I wake up some mornings and sit and have my coffee and look out at my garden, and I go ‘Remember how good this is because you can lose it.’
– Jim Carrey-Canadian-American actor/comedian
Every morning a cup of coffee is delivered to my bedside table. I can’t tell you how addictive and appreciated it is, so much more so than just providing a morning legal stimulant. I grew up in a family where coffee was served in the morning and again at four o’clock in the afternoon. The tradition may have been set before my grandmother’s time but it definitely was entrenched by the time I came along. So, one morning last week while drinking my coffee I was thinking about the joy of coffee, the social aspect of coffee, the people I know who love coffee, and the various kinds of coffee, as well as the methods of making coffee. I decided to delve into a little coffee history. My resources were of course the internet and most particularly Wikipedia and sources beyond.
Starting with the name “java.” Coffee was growing more popular in the 1800’s. The Indonesian island of Java produced most of the commercial coffee plants at the time. The name stuck as sort of a slang word for coffee. Coffee has a lot of nicknames the world over such as: Joe, brew, daily grind, rocket fuel, and on and on. Sometimes coffee is referred to as “cuppa” though in England cuppa would be a cup of tea.
In 1583 a German doctor traveled the Near East searching for plants containing medicinal value. This is what he found, “A beverage as black as ink, useful against numerous illnesses, particularly those of the stomach. Its consumers take it in the morning, quite frankly in a porcelain cup, that is passed around and from which each one drinks a cup full. It is composed of water and the fruit from a bush called bunnu.”
A short time later The Bishop of Rome, Pope Clement VIII, in 1600 designated coffee as a Christian beverage. The first European coffee house opened in Rome in 1645. It was reported in America during the Colonial times alcohol was the preferred drink over coffee and tea. However, by 1860’s Americans were the world’s largest coffee consumers. By 1920 one half of all coffee produced in the world was consumed in the U.S. Then in 2018 Finland became the world’s largest consumer per capita; the U.S. came in at 25th.
As a college student I used coffee as a stimulant for late night studies. I discovered the benefits of niacin found in coffee and used this as a defense for coffee’s strong attraction. Niacin helps regulate lipids in the bloodstream, and may prevent cardiac issues as well as mental health disorders. A cup of coffee contains about 10mg of the 16-18 mg daily recommended amount. So moderate coffee drinking, being three to four cups a day, has terrific health benefits.
In 2012 the National Institute of Health-AARP conducted a study of diet and health. The study showed higher coffee consumption was associated with lower risk of death and those who drank any coffee at all lived longer than those who drank none.