Coffee Breaks could do with an overhaul

Right… this has been bugging me for a while now. Let’s name the elephant in the room: Coffee Breaks are, in their current state, a game breaking mechanic. Last night’s event was yet another perfect illustration:

We were riding in cat B on the Stage 2 Ride of Tour de Zwift (Rolling Highlands) and were cruising along in a 30-40men group for the the lead-in & most of the 2 first laps. But then we hit the Scotland Leg Snapper (the 270° bend, not sure how else to refer to it)… 3 or 4 people activited the Coffee Break which lasted all the way over Breakaway Brae. Obviously, this has nothing to do with the spirit in which the Coffee Break feature was implemented and everything to do with people just freeloading & counting on people to carry them over the hardest part of the course but ok… it’s not a race, w/e.
The real problem however ensued when at some point the Coffee Break riders (unintentionally) formed a barrier in the 2nd half of the group… they dropped a gap to riders ahead and due to changes in PD4.1 and the location on the course where everyone already puts in a decent effort it became problematic to overtake these riders as well. This resulted in about 8-10 riders getting knocked off the back of the larger group.

Now, I am not against the Coffee Break mechanic at it’s core. The idea behind the Coffee Break was to keep people in the group they were in while giving them the chance to refill their bottles, make a quick bathroom break… w/e they needed. There’s nothing wrong with this per sé, the question is however, with most Zwift activities being shorter then 1 hour & the teleportation option to pace partner’s available, isn’t keeping this mechanic in game doing more harm then good?
The mechanic is being widely abused, it’s not a coincidence these Breaks are often mass popped on uphill sections…

Something’s gotta give:

  • In free ride, you really really don’t need this Coffee Break mechanic anymore tbf. If you’re riding with a pace partner you can just teleport back to them after your break (ofc you’re getting no free km’s while not riding this way). This feature was implemented after the Coffee Break but would’ve nullified the need for the Coffee Break if implemented first imo.
  • The only place where Coffee Breaks, in their intended use, would really shine are in long group rides. Last night’s ride for the vast majority of the field in cat B took between 45min-1hour. Is there really a need for a Coffee Break on rides this short?

Possible solutions?

  • 1 Coffee Break every hour, lasting 5 minutes max. Once used, the hour starts running from scratch after which you get another 5 minutes. This effectively disables Coffee Breaks for all events under 1 hour, it also reduces the frequency in which they can be used, reducing the potential options for abuse. It also reduces the chance people will just bomb a load of breaks at exactly the same time potentially harming the very group they’re trying to hang on to with their Coffee Break…
  • Maybe as an option: additional Coffee Breaks possible but at the cost of let’s say 1000XP (50km worth of riding). This will maybe disencourage some using the mechanic for the wrong reasons…

My favourite of your two “solutions”:

  • Option 2: give a cost to it. For the one time I’ve used a coffee break in the TdZ (for turning my fan on), I’d happily pay XP or drops.

Easiest “solution”:

  • If you can’t beat 'em, join em! :wink:

But my solution is I look at it like this:

  • In real life, some people have huge equipment advantages over me. I’ve been on group rides and entered TTs on an aluminium-framed bike against people who can afford aero bikes worth thousands more than I can. No-one has ever tried to fix this imbalance for me.
  • In Zwift, some people use coffee breaks more (or less) than me. Some people’s weight will be inaccurate (in both directions). Some people will have mis-calibrated trainers (in both directions). Some people are cycling at higher/lower altitudes and in higher/lower temperatures than me.
  • I look at the differences on Zwift the same way I do the bike advantages/disadvantages in real life: I focus on my riding, and accept that it’s easier to change my own attitude about other people than to change everyone to be like me.

I’ve not yet used the coffee break, but I had a time on Wednesday where I thought it would be helpful. I was on the 100km 3R Steady State Ride, and I was expecting a package to be delivered that needed a signature. So I was really glad coffee stop was there for this case. What ended up happening is they came but I didn’t hear them knock over the noise of my fans, but that’s a different problem :slight_smile:

From what I’ve seen, most coffee stops are deployed on hills, which leads me to believe that they are mostly used to take a break on a hard section of a hill and not quite as often to refill a water bottle or answer the door. They do work for their intended purpose, but are probably primarily used for a different one.

But, it’s just a game mechanic now, and they can’t be used in races, so I don’t care that much. I just expect them to be deployed on hills in my non-races.


option 3, scrap them completly, you should make sure your bottles etc are full before you start the ride, I mean in real life if you take a break and the rest of the group don’t you end up with 2 options:

  1. Catch up
  2. Ride solo

Counterpoint: Yet another example of ways in which Zwift is better than real life.



I think that the suggestion of charging XP to use a coffee stop is a great idea! I’ve never used one, but I appreciate that they exist just in case I am ever in a situation in which I’ve forgotten something or needed to answer the door, and I would gladly pay XP to use one if I truly needed to.

Honestly, I don’t really care that folks are using them to take a break during a hill, even though I am usually one of those people at the front on a Tour de Zwift ride, pretending its a race. But I am getting tired of reading all of the complaining in the chat every single time this happens, haha!


So you were racing on a group ride ?
Coffee breaks are not allowed on races.
no fix required.


Try to actually read my post completely instead of just 1 line… then reply.

TL;DR: no I was not “racing”. I was doing a group ride… right untill my group got blasted apart by Coffee Break (ab)users.

I don’t think the coffee feature is broken. I also believe you should NOT get Experience/mileage/elevation while on coffee break.
Coffee breaks can only be deployed on rides. And yes, they are usually used on the climbs. On the TdZ stage 1, couple of people tried the coffee break on me while I was passing them up the climb. I just dropped to 0 watts for just a second or two. Then started up again. They stayed at 0 watts and lost their coffee break. Obviously that won’t work if you are in a big group.
And really, who cares if your group gets broken up. If people want to reform they will. In rides like that you can always drop back and form another group. I treat rides like a workout - not a race. Zone 2 for anything flat. Maybe throw in a Zone 5 sprint on the sprint section/finish, and Zone 4+ for the climbs. I always do the longer rides and as a Cat D, usually alone after the first 5 minutes. But I know if I keep doing this, I will be Cat C in a month. Or I could wait for another rider on the climb and use my Coffee break - and stay Cat D forever.

Congrats on B Cat!


How does a group get blasted apart from people using a coffee break?

I’d have to experiment but i’ve never noticed it being harder to pass somebody on a coffee break.


I can see it. If you get 4-6 coffee breakers tagged onto a couple of strong climbers doing say 4.2 w/kg up a hill and the remaining riders behind can only produce 3.8-4, it would break things apart. And all the coffee riders really need to do is quickly tag onto those who appear to be the strongest climbers. If the coffee break didn’t exist the 4.2’s might just break away by themselves dropping everyone. The coffee riders (assuming they are lesser fitness) would likely stay with the 3.8-4.0 group.
And this bigger group could catch the climbers on the downhill. Keeping the back more or less together until the next climb.



It’s a group ride, so why would you care ?
Just do your own thing and enjoy it for what it is, don’t worry about other people.
As you say, you’re not racing, so why should it matter that other people are using the coffee break feature?


Do you get to choose a rider when using a coffee break?

As a start, I like the 1 per hour idea simply because that seems like it would be very easy to implement. Every 30 minutes just seems too frequent.


For this instance, and maybe always, perhaps the 5km from finish is too short and just increase this to you having to be 10+ km from the finish on a distance-based group ride.

I think what I dislike about them most is how in-your-face the symbol is when they’re being used. I don’t race and don’t really care what others are doing in group rides/events until we hit a climb, a bunch of people start using them and my screen clogs up with them and feathers.


I imagine you tag onto the nearest rider. But I can’t be sure, I have never used it. All I know is if someone coffee ride attaches themselves to me, if I stop, they stop and if I then go, they still stay stopped. So the coffee ride attachment breaks when the other rider goes to 0 watt/speed.

Yes. Rather than the powerup symbol, maybe a small coffee symbol where the workout icon used to be on the riders nearby list.


What if there was just no symbol at all, so you had no idea if other riders were using the coffee stop (aside, perhaps, from their avatar stopping pedaling)? That might actually eliminate much of the griping about it. :thinking:

Maybe just do this for all power ups.


i don’t use it and don’t really care if others do but that aside, maybe for every minute you use it it adds 10% of your weight to you for a set period of time after so you have to work harder to keep up once pedaling again?