Things generally hang around in your stomach for around 4 hours or so (depending on what it is) so I would imagine keeping that much distance between them would keep everything spaced apart. Thats just a guess though.
I've heard that it's not good to drink with your meals because it dilutes the acids necessary for digestion...I'm going to go do some googling just out of curiosity on the subject, specifically about the coffee/tea...
According to the British Food Standards Agency: "it's better not to drink tea or coffee at mealtimes or for half an hour afterwards. This is because tea and coffee contain compounds called polyphenols that might reduce the amount of iron we can absorb from food." Eating vitamin C-rich foods with a meal helps the absorption of iron.
*sips tea* I usually drink my tea before I eat in the morning. I've been told that it's good to drink water with meals though, otherwise you're likely to overeat. I eat less food when I drink a lot of water.