of a coffe drinker, yet, I share some of the most common coder habits like producing more and better code and ideas at night.

I’m sure coffee helps you stay awake because it does have a neurological effect as you explained, but I don’t know what effect this may have when you are already awake.

I don’t believe that is properly the coffee that increases the quality of code, otherwise I will be a very lousy coder (would it be possible that I actually am such? Lol)

I think is just a myth, and maybe it was originated by Paul Erdos living through: “Transforming Coffee in Theorems”.

7 rAm

its coffee for me. Though i feel any beverage would do, i take coffee for the sole reason that it’s readily available at my work place.

At home however, I would keep myself up with fruit juice.

8 Golgotha

@brightfeather – I am a pretty health conscious guy too, infact I have a post at the end of this month on geeks getting fit :)

But I do like my coffee. A Mocha Frappuccino® Light Blended Coffee only has 140 calories – that’s one of my favorites!

@Guilherme Zühlke O’Connor – I don’t know that coffee helps my code any, but it doesn’t hurt either ;)

@rAm – I only drink coffee in the mornings and at night – after sex – no no – after dinner some times :)

9 John Faulds

Can’t drink coffee anymore – makes me too anxious. I don’t drink anything particularly when I’m working; no more so than at any other time.

10 ses5909

I’ve never liked coffee and I just like soda for the taste. My favorite soda is IBC root beer which doesn’t have any caffeine.

I don’t really have anything I need to drink when I code…if I’m thirsty I usually drink water. Music, on the other hand, is another story entirely. That does for me what caffeine does for a lot of people.

11 Guilherme Zühlke O'Connor

@ses5909 – Music is indeed something that works for me.

12 Robin

I mostly drink some hot tea (unsweetened) in the morning and cold water in the afternoon. In fact, I only drink tea when I have to code. It’s like my body is used when drinking tea it has to code. Funny.

It’s difficult for me to code when there’s music I don’t like, but it’s also harder during commercials and talks.

13 ur mom

yea i drink soft drinks and coffee and i think it is terrible for you

14 Stephen R. Smith

I’m one of those that drinks a fair amount of coffee, though not constantly like I used to do. I find that I’m the most focused in the late evenings, right up to 1am or so before I start making stupid decisions that I’ll likely regret in the morning (we’re talking coding here). Having coffee makes sure that I’m awake and functional during what seems to be my most productive time. I don’t necessarily equate coffee to increased awareness, but it’s certainly the grease that keeps me moving.

I do find in the morning that prior to having coffee, any conversations I have that require recalling stored information are frustrating at best. Trying to get at names or bits of trivial information is almost impossible, and yet an hour and a coffee later, all that information just rolls off the brain.

Just my (late) two cents.

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