Home » Culture, Food, Search for the (Sustainable) Source
25 May 2011, 9:00 am One Comment

Search for the Sustainable Source: A Coffee Drinker’s Justification

This post was submitted by Kira

c. Kira

My friend said to me yesterday, “I need to cleanse my body, I’m going off of coffee…” I turned to her with an incredulous expression and said, “Yeah, right.”  I followed with, “Coffee is good for you now, haven’t you heard? It prevents … prostate cancer or something.” She just laughed.

I love coffee. For me, the idea of “going off coffee” is a goal that I will probably never achieve  I cannot leave my house without a cup of coffee and I drink no less than three cups a day, which is cutting way back from the minimum of seven cups a day I used to drink.

Typically, coffee is something that is considered to have a negative impact on the human body. And yet, similar to many things, the negative opinion of coffee does not seem to have an effect on the sales nor the demand for coffee.  We continue to drink coffee, and even through the economic downturns, the coffee market did not fall. It simply shifted from latte’s to home-brew as the incomes dwindled.

Despite the anti-coffee vibe that we seem to carry, more often we are hearing the positive aspects of drinking coffee. Recently, a Harvey University study showed that coffee drinkers experience health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and liver cancer, among other diseases. This is not the say the study did not find negative affects as well; too much coffee can cause higher calorie intake and birth defects if consumed by pregnant women. Though, surprisingly, concerns of heightened coffee intake seemed to be limited in this study.

The caffeine intake of so much coffee consumption is an aspect to take into consideration, though I believe that coffee (or tea, I suppose) is the best way to have caffeine, as it is more natural than an energy drink.  Though surprisingly, a cup of coffee has much more caffeine than expected; moreover, the cup sizes are so skewed in our minds. A cup of coffee from Starbucks seems innocent enough, but when ordering a grande, it is the same caffeine intake as 3 cups of coffee.  This is not to mention the espresso drinks as they pack multiple shots into one latte. (Though it is good to remember that a single cup of coffee has more caffeine than a shot of espresso. This is due to the brew time and the contact the water has with the coffee grounds)

When more than fifty percent of Americans drink more than three cups a day on average, the more than $40 billion a year coffee industry doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. However, this is one study. I am not suggesting we go crazy with heightened coffee consumption. In fact we should keep in mind the amount of coffee we are drinking, and not assume one cup is equal to the next. A study praising the habit rather than condoning it is much nicer to read, as I drink my second cup of the day, and perhaps there is some truth to is, so we can all enjoy our daily dosage without health concerns.

I have literally been drinking coffee every day since the age of 13, and I have no intention to change this habit any time soon.  For the most part, there is no reason for me to, it is not marketed as a killer as say cigarettes are, there is no a reason for me to stop — and now, looks like there is a reason to continue! You never know, maybe it was Starbucks that financed the study, but for now, I will take it!

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One Comment »

  • michele said:

    This coffee study was great because it ALSO showed that the positive effects were shown regardless of whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated! So, drink your first cup and then switch to decaf iced for the rest of the day! Just don’t substitute the coffee for beer, especially if you are of Eastern European descent, because 20% of you have a gene variant making you far more at risk for gastric cancer if you habitually drink a moderate amount of beer.

    For more info of both studies:

    Oh, and the caffeine content of regular coffee vs espresso is mostly related to the roast. The darker the roast, the less caffeine. A bold coffee like a French roast is never the Breakfast Blend at a cafe. If you drink several cups of a light roast, you will feel the difference. Notice that while many Europeans drink espresso late in the evening, they rarely drink a cup of coffee. According to the Center of Science for the Public Interest (CSPI), one 16-oz. cup of Starbucks brand coffee provides 326mg caffeine, while one Starbucks brewed espresso provides 75mg caffeine. A standard 16-oz. latte from Starbucks is made with two shots of espresso, or roughly 150mg caffeine.

    Michele Martin