Join me in coming out of the java closet; let’s talk about coffee.
Always on the lookout for interesting and new facts about health, food, and exercise, to share on our “Fact of the Week” I regularly come across information about coffee while researching and writing our posts. If you follow us on Facebook, you’ve probably seen some of my caffeine related posts, along with a lot of other quirky, scientific facts.
Reading the latest research findings that stream across my screen helped me to realize that coffee is actually as complex a topic as wine. Being a fairly laid back guy, the last thing I need is to ingest a depressant that’s going to slow down the functions of my central nervous system – I decided to choose coffee over wine for my research.
The biochemist in me is driven to explore caffeine. Coffee is a $70 billion industry worldwide and the second most tradable commodity after oil. I simply can’t ignore this fascinating molecule. Caffeine is the most widely used (or abused) psychoactive addictive drug in the world – and it’s not regulated like alcohol or drugs – a fact supporting my claim that it’s a worldwide addiction.
I want to explore:
- The origins of coffee. Did you know that the word coffee comes from the Arabic word kaweh meaning strength or vigor?
- Growing methods and environmental impact.
- Are you really helping the farmers in third world countries by buying fair trade coffee?
- Various types of coffee beans.
- How brewing methods affect taste and strength.
- Studies and findings on the health benefits and risks of caffeine.
- The café culture.
I’m fascinated by my original research findings. I never thought of drinking coffee as an ancient ritual, or about the fact that it’s one of the most consumed foods in the world. Many of you are as curious as I am about coffee, so let me do the research and share my discoveries with you in periodic blog posts and in some “Facts of the Week.”
Until recently, I was not much of a coffee drinker. I grew up in a home enjoying the delicious aroma of my parents’ daily morning brew, but I didn’t have the desire to drink it. Coffee simply smelled much better than it tasted. I will admit that there were times during college when coffee was an absolute necessity to get me to my morning classes. Later, I became a social coffee drinker, occasionally having a cup of coffee after dinner while out with friends, or as a needed energy boost when balancing entrepreneurship with husbanding and fatherhood. Even so, I hadn’t become a regular coffee drinker. Invested in good health, I believed what I had always read and heard about the evil that brews from coffee.
A decade or two later, studies started revealing that drinking coffee in moderation is actually beneficial. While this was an interesting discovery, I still wasn’t hooked on the deliciously aromatic beverage.
To kick off my first “Coffee Chat” post, I’ll share with you the story of how coffee became a part of my daily routine.
It’s my oldest son’s fault – he got me started on coffee when he was three.
While my wife was pregnant with our second child, she was restricted to bed rest. We decided it would be best if she stayed with my parents in Long Island while I worked in the city. I would take Fridays off to spend the weekend visiting and to spend time with my son.
Early one morning, on our way to a nearby park, my son and I stopped at a local cafe to get a cup of coffee for me, and a soda water for him. When we arrived at the park, we sat on a bench like two regular guys, drinking our morning brews. It was a bonding moment. I didn’t realize just how much that moment meant to him until the following Friday.
The very next Friday, we headed to the park once again. This time I didn’t need a java jolt, so I planned to forego the café that morning. I got another kind of jolt instead. When my son realized that we were skipping the coffee and soda water, he threw a fit. I explained to him that I didn’t want coffee that morning, yet he was determined to recreate the previous Friday morning experience exactly as it had happened before. Anyone who has spent time with a three year old won’t blame me for having immediately rerouted back to the coffee house.
By the time my second child was born, I was trained into a habitual morning java drinker.
Here I am today, a serial coffee drinker, and a health and fitness expert whose entire business is based on making safe choices. So yes, I want to make sure that my new habit is not harmful, motivating me to explore the scientific, cultural, and environmental aspects of caffeine. I hope you’ll join me on this journey of discovery. If you haven’t subscribed to this blog yet, just click on the link to the right at the top of the page, and let’s get started.