As I once said before I have a reputation for drinking coffee on Twitter. I did find this posting by AJ Cann on his blog very amusing, certainly made my day.
The research Alan links to though does have a point about the interaction which takes place whilst you drink a coffee. Yes some of it is social, some of it is work and for learners some of it will be learning.
The point is that sometimes you need to take a break from your work, and the social act of drinking coffee together can actually improve workflows as it gives you time to reflect, gather your thoughts, bounce ideas off others, gather new information.
As well as having a positive impact on work and working, the same principles can apply to learning.
So does your institution provide ample spaces for drinking coffee which are beneficial to working together and learning together?