Why Programmers Drink Coffee

Most of the software engineers I’ve come across seemed to love coffee. Why is this the case?

As a software engineer by trade and coffee blogger, I feel like I am very qualified to answer this question.

A lot of programmers are physically addicted to the caffeine in coffee. However, most programmers start drinking coffee due to the benefits coffee can have for software engineers and programmers.

While I feel like I am not caffeine dependent, there definitely is a case to be made that a lot of software engineers are actually physically reliant on coffee to stay focused and get their work done.

I find myself grabbing a large cup of coffee right after setting up my laptop in the morning instinctively. Luckily I work right next to a Panera so with my unlimited coffee subscription I can get as much coffee as I need. We often take walks down to Panera to grab a coffee during breaks. Other programmers at the office love Death Wish coffee, and there is a culture that has developed around drinking coffee.

Why do programmers need to drink coffee to get their work done?

Once the project manager and other coworkers see the coffee cups out, they know what it means. This has become a signal that software engineers use to tell others, “leave me alone it’s time to get my work done”.

The next logical question is why is it necessary to drink coffee to get your work done?

Here are my reasons as a software engineer for why I drink coffee. If you agree or have any other reasons you drink coffee please leave me a comment!

Coffee gives you energy and is a productivity trigger

The reason why coffee helps get work done is that as a software engineer it is very common to work long hours and not get enough sleep.

During crunch time it is common to work late and get to work early and doing this for prolonged periods of time becomes increasingly difficult without any stimulants to keep you going.

One of the main benefits of coffee is that it is a stimulant and can make you feel less tired by blocking chemicals in your brain. This is why I personally use coffee to start off my day because it helps me shake off any feeling of grogginess or exhaustion from working late the day before.

The burst of energy that a cup of coffee gives you starts your day off right and lets you ride that productivity until your next cup of coffee or until the end of the workday.

This has become a habit for me and without a doubt, many other programmers. It is very important to start your day off right and with coffee it becomes very easy. It is a physical and chemical trigger that lets your body know it is time to get into work mode.

Helps you get into the zone

Coffee is also necessary because it helps extend periods of flow and allows us to stay focused on one task for longer periods of time.

Many times as a programmer you are working on applications that can be larger than your available brain space. If you are in the progress of stepping through some code it can be hard to get back to the same train of thought you were on if you get distracted or lose your focus.

This is because some functions or programs have many dependencies that you have to understand and think about when coding and if you lose your flow you can be left feeling like you don’t know anything. Programming is very unforgiving because the computer does not make mistakes, only humans do. There is maximum accountability so you want to stay focused at all times when coding.

Many times non-technical people will not know the sheer size, complexity, and unforgiveness that programmers face on a daily basis. This is another reason most programmers turn to coffee.

Caffeine makes your smarter

Do you like feeling smarter?

Coffee can increase your general intelligence and alertness when you drink it.

Programming, being a very cerebral job requires you to find solutions to problems that not many other people have faced or built before. Coffee improves your problem-solving skills and can increase your IQ by up to 20%.

Coffee culture among programmers and software engineers

Due to the large number of programmers that drink coffee, within most coffees, there is a culture that forms around those who drink it.

It is extremely beneficial to be within work cultures professionally and personally. You can make new friends to hang out with or talk about work topics to learn more and grow within the company

Breaks to chat with coworkers

During breaks, you can go and grab a coffee. This way you always have a reason to go out to take a break and you will always have something to do. It is equivalent to a smoke break, only healthier.

These can be impromptu “meetings” where you can just walk and talk. At any office of any tech company, you’ll notice coffee machines everywhere to encourage this type of behavior. These meetings are where great ideas are born and bonds are built.

The more you can encourage other introverted programmers to collaborate the better for the company and the more efficient the work can get done after the break is over. It also helps the more introverted programmers get to know each other by starting them off with non-technical meetings over coffee.

Coffee mugs to express your interests to coworkers

A lot of programmers use the coffee mug to express themselves. Coffee mugs become accessories that you can use in the office.

Some people have funny mugs about a hobby they have outside of work. This allows people to engage with them and learn more about their interests. There are also many elitist programmers that show their love for a certain programming language or have a coder joke on their mugs.

People also may use coffee mugs as collectibles. Many companies now are offering limited edition coffee mugs. For example, Death Wish coffee offers special mugs to its subscribers.

Mental health and how coffee can help with depression

Many programmers I have encountered are introverts. Unlike extroverts that recharge their batteries with social interaction and mingling, introverts require other forms of nourishment.

It is also common for software engineers to suffer from depression and burnout due to the long hours and stressful work environments.

This is just speculation, but maybe this is why software engineers tend to gravitate towards coffee.

According to a study done by the National Institute of Health, individuals that consume at least 4 cups of coffee a day showed a lower risk of depression than participants who drank less than one cup of coffee a day.

So the more coffee you drink the better you will feel. This may be linked to the caffeine within the coffee.

Experts in the field think that these benefits, such as happiness and reducing feelings of depression, are due to the large amounts of antioxidants in coffee.

It is no wonder programmers drink tons of this stuff.


Programmers and software engineers love coffee just like everybody else! It’s not known whether programmers drink more than people in other professions, but because they are stuck in the office for most of the day staring at a computer it is very common to see them sipping on a cup of java.

It is a common saying that programmers turn caffeine and pizza into code. This is true in most cases, but just remember, drink too much coffee and you’ll lose all the benefits.

Everything in moderation, folks!


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