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: