How Long Does It Take for Coffee to Kick In

Do you enjoy drinking coffee regularly? If so, you may wonder how long the caffeine effects last in the body. Before going into full gear, caffeine takes some time to circulate.

It essentially acts as an antagonist of adenosine receptors after being ingested into your body. While caffeine prevents activation by binding to these receptors, it will start working after several minutes. Sometimes it starts to work after 20 minutes, and other times it may take 45 minutes.

This raises the question: How exactly does it take for caffeine to kick in? You might also want to know how long symptoms last in your body. In this article, we will reveal many interesting things about this topic.

How Does Caffeine Work?

First things first, let’s shed some light on caffeine and the way it works. As one of the most active compounds in coffee, caffeine is a nervous system stimulant that can dramatically increase brain activity. In addition to keeping us focused and awake, this powerful stimulant gives us more energy to work and play.
It can increase heart rate and blood pressure while stimulating the central nervous system at the same time. This is possible thanks to its ability to block adenosine receptors. Caffeine prevents adenosine from making the brain drowsy by latching onto these receptors. That can make a difference in the way your brain works.
Caffeine doesn't only occur in coffee. It can also be found in tea leaves and cocoa beans. This crystalline compound is often added to coffee tea, cola, and in just about every energy drink. Some drugs contain caffeine too.

What Are Alternatives to Caffeine?

The effects of caffeine can be experienced shortly after consuming it. For example, it can do a great job of improving physical performance, enhancing cognitive function, reducing fatigue, and increasing mental alertness.
While caffeine has many health benefits, some people stay away from it. If you avoid consuming caffeine, the good news is that vitamins are a good alternative. This is especially true for Vitamin B12. It is capable of giving you almost the same energy boost.

How Long Does It Take for Caffeine to Start Working?

To feel the impact of caffeine depends on many factors like levels of concentration in the blood, your caffeine metabolism, age, body type, genes, and so on.
In general, it takes 15-20 minutes for caffeine to work. The effects of a cup of coffee are usually observable after that time in most people. However, it varies from person to person since caffeine tolerance is different between individuals.
While some heavy coffee drinkers need greater amounts of caffeine for optimal wellness, others feel energized after only one cup of coffee. Most people consume from 150 to 250 mg of caffeine daily. This results in a slower metabolism in comparison with individuals whose daily intake of caffeine is only 50 mg, for example.

The less you consume caffeine, the faster you get to excrete and metabolize it. Nevertheless, we all start to absorb it almost immediately after starting to drink coffee or caffeinated beverages. That’s because caffeine quickly passes through our epithelial tissues like the mouth lining, stomach, and throat.

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How Long Does Caffeine Effects Last In the Human Body?

Studies show that the half-life of caffeine is from 5 to 6 hours on average. Half-life is defined as the time required for a substance to decrease by one-half. Thus, caffeine will stay in your body for about five hours before it gets metabolized.
For instance, your body will have 4 mg of caffeine after this amount of time when you consume 8 mg of caffeine. In most people, 50 percent of the entire caffeine dosage ingested gets cleared in about 5 hours. However, it takes from 8 hours to 2 days for the body to get rid of the stimulant altogether. The caffeine effects will completely wear off after that period.

It should be noted that this applies to healthy persons. The half-life of caffeine is much longer in people with liver disease. It can be up to 170 hours in some individuals who have health issues, especially liver problems.
The liver uses the CYP1A2 gene to dissolve caffeine molecules in the system. People with defective genes need more time to break them down. This results in caffeine sensitivity that typically manifests as insomnia, headaches, or anxiousness.

What Can Prolong the Effects of Caffeine?

Caffeine may stay longer in the body sometimes. Its effects are short or prolonged, depending on some factors. These factors include:


  • Build or body type — The heavier and bigger people generally break down the caffeine faster. This happens because body fat has an impact on caffeine clearance and metabolism.
  • Age — The caffeine half-life in adults is roughly five hours, while it increases to 80 hours in kids and infants. As a general rule of thumb, the older we get, the faster our bodies dissolve the caffeine.
  • Genes — The ability of the body to metabolize caffeine differs based on our genetics as well.
  • Type of food or beverage consumed — You’ll feel the effects of caffeine faster when drinking coffee or caffeinated beverages on an empty stomach. It will take more time for caffeine (a few extra hours) to go full blast when eating fiber-rich food.
  • Health condition — As mentioned above, individuals with impaired liver need more time to metabolize caffeine. People with kidney impairments also break down the caffeine at a slower rate.
  • Tobacco and drugs — Some medicines like contraceptives can increase the clearance rate, while others can speed up the caffeine clearance from your body. When it comes to tobacco, non-smokers usually have a slower caffeine metabolism than smokers.


To sum up, it takes approximately 20 min for coffee to kick in. This depends on caffeine tolerance and concentration. Once the caffeine finds its way into your body, it will stay there for about 340 minutes before being broken down. Factors like your health condition, age, genes, and body type can prolong its effects, so these figures should not be taken as given.