On October 1st, we celebrate International Coffee Day as created by The International Coffee Organization in 2015. Coffee is known as a central nervous system stimulant. Its discovery was first attributed to Ethiopians in the year 850 AD. Since then, our intake of coffee has evolved tremendously. Year after year, new treasured treats are created to satisfy the taste buds of many coffee indulgers. Whether used in trade, medicine, as an aphrodisiac, or a simple treat, coffee has always held down its stomping grounds. No pun intended.
Believe it or not, when coffee beans were first discovered, its exceptional flavor was considered evil. However, this train of thought did not last long once our ancestors realized that the beautiful plant not only could produce ravishing aromas and flavors, but also possessed traits such as energy-boosting benefits.
Coffee trade first arrived in Venice, Italy in the early 1600s. Due to its popularity with the people, the local clergy believed it to be satanic. Pope Clement VIII succumbed to the temptation, and enjoyed the drink so much that he declared that “coffee should be baptized to make it a true Christian drink.” As trade expanded, it arrived in England shortly after. At first, coffee was only available to the nobility and upper class of England. However, as its demand increased, the first coffee house in all of England opened near Oxford University where eager students drove the drink’s popularity.
As coffee’s popularity and demand increased throughout Europe, it began to be offered in more styles. By the 1700s, coffee had become a breakfast beverage as it paired better with eggs and toast than beer. Coffee as we know it made its way to the mainstream scene soon after being permanently conjoined to the breakfast menu. To the people of England, coffee was of major importance in their daily lives, with reports that some women would even leave their husbands if not provided with adequate coffee. We wonder how that would stand in a divorce court today!
Coffee made its way to the United States during the late 1700s. Its popularity increased after the Boston Tea Party of 1773, as large numbers of Americans stopped drinking tea during the American Revolution because it was perceived as unpatriotic. With the birth of the New York Stock Exchange in 1792, political figures introduced coffee to the stock market and into the hands of many coffee fanatics who used their expertise to shape coffee as a product for mass sale, and consumption. Giving everyone the opportunity to sip coffee in style led to a booming coffee business in the East Coast which eventually expanded throughout the country.
It does not matter the way in which coffee is served. Its fountain of health benefits will always accompany its distinctive taste. These health benefits come from Polyphenols, a form of antioxidants. Polyphenols are found in plant-based foods, and studies have shown that they help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Studies have also shown that athletic performance has a small increase with caffeine consumption, with 3-6 mg/kg of caffeine positively impacting an athlete’s abilities. When trying to stay awake in the morning, consuming about 75 mg of coffee can help you and your co-workers to be more alert, and to enhance your productivity. This is the equivalent to drinking about two cups of coffee.
In history, coffee was first perceived as an evil concoction which with time became a sinful pleasure to indulge in. In today’s world, coffee continues to be revered and has become almost a necessity for many people to get through their day. As we celebrate International Coffee Day, raise your mugs and cheer to its heavenly taste.
About the Author: Breona Lewis is a Nutrition and Dietetics undergraduate student at Arizona State University. She is currently pursuing work in research and nutrition intervention. Breona enjoys reading books, fashion, and trying new foods.
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- The History of Coffee. https://www.africaresource.com/house/news/our-announcements/21-the-history-of-coffee. Accessed September 26, 2018.
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- Hindmarch I, Rigney U, Stanley N, Quinlan P, Rycroft J, Lane J. A naturalistic investigation of the effects of day-log consumption of tea, coffee, and water on alertness, sleep onset and sleep quality. Psychoparmacology. 2000 Apr; 149(3): 203-216.
Article by Breona Lewis
Article editing and photography by Jose Morales
Creative direction by Jonathan Valedez