The effects of short-term caffeine deprivation on mood, withdrawal symptoms and psychomotor performance were studied in habitual coffee drinkers. Thirty-one male and female coffee drinkers were tested twice at midday (1130 to 1330 h) 4 h after double-blind administration of 250 mg of caffeine or placebo. Mood and withdrawal symptoms reports were collected by questionnaires. Psychomotor performance was tested with a brief computerized test battery, and causal blood pressure was measured. Caffeine deprivation was associated with decreased vigor and increased fatigue and with symptoms including sleepiness and yawning. Blood pressure was lower by 5-6 mm Hg. No changes in psychomotor performance were observed. Even short periods of caffeine deprivation, equivalent in length to missing regular morning coffee, can produce noticeable unpleasant caffeine withdrawal symptoms in habitual coffee drinkers. Such symptoms may be common side effects of habitual caffeine consumption that contribute to the maintenance of this behavior.