Skip to content

National Coffee Break Day is all about remembering to enjoy life, avoid being a workaholic and just take a little coffee break each day.

History of National Coffee Break Day

The origins of the coffee break comes with different stories and anecdotes that may have contributed to this American tradition.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was noticed by a few different employers that having a break for coffee in the mid-morning and the mid-afternoon would encourage workers in factories to work harder. Whether negotiated by the workers or encouraged by the managers, the tradition of taking a coffee break has become an important part of work culture in many American workplaces and companies.

The term “coffee break” was coined in the early 1950s when it was used in an ad campaign by the Pan-American Coffee Bureau. As coffee breaks continued to become the norm in American society, coffee carts and coffee stands made their way onto city streets. And, of course, by the 1970s, companies like Peet’s and Starbucks had made it even more delicious and convenient to take a coffee break.

In British culture, the idea of taking a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack time became popular in the 19th century. While it was originally taken as a break for workers and may have even included whiskey, eventually it turned into a morning tea or coffee break which has often been called “elevenses”. This, of course, would take place at 11:00 am.

National Coffee Break Day was founded to act as a reminder that the coffee break is a daily perk that is worth celebrating. Take some time today to be sure to take a little break, grab a cup of coffee and raise awareness for the day!

National Coffee Break Day Timeline

Late 1800s

Coffee breaks in Stoughton, Wisconsin

Wives who help with harvesting tobacco, negotiate breaks in the mornings and afternoons to check on their homes where they enjoy a cup of coffee.[1]


Germans begin enjoying the Kaffeeklatsch

The literal translation of this word is “coffee-gossip” and it’s a time for people to enjoy a cup of coffee and a piece of cake.[2]


Barcalo Manufacturing uses coffee breaks

With the idea that it would give a caffeine boost and motivate workers in Buffalo, New York, coffee breaks are used.


Term “coffee break” becomes mainstream

An advertising campaign by the Pan-American Coffee Bureau is released: “Give yourself a Coffee-Break—and Get What Coffee Gives to You”.


US vs. Phil Greinetz court case is decided

In an unusual court case against the owner of Los Wigwam Weavers, the court decided that if mandatory coffee breaks were required, they had to be paid breaks.[3]

How to Celebrate National Coffee Break Day

Whether in the morning or in the afternoon, taking a coffee break is just the beginning of some of the important ways to celebrate National Coffee Break Day. Get involved with celebrating the day using some of these ideas:

Remember How Beneficial Coffee Breaks Are

The idea for coffee breaks may have been established because it was helpful for giving workers energy and allowing them to be more productive at work. However, there are also some other benefits that come from taking a coffee break at work.

On National Coffee Break Day, consider some of these reasons to take a coffee break:

  • De-stress and relax. A morning or afternoon coffee break can be a great way to reduce work-related stress. This can be especially true if the coffee break is used to spend a bit of time doing breathing exercises and meditating.
  • Build workplace friendships. When coffee breaks are taken at the same time as coworkers, it can be a good time to bond, share personal stories and be an encouragement in each others’ lives.
  • Increase focus and memory. Although it’s best not to overdo it (to avoid the jitters), low doses of caffeine can actually help with work productivity by increasing the ability for the mind to focus and also memory retention.
  • Take an opportunity for exercise and movement. Especially for jobs where workers spend a large amount of time sitting at desks, taking a coffee break is an important reminder to get out from behind that desk and get those legs moving for a few minutes.

Learn About the Benefits of Coffee

One interesting way to celebrate National Coffee Break Day might be to get a bit more educated on the various ways that coffee is able to bring some benefits to life. Most people know that coffee contains caffeine that can give an energy boost to get you through the day, but there are some other benefits too, including:

  • Coffee may lower diabetes health risks

    Drinking the caffeine in coffee on a regular basis may be linked with a decreased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This might be due to the fact that coffee helps to preserve the function of the beta cells in the pancreas.

  • Coffee may help with weight management

    Studies have shown that regular coffee consumption may be associated with the decrease in body fat, particularly when it comes to men.

  • Coffee may lower the risk of depression

    One study has shown that people who drink four cups of coffee per day may find that they have a significantly lowered risk of depression.

  • Coffee may promote brain health

    The risk of developing brain diseases, especially Parkinson’s disease, may be significantly decreased by the regular consumption of caffeinated coffee.

Take a Coffee Break

For those who tend to be workaholics, National Take a Coffee Break Day is a great time to act as a reminder that it’s important to have work/life balance by taking a break on a regular basis. Whether it’s brewing a cup of coffee in the breakroom coffee pot or picking up a to-go cup from a nearby coffee cart, taking a coffee break in the morning or afternoon is the perfect way to celebrate!

And it’s important to remember that even those who don’t love to drink coffee can still participate by brewing up a hot cup of tea or enjoying a little snack!

Buy Coffee for the Whole Office

Those who are supervisors or bosses might want to make an extra gesture on National Coffee Break Day by buying coffee for the crew! Whether it’s taking special orders from Starbucks for each individual person’s favorite coffee, or ordering in a large coffee-to-go box from a place like Panera, with a load of bagels and cream cheese, the staff will certainly appreciate it. And perhaps, in honor of this day, give the group an extra few minutes to enjoy their coffee break while promoting healthy work habits in the office.

National Coffee Break Day FAQs

Are coffee breaks paid?

Although federal law in the US does not require coffee or smoking breaks, when companies do offer them, they must be paid.[1]

How long is a coffee break?

Coffee breaks typically run between ten and twenty minutes.[2]

Where did coffee breaks originate?

Taking a break to have a cuppa has been a long tradition, but the modern day idea of a coffee break in the US may have originated with some Norwegian immigrant women in Stoughton, Wisconsin in the late 1800s.[3]

What is the best time for a coffee break?

Some researchers believe that coffee is the most effective when consumed between 9:30 and 11:30 am.[4]

Also on ...

View all holidays
View all holidays

We think you may also like...