Hooray! Today is National Coffee Day! Today, September 29th, is a day to honor coffee and all it has done; it brightens our mornings, keeps us awake on long drives, comforts us in the rain and snow and steaming mugs of freshly brewed coffee has been known to bring together family and friends.
According to National Geographic, around 800 A.D. in Ethiopia, goats were eating the berries of the coffee plant and “dancing” from shrub to shrub. Interested, the goatherd also ate some of the coffee berries and was soon dancing with them. The coffee we know today, roasted beans brewed with water, was made in Arabia about 200 years later, and the love and desire of coffee has taken on a religious devotion since. Coffee beans are now exported and imported all over the world and the variety is impressive. Also impressive is the range of ways we drink coffee; espresso in Italy, chicory coffee in Louisiana, black or sweetened, every coffee lover has their preference.
Caffeine in coffee, and coffee itself, has undergone a series of debates and happily now the status of both is mainly positive. Caffeine in coffee is addictive, and can lead to a painful withdrawal with symptoms including; irritability, headache, fatigue, lack of alertness and flu-like symptoms in addition to cardiac and arrhythmic abnormalities when consumed in large quantities.
Coffee itself has many positive benefits when consumed in smaller quantities, even pregnant woman can safely enjoy up to 300mg of caffeine daily (roughly 1-2, 6 ounce cups of coffee) although it should be noted that no coffee for pregnant women is safest for the fetus. Caffeine in coffee is seen to potentially protect the body from nervous system disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, though more research is needed. The antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols found in coffee may protect the body from cancers effecting men and women; prostate, breast, ovarian, lung and bladder, though again more research is needed. Most recently 2-3 daily cups of coffee a day has been seen to decrease the risk of depression in women by 15% and up to 4 cups a day may decrease the risk of depression by up to 20%.
Personally, one of my favorite cups of coffee comes from the West Side Market, City Roast Coffee and Tea. It has amazing flavors of coffee and tea and all are fair trade. There is something about the sensation of walking through the market, with a hot cup of coffee, looking at all the meats, seafood’s, cheeses and breads, watching people buy their meals and discuss prices that is simple and reminiscent of when coffee was first enjoyed thousands of years ago. A good cup of coffee can make your day; don’t forget to celebrate National Coffee Day your favorite way!