While many of you are likely to consume a large mug of lemon water in the morning coffee is most likely an important part of your morning routine. I, for one, like to have a massive drink of water right after waking up, but for my morning to start I need a sip of the hot dark substance we all love. For me – and for many of you, I think – coffee has become a morning ritual, something I need every morning to truly wake up and start functioning normally.
The (very short) history of coffee
Coffee – or better said its miraculous properties – has been discovered in Ethiopia, by a series of local shepherds noticing their goats being unusually active after eating the bright red berries of a tree. History does not record how a goat’s favorite snack has become one of the most used products of the world, but the fact remains: it has soon become a part of the Ethiopian diet, and from there it has spread all over the world.
After a series of ups and downs, coffee has become the second most traded commodity of the world, only overtaken by oil (it seems that humanity has a thing for black liquids)
How is coffee produced?
Coffee grows on trees. It is part of the Rubiacee family, meaning that it’s related to Cinchona, the source of quinine (the stuff that makes tonic water bitter, and also happens to treat malaria) and Gardenia (a decorative plant with great looks and a mesmerizing smell).
The red berries of the coffee tree are picked, dried and stripped down to the core (the coffee bean itself), which is either sold green, or roasted to the desired degree.
What types of coffee drinks are there?
From ristretto (an Italian coffee variety made with a very small quantity of water, thus being incredibly concentrated) to American style coffee (which is basically an espresso diluted with an equal amount of hot water) there are a huge variety of coffee drinks. Their production method differs as well – dripping, espresso, French press, or direct boiling in the Turkish style are perhaps the best known. For a complete list of coffee drinks take a look at this WikiPedia.
Which coffee drink has the most caffeine?
When it comes to coffee varieties, Robusta (the second most cultivated kind, with a more bitter taste) has a higher caffeine content, so drinks made using it are usually higher on the stuff. But a lot depends on the method used to brew the drink itself. Slower methods like dripping allow the water to extract more caffeine from the bean, but espresso contains more caffeine per ounce. You know what? I just might…
How does coffee affect our health?
With such a mix of chemicals, coffee is bound to have effects on our bodies beyond just helping us stay awake. Well, it does – and affects different parts of our body in different ways.
Caffeine reaches our brain rather quickly and acts as a stimulant, which is the effect we all love it for. It helps us stay awake longer and be more alert. The bad part is that we can become addicted to caffeine – while too much of it can give us headaches, withdrawing it when we are used to it can do the same (and have other negative effects, like anxiety, irritability and drowsiness).
The digestive system
Coffee is known to increase the amount of stomach acid – this is why you get that burning feeling if you drink it on an empty stomach. Thus, coffee – or other caffeinated drinks – are not recommended for those with ulcers or acid reflux. Besides, caffeine has a diuretic effect, telling your body to get rid of its water. This is perhaps one of the reasons coffee is not a great choice when you’re thirsty – and neither are caffeinated soft drinks.
The circulatory system
The caffeine in the coffee can raise blood temperature for a short time after it’s consumed, but in the long run it hasn’t been proven to have any effect on it. Abusing of caffeine can lead to a pounding heart and possibly breathing trouble – so don’t overdose on caffeine, no matter how tempting it may sound.
Effects on your unborn baby
If you are pregnant and have a double espresso at the coffee shop, know that your baby is also having a caffeine rush, as the substance crosses through the placenta. It has been shown that caffeine can cause the increase of heart rate and the metabolism of the fetus – the effects are similar to what you feel when drinking coffee. Doctors say that a small quantity of caffeine is fine, but overdosing on it can slow the development of the baby and might even make it harder for you to get pregnant.