Espresso twice as effective as a flat white at boosting productivity, study finds

Not all caffeinated beverages will give you the same boost – here's a definitive ranking for when you find yourself in a slump

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When we're flagging or lacking in energy, one quick fix for a sure-fire energy hit is to brew up a cup of coffee (or pop out and buy one, in the before times). But it might surprise you to find that not all coffee is created equal. According to a new study, the type of caffeinated beverage you go for makes a big difference when it comes to how much of a productivity hike you'll experience (and it's not all about the caffeine content, either).

In a pretty comprehensive sounding study, 4,250 volunteers were given a list of short tasks to attempt to complete before and after drinking a cup of a specific type of coffee. The number of completed tasks pre- and post-coffee was then averaged out to give a percentage productivity increase, and provide a definitive ranking of which kind of coffee you should drink for the best efficiency boost.

The study, by BrewSmartly.com,  found that espresso prompted the biggest increase in productivity – a whopping 80%. In second place, a regular-sized black coffee resulted in a productivity increase of 75%, followed by iced coffee with 67%. Interestingly, decaf coffee still resulted in a 50% rise in productivity – more than several caffeinated drinks. 

At the bottom of the scale, frappuccinos and Irish coffees resulted in measly 14% and 17% boosts respectively. Here's the full list:

  • Espresso - 80%
  • Black - 75%
  • Iced coffee - 67%
  • Americano - 60%
  • Decaf - 50%
  • Espresso macchiato - 50%
  • Latte - 50%
  • Cortado - 43%
  • Mocha - 33%
  • Flat white - 33%
  • Affogato - 29%
  • Café au lait - 25%
  • Cappuccino - 17%
  • Irish - 17%
  • Frappuccino - 14%

If you're want capture that coffee shop magic at home, T3 has several coffee maker guides that can help you out:

Ruth Hamilton
Ruth Hamilton

Ruth runs T3's Outdoors editor (think camping, hiking, mountain biking and adventure sports) as well as running the site's Wellness channel (covering sleep, relaxation, yoga and general wellbeing). She has tested more mattresses than her small flat can handle, and will talk at length about them to anyone who'll listen.