Drinks and Creative Work?

I’ve been steadily winding towards the finals gauntlet, and am more than a little amused that the same quantity of drinks I chug while doing creative work (like, writing IF in general- Sweetpea was made with many reheated cups of coffee, (hence one features in it) because I often get so caught up in working out prose that I forget to sip from my cup until its gone ice cold- and I’m currently squinting at some dialog I’m writing wherein I am simultaneously the reckless, haunted ingenue, her concerned older group dad friend, and their mildly confused graduate student pal who has the hots for the dadfriend all talking about… cute tiny pink keyboards that are a perfect replica of the one I own, and like, vampire OCs. It is dizzyingly weird to write your characters writing their own fictional characters and keeping in mind how to keep it in their voices!) is matched when slogging through academic nonsense.


Since the crowd around here seems to skew older (and thereby in my head, more sensible when it comes to how they take their coffee and tea, though perhaps some of that is because I tend to imagine most older men as being noir detective-esque and very particular about how they take their coffee, probably because I grew up around men who had either made the morning ritual of brewing (no sugar, and no milk!!) an entrenched personality trait, or else literally drank out of the whole carafe) I’m kind of idly curious on how you take your drinks while writing/coding.

If I’m being a very responsible young woman (see, basically never) I’ll go for an iced matcha with plenty of milk and a spoon of sugar- until it resembles the inside flesh of a honeydew in colour, and that’ll keep me very ‘steady’ in terms of energy levels, avoiding the dreaded caffeine crash, though I need to drink way more of it to get an on par boost.

Normally, since I’m being a gremlin of an undergraduate, I’ll slam back coffee that looks more like a dessert than anything else, (my go to order is either a caramel frappe dumped into my hot pink My Melody tumbler I got from Hot Topic, or a vanilla sweet cream nitro cold brew with 2 pumps of vanilla syrup, 2 of the brown sugar syrup and extra sweet cream- yes, I’m that girl, but I typically order in ahead on the app and never mind waiting since I leave plenty of time to loiter around for it) unless I’m really crunching on deadlines- on which rare occasion you might find me drinking searingly hot black coffee and pulling faces- if you chug it fast enough it almost burns, you don’t have to taste any of it, hahaahha.

I think a special little treat coffee (see: the dessert abominations) are great for when I’m going through and reviewing/editing/brainstorming, the sort of work at the beginning and end where it’s fun and I could use a little pep but I don’t need to be shaken awake. When I’m in the grind-y middle, though, I do prefer a plainer coffee I can chug or a bunch of matcha tea to keep me going.

Anyways, all of this babble to ask- what’s your preferred way to take coffee/tea (or are you one of those mythical people who don’t need either to get through the day???), and do you feel like your preferences shift depending on what stage your writing’s in?


On second review, it might be a bit more than a little obvious I haven’t quite gotten through my morning (afternoon?) cup of coffee when I wrote this, hahaha. I tend to be more scatterminded when I’m sleepy.

Still, I do wonder if there’s anyone around here who doesn’t need caffeine to get through their projects and days. In which case, congratulations on the super power!


I have a cup of tea in the morning (usually Irish Breakfast or Earl Grey), then when my better half wakes up and makes coffee I’ll have a cup of coffee. More often than not I’ll have at least one more cuppa in the afternoon and sometimes I’ll have a cup of mint “tea” or some other uncaffeinated hot drink in the evening.


I don’t drink caffeinated beverages on a daily basis. I occasionally have tea, although typically a cup of vanilla chai or simple black tea with milk and whatever sweetener we have available at the time. This typically occurs in the evening with some sort of cookie or pastry, as the desert triggers my desire for a hot beverage in the first place. I do not drink coffee in any form. I honestly dislike the taste and can still detect it no matter how much I drown it in creamer and sugar. Besides, at a certain point, you’re drinking sweetened creamer lightly seasoned with coffee.

In the summer, my occasional desire for hot beverages completely evaporates. If I lived in a climate that was warm year-round, I’d probably never drink a hot beverage again. I might have a soda if I order a meal out and there are no other options besides water, but for all intents and purposes, I consume fairly little caffeine.

I know, blasphemy.


Guilty as charged! Most of my friends are taken aback by how pale I make up my coffee or tea at home, and by the fact I’m also lactose intolerant and despise most milk substitutes. (The ones I do like, like soy or sometimes oat, taste kinda nasty if you’re trying to 1:1 them for dairy milk, but are fine on their own.) Then again, I don’t think I’ve met any lactose intolerant person who takes it seriously. Cheese, icecream, and cream are all too yummy… The one person I knew with a dairy allergy did, but that’s probably because it was more severe.

Having a cup of tea with a little nibble on a cookie or pastry sounds like a delicious way to spend an evening, though! The temperatures never have much effect on what I’m drinking- I’ll gleefully drink iced slushies or iced coffee in the dead of Canadian winters while loitering in the snow, or searing hot coffee in the terrible summers.

Maybe the trick is just never getting into the habit to begin with- I find it hard to taper down (though I do twice a year to reset my caffeine tolerance, unlike my friends who, much to my horror, regularly consume 10 shots of expresso in their coffee… Usually in the summer and over winter break, when the migraines won’t impede my daily life too much) though those brief spans where I’m not mainlining coffee are quite refreshing.

Still, bravo for managing to still be productive and wakeful without it, hahahaha.

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Cheap wine is the only acceptable drink for priming the muse.


Oooh, something uncaffeinated that’s warm is lovely in the evening. In winter, when we happen to have hot chocolate mix around the house more often than not, I’ll make up a nice cup to wind down to, since I get sleepy if I get too warm, hahah. Nothing cozier than being wrapped up in a blanket watching the snow outside while you’ve got a nice drink!


A fan of the write drunk, edit sober crowd, I see! Do you have any particular preferences, or will any cheap wine do? Are you drinking to get tipsy and relax a little while writing, or drunk enough you’re bemused by what you-of-last-night wrote?

I’ve been in writing groups with people from both camps- though, oddly, mostly women writing steamy romance novels fell into the former and men writing memoirs or science fiction (soft, not hard, I imagine all the math and number crunching involved would be difficult to do while drunk) into the latter.

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I’m mostly kidding. Mostly. Well, partly kidding. I do seem to be more creative after a few glasses of boxed Pinot Grigio. Drunk writing is better but drunk coding is worse, so it’s a toss-up.


Obligatory xkcd link: xkcd: Ballmer Peak


I seldom drink caffeinated beverages for fear of developing a tolerance. That way I can rely on them when I really need them - the rare case of “I need to be somewhere, preferably awake, at an inconvenient time after having pulled an all-nighter,” for example - at which point my go-to beverage is the humble quadruple espresso.


You mean, with a shot of bourbon in it? :smoking:

I’m particular about how I take my coffee, when writing or otherwise. Starbucks seems to have taught a lot of people to be particular about their morning Joe, though.

I can write with a cocktail beside me, but not for long. Better to congratulate myself after writing with a good drink. “I don’t like writing, I like having written,” and all that.


I’ve never tried coffee or tea (or alcohol, for that matter) in my life. Actually, it’s pretty rare that I drink something that’s not cold water. I’ll have a Dr. Pepper a couple of times a year, but I’ve never really noticed any effect. I’m not quite sure what “get through the day” means. It’s not like humans evolved to need drugs for normal functioning, and I don’t think any of us needed them at age four.

I’m awake from about 6:30 to 10:00, and work 40 hours a week at a desk job. I’m something of an evening person; I’m very cold in the morning, and my body temperature and energy level seem to go up in the night. I formerly slogged through large quantites of academic nonsense (I have a math degree) and I do occasional creative work. But I really don’t relate to the idea of taking something “to keep going”. What happens when you do your work without drinking those drinks?


Kidding again, kinda. It’s the wages of addiction. You get dependent and then things (like your brain) don’t work right without the caffeine, or the booze, or whatever your addictive poison is.


Oh, wow, the idea of someone having never tried any of those is so foreign to me.

I usually go through withdrawal symptoms if I don’t have at least a cup of coffee in a day- wicked migraines, nausea, heartbeat irregularities, sweating, the works. I find it really hard to focus, too- I’m quite absentminded and prone to going off on random tangents without it, (though I think it’s mostly because when I’m too tired or unfocused to maintain filters, my mouth (or hands, if I’m typing) just spits out everything meandering around in my thoughts.

A part of it is just enjoying how coffee tastes, and getting reliant on it- but I also find it helps when I do have to resort to taking painkillers. There’s a whole muddle of research about NSAIDs interacting with caffeine, (though I try not to take NSAIDs due to it being rough on the liver/not a great long term solution/exacerbating bleeding) and I’d say that after my first series of catastrophic hemorrhaging back in highschool and longterm joint damage from it- that was probably when I started getting heavily reliant on caffeine to drag myself through the day.

To clarify- I have an untreated, incurable genetic disorder that leads to spontaneous internal (external if I get injured, but the internal bleeding is more of an issue, especially into joints) hemorrhaging and impaired wound healing, so I’ve got a lot of chronic pain and baseline exhaustion that comes with it. I try to be diligent about sleep hygiene, but even with perfect sleep, I still wake up in pain and exhausted on the daily.


Sorry to hear about the genetic disorder! I really hope I didn’t sound judgmental. I’m not in perfect health myself, but I have nothing like that to deal with.

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Very seriously, I do think intoxicants can have a valuable role in an author’s life. If you have to work 8 hours a day to pay rent, then deal with family stuff, leaving only an hour before bedtime, and yet you need to connect with your creative instinct, then there are various options you might choose to bat away the dead hand of routine.

I’m from the UK and our traditional culture enthusiastically embraces alcohol. Just as Eskimos have 100 different words for snow, we in England and Scotland certainly understand and can sometimes articulate in every manifold dialect of hangover.

I also have a theory that being hungover is a sort of simulation of the kind of attrition that warfare inflicts on the human individual. So if you are Viking-descended, but not allowed to train all the time in combat, because your folks are poor and can’t underwrite the possibility you might hurt the progeny of a more important family; maybe you can still harden yourself to the demands of a military expedition by partying hard tonight and laughing through the pain of the next morning.

I think the trick is never to let the drunk-writer write cheques the drunk-coder can’t cash :grin:


Hell, this happens to sober-writer-me on the regular.


I like my coffee really strong and then I add heavy whipping cream and liquid Sucralose. Daily brew is Folgers “dark silk” with some cinnamon sprinkled on the grounds, but on special occasions I will brew Green Mountain’s “Dark Magic” blend.

I usually nurse a tall cup of coffee throughout my daytime work at home shift and occasionally have an evening cup if I don’t need to go to sleep and wake up early.


Somehow I had a feeling that you’d like strong coffee! That sounds delicious, though, with the whipping cream. I haven’t heard of sprinkling cinnamon over grounds before, but that’s intriguing.