How much Coffee do you Drink

I am beginning to develop a growing concern about the sheer quantity of caffeine I consume on a daily basis.
Like most of this community, I get to sleep at 1am and wake up around 7am. Meaning I don't get the most quality rest. Before I even leave my apartment I'm already 2 glasses of cold brew in. My office also has a fantastic espresso machine so by 10am I make myself a double espresso. 
By 10:30 I have probably spent 20 minutes in the bathroom shitting my brains out.
After my morning meetings I will have another espresso before grabbing some lunch. While eating lunch I'll usually have it with some starbucks or whatever. This is followed by another 20 minutes of aggressive shitting. 
After lunch I always get hit with the mid day slump, so to power me through the rest of the day I'll have another espresso around 3pm. 
Despite literally vibrating at my desk all day from the life threatening caffeine levels in my system, I still feel drowsy all the time. 
When 8pm rolls around and I still have 4 hours of work to go I'll sometimes even have a Red Bull or Celsius. 
By the time I get home I've had so much coffee I can't sleep despite feeling so tired. Maybe I'm exaggerating slightly but the shitting my brains out part is 100% accurate.
So how much coffee do you all drink?
 

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (62)

Oct 5, 2021 - 5:32pm

How has 3 cups been for you lately? I used to drink 2 a day, and then stopped cold turkey about a month or so ago, but haven't honestly found many mental benefits. I didn't really have trouble sleeping then or anything, but just felt concerned like a hypochondriac. I think I'm going to start again soon.

Edit: I will say though, on the 4th day of not drinking coffee, I felt like I was going to die but then it was fine after that.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

  • 1
Oct 5, 2021 - 5:40pm

I have gone a few weeks of not drinking coffee.  Sometimes I just go with a small cup of decaf.  

The only days I really notice an effect is when 1. I drink more than one cup 2. I typically drink that night.  (AKA Fridays,have a coffee then so and so wants to grab a coffee.  Then I go have a beer or two,  my sleep suffers) 

Other than this,  no side effects.  

Oct 8, 2021 - 3:17pm

Nothing wrong with coffee itself, It's just the caffeine and the lack of deep sleep that comes with it. I love the taste so I switched to decaf as my second cup of the day and my body doesnt realize its different.

Oct 5, 2021 - 5:19pm

Setting aside the obvious jokes about switching to more natural, powdery substances - less and less honestly. I'll have a cup or two in the AM - maybe one more closer to 11 or noon if I'm really feeling it - but after that I try to limit is as much as I can. It doesn't annihilate my sleep, but certainly doesn't help. 

Something else that is obvious, but took me a while to realize, is that I was drinking so much coffee that it amped up my anxiety and irritability to really unhealthy levels. Since I've dialed it back, it's really helped to control both of those things - which is really good. Last thing I need is extra amped, chemically induced stressors at this point.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Oct 5, 2021 - 5:34pm

Do you mean that you felt anxious from having drank 1-2 cups daily? It doesn't sound like much, but is 14 cups a week. That's part of the reason as to why I had stopped.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

Oct 5, 2021 - 5:37pm

Not generally from 1 - 2, that's about what I can tolerate before the anxiety, etc. start ramping up. I used to be in the territory of the OP, where I'd drink coffee all day long and then be surprised when I was irritable and sleep deprived. 

I actually did a whole 'reset' a while back like you did where I stopped drinking caffeine or swapped to decaf. It felt pretty good, the ritual of it probably is the hardest thing to kick. Applaud you for sticking with it. 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 5, 2021 - 5:43pm

Eat healthier food (high protein, low carb) to avoid glucose spikes and crashes. You should also workout if you aren't already. If you're in your 20s, you should be able to function on 6-7 hrs relatively easily. Unfortunately I don't have any suggestions on caffeine, as I never drank it in the first place. But I've noticed when I am eating a keto diet, or something close to it, I can function on 5 hours without feeling super tired by EOD. If you're interested in metabolic health, I highly recommend you check out Levels and follow some influencers in the low carb lifestyle community.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Oct 6, 2021 - 12:09am

This is the best advice. I cut out added sugar completely for a few months and was able to function on 5-6 hours of sleep much more easily. I wouldn't cut out carbs entirely if you're doing a lot of exercise, but sugar specifically gives me crazy energy spikes so I would start there. 

I also switched from coffee to sugar free energy drinks. The energy you get from coffee is more intense, but once it's gone you crash way harder. Many energy drinks have vitamins and shit make me feel no crash at all. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Oct 7, 2021 - 3:22pm

+1, idk why anyone would ms you for saying this. The only time I'm having a (1) cup of coffee is if I'm on 4 hrs or less of sleep. Even then, I'd rather have green tea (more benefits). Diet plays such a crucial role in everyone's energy levels and overall health. Additionally, I find that when I'm consistently working out I have more energy. 

Also- pump more water and cut out seed oils. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Oct 5, 2021 - 8:06pm

What's coffee? JK, I just don't drink. Personally, I drink tea all day. Not as big of a kick as coffee, but healthier.

Oct 5, 2021 - 10:10pm

What's coffee? JK, I just don't drink. Personally, I drink tea all day. Not as big of a kick as coffee, but healthier.

I like your approach to having tea as I am a big proponent to drinking green tea all day, but to say tea is healthier than coffee is like saying an apple is healthier than an orange. Clearly too much coffee pulls on the adrenal gland, but coffee also has antioxidants and is quite healthy in moderation. Healthier than tea? Well, excessive coffee is not healthier than tea, but there is no overreaching rule that says tea is objectively healthier. Coffee needs to be moderated and tea doesn't really. They both do different things. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 1
Funniest
Oct 5, 2021 - 9:22pm

I've tried Matcha from Trader Joes before. It was delicious and definitely hits hard with the amount of caffeine. But it only took 10 minutes to right through me and flush out everything in me. I had a gastric exorcism in the office bathroom. People who went into the bathroom after me never came back out. I'm assuming they dissolved in my gaseous fumes. But yeah matcha is delicious. 

Oct 5, 2021 - 10:20pm

South American Yerba Mate is also nice - out of a gourd with a metal straw 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 1
  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Oct 5, 2021 - 10:34pm

I also drink coffee and my only advice is to not have any more than 4 espresso shots. 5+ shots give me headaches and is usually the point where there's almost no noticeable benefit. If you can, just take a quick nap and come back in 1 hour, you'll feel 100x better. Don't drink coffee right after waking up, hold the urge for a few hours. Also, don't drink coffee at least 3-4 hours before you are going to go to sleep, it's going to be much easier to go to sleep. There's been a point in time when I was so coffee addicted that I was drinking 13 espresso shots, just hoping that I don't get a heart attack, but that was because I made an awful decision to do an IB internship while taking two classes during the summer (I was trying to take advantage of P/NP during the time of Zoom classes lol). Wearing it off took lot of time, but it's doable (just make sure you have some medication to deal with headaches because I had really bad headache for 2 days after starting the process).

Oct 5, 2021 - 11:27pm

PFSynergies

128 oz… on average… and I'm not even joking…

If we had a coffee drinking competition, I could beat you.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Oct 5, 2021 - 11:47pm

Every day? I'm not even sure I drink that much water every day...

Array

Oct 5, 2021 - 11:26pm

I have jacked my heart up so much on caffeine, sometimes hitting 205bpm measured in activity. 192bpm is usually the extreme limit of my heart though in Zwift Cycling races. I hit 205 once in the past year and it was an out of body experience. I felt like I was dying and most alive I've ever been at the same time. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 3
Oct 6, 2021 - 12:23am

Working from home has made me drink at least 5-6 cups of coffee a day (or 2-3 red bulls).

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn

  • VP in IB-M&A
Oct 6, 2021 - 7:10am

Way too much, and I'm finally coming to terms with it being a problem. I pretty much drink coffee continuously from when I wake up until 4:00 in the afternoon. Like probably 7-10 cups per day on average, but I know I regularly have days when I go over a dozen. Will also toss in a Diet Coke or two every once in awhile-especially with meals. I also drink a decent amount of water throughout the day, as well, so I urinate quite frequently. This has become habitual, so I drink nearly that amount on off days, too. Not good.

I've started to recognize the impact it's having on sleep. Even when I'm very tired I will sometimes wake up at 3:00am with tons of thoughts swimming through my brain, and I almost never fall back asleep. Definitely need to start slowing down the intake. I love the taste of coffee (would probably drink it all night if I could), so I should probably mix in decafs. 

Oct 6, 2021 - 12:58pm

Zero. Cut it out after it started causing anxiety (along with binge drinking, almost never do that anymore). Now I'm functioning really well and am super happy

Sometimes I have the rare special drink from starbucks but that's like once a month. When I need a caffeine kick I do green tea. I get 7.5-8hrs of sleep every night. It's amazing, definitely try it out as it'll change your life. I'm never going back to the days of sub-7hrs of sleep 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Restr
Oct 6, 2021 - 1:11pm

None.  Energy drink in the morning, adderal in the afternoon, energy drink before the gym btwn 8pm & 9pm, another adderal when done w/ the gym if I'm working past midnight.  Yes, I know it's a wildly unhealthy routine. 

Most Helpful
Oct 6, 2021 - 1:49pm

I like to think about this in milligrams b/c I mainly take caffeine pills now, but on a normal day I have no more than ~300mgs (or roughly 3 cups of coffee [assuming avg of 95-100mg caffeine per cup]) and stop 'heavy' caffeine consumption at noon. I'll allow some green tea after the cut off if I'm in an early afternoon slump, but that's it. Used to have trouble sleeping but after instituting the cut off I noticed my sleep got a lot better. And I'm getting anywhere from 6-9 hrs of sleep.

^that's in my non-banking role, so probably less exciting - back in the IB days it was bad. Assuming a 1am EOD, I was probs hitting two cups by noon, one or two cups after lunch, one cup after dinner, and maybe a redbull / mountain dew at some point in the day (or in place of one of the cups). If I knew I was going to be working into the early AM I'd for sure grab a cup at like 11pm/midnight. I used to keep pre-workout under my desk and take some in-place of a cup of coffee if I was feeling spicy, and also had a caff/nootropic combo pill on hand (bought from GNC but I believe it's no longer sold/in production). One time I ran into an associate making a cup of coffee at 11:30pm right before he was leaving the office, and upon asking him why he was making a cup of coffee before heading home, received this answer (slightly paraphrased): "it helps me sleep because I don't feel normal without it." Good times.

OP if you're worried about it I would very slowly start to cut back. Caffeine is a drug, so you're just weaning off your addiction. Maybe just go 1 cold brew before you leave your apt instead of 2, and do that for a few months before cutting something else out. No caffeine is probs unrealistic, so slowly work at it until you get to a level you feel is healthy. For me, max of 3 cups feels right but YMMV. I've read that caffeine doesn't actually give you energy and just makes you feel more awake, so to the extent that you can (i) focus on getting better quality sleep (e.g. no screen time 1 hr before bed, cut caffeine consumption out 6 hrs before bed, etc.) and (ii) improve natural energy (e.g. exercise, refine diet --> saw a few comments addressing this and I know there have been posts on this), you might see some improvement in the perpetual drowsiness even without getting more sleep.

Oct 6, 2021 - 4:57pm

Literally staring at this with bags under my eyes on my third day of 3-4 cups a day wanting to just crawl into a corner and sleep. 

Oct 6, 2021 - 4:58pm

Just chug a bunch of water, workout 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Oct 7, 2021 - 2:13am

Total of 6 espresso shots from 9:00 - 6:00pm - I try not to drink coffee after 6:00pm so that I can at least get a few hours of sleep.

  • Intern in S&T - FI
Oct 7, 2021 - 11:02am

Might as well not sleep drinking that much. Drinking 1 espresso at 6pm is exactly the same as drinking half of one right before you get in bed 6 hours later and expecting to sleep well. Now add up the other five you are drinking. In IB its not realistic to cut it out completely but seriously would consider cutting it in half if not just 2 a day for just your own wellbeing.

Oct 7, 2021 - 3:21pm

Coffee is actually the most antioxidants people get per day who are eating processed foods. It's not bad for you; you're misinformed.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 1
Oct 7, 2021 - 10:38am

you could definitely cut that intake in the morning. No need for 2 coldbrews before you even leave and cut out the caffeine with your lunch. Instead eat something lean and clean and have a bunch of water.

Keep in mind that once you start lowering your intake you're probably going to have a bunch of migraines. At least thats what happens to me for a bit.

  • 1
Oct 8, 2021 - 7:52am

2 cups max for me only black coffee whether it's cold brew or french press. I used to gas coffee like none other when I was an analyst and it just sucked in terms of the jitters and general increase in cravings for more caffeine. When I went to PE, I transitioned to limiting myself to two cups a day my second year and focusing on hydration in the late afternoon / evening. My PE hours were worse than banking so sure I could've used the coffee but I honestly felt better with the limit in place.

  • 2
Oct 8, 2021 - 10:16am

1 at 10AM and 2nd one usually around 2PM. If I'm desperate for energy, I may sneak one in between 10-2 or one after 4PM. I try to avoid drinking coffee past 5PM unless I had a busy day and had some place to go at night (party/late dinner).

If it's straight black coffee, I never go beyond 16 oz. Flexible with french press coffee that I make at home since it's variable in strength (I make it strong and when my wife makes it, it tends to be quite light)

Oct 14, 2021 - 5:54pm

Eum autem sed consequatur sequi explicabo. Nemo quibusdam amet et aspernatur. Distinctio minima neque veritatis. Magni doloribus tempora eum ipsam voluptas.

Sed modi assumenda id soluta ab. Ducimus laboriosam sed non natus quia.

Oct 14, 2021 - 11:01pm

Voluptatibus vel quisquam enim id voluptatem dolor. Quo veniam dolorem explicabo et delectus est. Cupiditate eum velit incidunt libero autem.

Cupiditate rerum aut aut labore id rem. Ut recusandae quaerat doloribus. Ea assumenda alias esse ab est soluta laboriosam.

Molestiae voluptatem quasi quasi eveniet. Itaque accusamus porro labore suscipit. Dolor quia temporibus eligendi eius deserunt.

Oct 15, 2021 - 2:48am

Molestiae nobis eius natus aut deleniti ullam ut. Animi et sit autem aut ab omnis. Molestias voluptates perferendis quaerat.

Eius asperiores odit officia enim. Sit ut illo atque perspiciatis neque ducimus tempore qui. Odio quo in aut voluptates inventore suscipit consectetur nisi.

Eum doloribus perspiciatis rem sed. Rerum facilis provident ratione asperiores nobis sapiente cupiditate. Odio eligendi corrupti in quam optio eligendi. Suscipit voluptas dolorem est recusandae. Dolor consequatur itaque incidunt dolorem blanditiis laboriosam officia. Rerum fuga illum rerum cum.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

October 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (39) $363
  • Associates (229) $233
  • 2nd Year Analyst (139) $155
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (32) $149
  • Intern/Summer Associate (104) $143
  • 1st Year Analyst (504) $135
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (387) $83