Coffee Inspires America, Study Finds

If your coffee break is the most inspired moment of your day, you’re not the only one. When Don Francisco Coffee, a retail coffee brand produced by F. Gavina & Sons of Los Angeles, commissioned a survey to measure the country’s Inspiration Index, the company found that most of the 1,000 people surveyed report that taking a coffee break is among their most inspiring moments. In fact, four out of 10 respondents say that they’ve been struck by an inspiration while on their coffee break.

The news will come as no surprise to all those folks who slow down for a few minutes at midmorning and enjoy a cup of coffee with their break. And while the survey itself might seem silly, there’s a good amount of research that supports the contention that a coffee break — with coffee — is a good way to motivate, energize and inspire your office staff. For example, in one university study, two groups of students studied the instruction for completing a complex task. The first group then proceeded directly to the task. The second group took a fifteen minute coffee break before moving on to complete the task. The second group completed the task more quickly and with fewer mistakes. Researchers speculate that a short break after an intense learning situation gives the mind time to process and compartmentalize the knowledge so that it’s easier to access.

Researchers have also found that workers who drink a cup of coffee in the mid afternoon perform far better on repetitive, detail-oriented tasks than their coworkers who don’t indulge in the bean. When people who don’t typically drink coffee have a cup before starting a new task, they also typically perform better than they usually do. The effect is lessened for habitual coffee drinkers, though — perhaps because they’re already operating at a higher level.

Coffee is stimulating outside the office setting as well. Throughout history, coffee houses have been virtual hot beds of independent thinking, ideas and intellectual achievement. Both the New York Stock Exchange and the world-renowned insurers Lloyds of London began in coffee houses, and coffee houses are practically synonymous with the Beat poets and with open mikes for poetry and music. In many communities, the local coffee house is the center pin of the artistic community, offering gallery space for artworks, gathering space for writers’ workshops and performance space for local musical, theater and poetry groups.

The Don Francisco Inspiration Index rated 1,000 people on a scale of 0 to 100, taking into account factors that included optimism, health and spirituality as well as external factors such as the economy, the weather and the state of the world. According to the Inspiration Index, the average Inspiration score was 66, with coffee drinkers scoring significantly higher on the Index.

The survey also found that 4 out of 10 coffee drinkers would give up alcohol before they’d give up their coffee, and would rather enjoy a cup of coffee with friends than go see a movie. Most would not, however, choose coffee over their jobs, their car or sex.

Don Francisco Coffee is a Los Angeles-based macro-roaster and a founding member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. In a recent review, Kenneth Davids scored Don Francisco Family Reserve French Roast coffee an impressive 89 of 100 points — an accomplishment especially noteworthy for a mass-produced coffee. Davids also noted that all the Don Francisco Family Reserve coffees he tested were in the “solid to impressive” range.