Coffee is a part of regular routines for many creatives — writers in particular. Coffee shops are also preferred work spaces, as the ambient noise found in coffee shops has been shown to be conducive to creative cognition.
A cup of coffee can feel like the kickstart to a creative process, and help get us into a creative flow. But how are coffee and creativity really linked?
How Coffee Affects the Brain
Some research shows that, contrary to popular belief, coffee may inhibit creativity. When we drink coffee, the caffeine goes to your brain, and when your brain is active, the firing neurons produce a byproduct called adenosine. When adenosine levels get high, that’s your brain’s cue that it’s time to take a break, at which point you become drowsy.
Caffeine actually blocks the adenosine receptors, which keeps you feeling alert and on top of your game, even when your brain would usually be trying to slow down a bit. Because of this, coffee not only increases our energy and keeps us from being sleepy, but it helps our concentration. That’s why when we drink a cup of coffee before working, we feel like we can focus and get things done.