The world’s love affair with coffee will likely never wane, unless someone figures out how to serve hot, steaming ice cream as a morning beverage. Studies abound on the benefits of drinking java, so much so that, as a writer, you have to keep a watchful eye and sort through the same ol’ same ol’ to find something worth reporting on.
A University of California Davis study is the first major examination of the impact of coffee consumption on groups as opposed to individuals, and the first study ever conducted by management professors that got published in an international scientific journal.
It turns out there’s no point in drinking alone (coffee, that is). Why?
Sharing coffee with group members has surprising benefits.
The study showed that coffee drinking groups had a higher number and quality of arguments, more fully engaging with one another than groups not sharing coffee. The study also found that caffeinated coffee increased the group’s focus, created greater receptivity to ideas, and encouraged more participation from each member in the group.
The benefits applied even when coffee was consumed before group tasks. Research participants who did so evaluated their own and the group’s performances more positively than those who did not drink coffee.
So group coffee shifts mindsets in multiple ways.
But it still begs the question, was it the physical effects of the caffeine itself or the social aspect of a group drinking coffee together that drove the positive feelings and results?
The researchers found it was both the social aspect and the underlying mechanism of greater alertness which triggered added engagement.
So sure, the caffeine helps, but so does the camaraderie.
Which makes sense given the known historical role of coffee in building social circles. David Kyle, an associate professor in sociology at the UC Davis Coffee Center (their mission is advancing coffee science), offered this perspective:
For centuries, coffee rituals were as much about the gathering of friends and not just the drink. For example, soon after arrival in London in the 1600s, there were already 2,000 coffee shops in 1700. They were known as penny universities because for a penny a cup you could engage people from all walks of life in sustained discussion about any topic.
Gives new meaning to “a penny for your thoughts.”
So a morning group coffee yields better engagement, productivity, and performance. The bonding opportunity creates camaraderie, which creates happiness. All that from a jolt of java.
And that gives new meaning to “rise and shine.”