Anyone who has been involved in a late-night project knows that caffeine is one hell of a drug. That magical chemical can make it possible to put off sleep and get an extra ounce of work done rather than crashing into sleep.

appmatBut caffeine comes with a burden: it’s an equal-opportunity awakener. The same mocha that got someone through a late night at the office could be precisely the same thing that kept them staring at the ceiling in bed a few hours later.

Up Coffee is a free iPhone app designed to give users a visual representation of their daily caffeine intake, and offer them the tools to know how that intake will affect them. Users tell the app what they’ve been drinking, whether that’s a bottle of Coke or a quadruple-shot latté, and Up Coffee will provide them with a visual representation of the caffeine in their bloodstream, as well as an estimate of how it’s going to affect their bedtime. It’ll also tell users if a particular dose of caffeine could make them jittery, too.

UPCoffee_beaker_screenOnce a user has logged their caffeine, the app will show them a graph that shows them how long it’ll remain in their bloodstream, so that coffee addicts can see just how long it’ll take their latest cup to wear off.

The app integrates with Jawbone’s Up and Up24 fitness bands, so it’s possible for those users to gain insights about how their caffeine intake affects their sleep. As with many biological processes, everyone is different. While Up Coffee works to provide the best insights it can, it isn’t perfect for everyone right off the bat, though the app works to calibrate itself to each user as time goes on.

The app contains a database full of caffeinated products, including Starbucks beverages, sodas, energy drinks and caffeinated supplements like No-Doz and Excedrin. Users can also add custom products to the app’s database to log their favorite caffeinated concoction.

My chief frustration with the app is that it’s difficult for me to figure out just how much a dose of caffeine will affect my ability to sleep until after I’ve logged it. While it’s possible to log a double shot of espresso before drinking it and then delete the logged item if it turns out to be too much, that takes several taps to figure out.


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For people who don’t use Jawbone’s Up wristbands, the app may also leave something to be desired. While it provides Up users with insights about how their caffeine intake affects their sleep, there’s no way to manually add sleep to the app in order to achieve similar results. Jawbone clearly intends this app to be a promotional tool for its wearable device, and while it’s completely understandable that they might leave some functionality out for users who aren’t wearing an Up, the absence is still frustrating.

Still, this seems like a great way for regular caffeine hounds to determine how their intake habits affect their lives, and whether it really is a good idea to have that late-night Macchiato.

Up Coffee is available for free from the iOS App Store.

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Comments

  • Kenneth Hagist

    I use this app. I am curious to know which option I should use for the Caffeine sensitive setting. They provide 3 options but how does one know this or what Jawbone’s definition of each level of sensitivity is?

    • http://www.plasticbag.org Tom Coates

      Basically choose the setting that you feel instinctively represents your response to Caffeine – one of the earlier settings in that place was ‘as sensitive as my friends’ / ‘more sensitive than my friends’ / ‘less sensitive than my friends’ which might have been clearer.

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