Coffee is by far one of the most widely consumed drinks in the world, and it is also one of the most debated and controversial ones. This fragrant brew has been praised and disputed by epicureans and scientists for centuries, and claims about it range from those that it can kill people to those that it can save their lives. In this article we will tackle some of those claims and we’ll dig deeper to uncover the truth about our favorite bittersweet cup of joe.
1. Coffee dates back to 800 A.D.
According to an old Ethiopian legend Kaldi, the goat herder, was the first person to discover the glorious effects of coffee some time in 800 A.D. The legend states that Kaldi discovered coffee when he noticed that after eating the berries from one particular tree, his goats became excited and did not want to sleep for hours. Kaldi spoke to the abbot of the nearby monastery, telling him all about his goat’s strange behavior. Abbot made a tea with the berries and discovered that it kept him more attentive for long evening prayers. The abbot later shared the discovery with others, so the word spread and reached the Arabian Peninsula. The cultivation of coffee as well as trade, began there, so it is a common misconception that the coffee originated from Arabia. Coffee quickly became very popular.
2. “The wine of Araby” and “The bitter invention of Satan”
The holy city of Mecca was visited by pilgrims every year, so they contributed to spreading the story of the strange “wine of Araby”. If you think about it, that’s kind of unfair. If things played out differently maybe the story would originate from Ethiopia and coffee would be referred to as the “wine of Ethiopia”, but alas… Anyway, coffee finally came to Europe in 17th century. It wasn’t immediately well received and some people even named it the “bitter invention of Satan”. Despite the controversy the bitter beverage sparked, it quickly started gaining popularity in Europe. From there it spread to America and all over the world.
3. Caffeine can kill
Our nonchalant attitude towards caffeine can in deed be dangerous. Caffeine is actually a natural stimulant, which operates by stimulating our central nervous system, ultimately helping you stay alert for longer periods of time. However, despite its well-known advantages and benefits, coffee can in deed be deadly… If you drink 80 to 100 cups of it in a major hurry. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the fact that caffeine gets really quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, from where it goes to the liver. The liver then breaks caffeine into compounds that further affect functions of various organs, mostly brain. In 2015 the FDA warned people of the dangers of using powdered caffeine. This particular product had burst into popularity in the last couple of years. Because of all this we strongly advise all of you coffee enthusiasts to stick to your normal dosages of coffee per day.
4. Coffee is also good for you
A variety of studies and surveys done during the course of the last few years have proven that coffee can also be beneficial to your health. It is good for your liver, it can significantly lower risk of heart attacks, as well as the risk. According to one report from the “Circulation” journal, one to five “cups of joe” each day can reduce the risk of early death. A study released back in 2016, reported that coffee is also associated with a reduction of risk of multiple sclerosis (MS). One of the studies also showed that drinking between 3 and 5 cups of coffee each day can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, as well as some other brain diseases by 28-60%. Because caffeine signals molecules such as dopamine and norepinephrine, it changes the brain messaging, It benefits your brain function and mood, and one study even links drinking 2-3 coffees (caffeinated) per day to a 45% reduced risk of suicide,
5. Coffee can also be a type of aphrodisiac
Coffee operates by boosting blood flow to the female genitals, making them more sensitive to stimulation. Some scientists believe that even those ladies who have coffee once a week, benefit from having an enhanced sex drive. On top of all that, because it increases blood circulation to the genitals, coffee decreases symptoms of erectile dysfunction in men. So it may not enhance your libido per se, but coffee can certainly help with some physical aspects of the sexual arousal.
6. Coffee might reduce pain
One research done on people who don’t drink coffee on regular basis has shown that coffee can even reduce pain. That study has shown that two cups of coffee per day can cut the unpleasant post gym pain. Another research has shown that those who drank coffee before sitting in front of their computers have less shoulder and neck pain, than those who don’t drink any coffee. However, to this day there hasn’t been any extensive scientific research that could seriously back up these conclusions.
7. Coffee beans aren’t beans at all, but coffee cherries are cherries
We refer to coffee seeds as “beans” because they resemble legumes, but they are still technically seeds nonetheless. They are actually the pits of berries that look like cherries and that are found on the blossoming shrubs. Furthermore, back in the day people used to mix coffee berries with eatable fat to make a special energy-rich snack. Aside from that, they also used to ferment the cherry pulp and make a drink similar to wine.
8. Decaf coffee is not really caffeine-free and it is not as healthy as you may think
According to some reports from the Mayo Clinic, an 8-ounce cup of decaf coffee has approximately 2 to 12 milligrams of caffeine. Considering the fact that one regular coffee contains 85 to 200 milligrams of caffeine, those 12 milligrams seem insignificant, but that’s still caffeine. This would mean that you would need to drink 5 to 10 cups of decaf, in order to get as much caffeine as you would get by drinking one or two regular coffees. Contrary to popular opinion, decaffeination is not a chemical-free process. In fact, the beans are steamed, which enables the dissolved caffeine to rise to the surface. Once on the surface, the caffeine is washed off with an organic solvent known as methylene chloride.
9. Several people have tried to ban coffee throughout the history
In 1511, leaders in Mecca thought the coffee stimulates radical thinking among people, so they outlawed it. Italian clergymen also tried to ban it back in 16th century, claiming that it was “satanic”. Luckily for coffee enthusiasts all over the world, Pope Clement VII enjoyed coffee so much that he lifted the said ban and even baptized coffee ack in 1600. More recently, in the 18th century, the Swedish government made coffee and all coffee paraphernalia illegal, because it has some ties to rebellious beliefs.
10. Coffee can also improve your skin quality
One of the well-known DIY scrubs involves leftover coffee beans, because coffee grounds are considered to be physical exfoliators that can remove dead skin cells. As a result, the skin looks brighter and becomes smoother. Caffeine also improves blood circulation within the skin and benefits it on that level as well. The data on this particular topic are still insufficient, but numerous claims and reports from all over the world are backing up this theory.
Elon Musk once said that he used to chug gallons of coffee to stay at the top of his game. Considering the fact that he launched both Tesla AND SpaceX, it is safe to say that coffee does more good, than bad. Thomas Jefferson, one of the most popular American presidents, said that “coffee is the favorite drink of civilized world.” David Lynch, one of the greatest and most prominent directors of all time said that “even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.” On the other hand, Orson Welles once said that “there are three intolerable things in life – cold coffee, lukewarm champagne, and overexcited women.” Needless to say, whether you like your coffee cold or hot is the matter of personal preference, but all of these great people seemed to think that coffee is one awesome invention.