We awake each morning from our nightly sarcophagus and stumble around in familiar surroundings in a zombie-like state, With the assistance of muscle-memory, we brew our coffee. The wait time is equivalent to child-birth, as we embolden our coffee brewers to “push!, push!. You can do it!”
For those of us with automatic stops, we can pour a cup of orgasmic delight into a waiting cup before the labor pains subside. Our vehicles run on dark petroleum, humans run on dark liquid.
It’s estimated that 83% of adults drink coffee, And with the many various types of coffee on the market today, thousands of young people, some as young as twelve, are consuming coffee more than ever before, adding to this $30 billion dollar a year industry.There are more than 500 billion cups, world wide, of coffee served every year. Two thirds of the world’s population drink coffee or cappuccino.
“Coffee has become important to us on so many levels and there’s no signs its cachet is going away any time soon,” said Joe DeRupo, National Coffee Association president. “It’s part beverage, another part pop culture.”
In addition to the addicting consumption of coffee, medical research as proven coffee to be a provider of some health benefits. For example; coffee has been proven to block an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. When that happens, the amount of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine actually increases, leading to enhanced firing of neurons.
Caffeine is one of the very few natural substances that have actually been proven to aid fat burning. Several studies show that caffeine can boost the metabolic rate by 3-11%. Other studies show that caffeine can specifically increase the burning of fat, by as much as 10% in obese individuals and 29% in lean people.
In addition, coffee has been shown to have a positive effect on Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, the liver, depression, some types of cancer, heart disease and strokes, may help people live longer; while providing six different vitamins and minerals and provides antioxidants.
Coffee has its origins in the highlands of Ethiopia, and is said to have been discovered by a goatherd named Kaldi, after watching his goats eat berries from a particular tree, and then not being able to sleep afterwards.
Kaldi dutifully reported his findings to the abbot of the local monastery who made a drink with the berries and discovered that it kept him alert for the long hours of evening prayer. Soon the abbot had shared his discovery with the other monks at the monastery, and ever so slowly knowledge of the energizing effects of the berries began to spread. As word moved east and coffee reached the Arabian peninsula, it began a journey which would spread its reputation across the globe.
The Arabs were the first, not only to cultivate coffee but also to begin its trade. By the fifteenth century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia and by the sixteenth century it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. With thousands of pilgrims visiting the holy city of Mecca each year from all over the world, word of the ‘wine of Araby’ as the drink was often called, was beginning to spread far beyond Arabia. In an effort to maintain its complete monopoly in the early coffee trade, the Arabians continued to closely guard their coffee production.
As demand for the beverage continued to spread, there was tense competition to cultivate coffee outside of Arabia. Though the Arabs tried hard to maintain their monopoly, the Dutch finally succeeded, in the latter half of the 17th century, to obtain some seedlings. Their first attempts to plant them in India failed but they were successful with their efforts in Batavia, on the island of Java in what is now Indonesia. The plants thrived and soon the Dutch had a productive and growing trade in coffee. They soon expanded the cultivation of coffee trees to the islands of Sumatra and Celebes.
The Dutch did a curious thing, however. In 1714, the Mayor of Amsterdam presented a gift of a young coffee plant to King Louis XIV of France. The King ordered it to be planted in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. In 1723, a young naval officer, Gabriel de Clieu obtained a seedling from the King’s plant. Despite an arduous voyage – complete with horrendous weather, a saboteur who tried to destroy the seedling and a pirate attack – he managed to transport it safely to Martinique. Once planted, the seedling thrived and is credited with the spread of over 18 million coffee trees on the island of Martinique in the next 50 years. It was also the stock from which coffee trees throughout the Caribbean, South and Central America originated.
Coffee is said to have come to Brazil in the hands of Francisco de Mello Palheta who was sent by the emperor to French Guiana for the purpose of obtaining coffee seedlings. But the French were not willing to share and Palheta was unsuccessful. However, he was said to have been so handsomely engaging that the French Governor’s wife was captivated. As a going-away gift, she presented him with a large bouquet of flowers. Buried inside he found enough coffee seeds to begin what is today a billion-dollar industry.
In only 100 years, coffee had established itself as a commodity crop throughout the world. Missionaries and travellers, traders and colonists continued to carry coffee seeds to new lands and coffee trees were planted worldwide. Plantations were established in magnificent tropical forests and on rugged mountain highlands. Some crops flourished, while others were short-lived. New nation’s were established on coffee economies. Fortunes were made and lost. And by the end of the 18th century, coffee had become one of the world’s most profitable export crops.
The first literary reference to coffee being drunk in North America is from 1668 and, soon after, coffee houses were established in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other towns. The Boston Tea Party Of 1773 was planned in a coffee house, the Green Dragon. Both the New York Stock Exchange and the Bank of New York started in coffeehouses in what is today known as Wall Street. The birth of Lloyd’s of London and insurance underwriting began in Lloyd’s Coffee House, which was opened by Edward Lloyd around 1688 on Tower Street in London, England.
Whether you drink your coffee in the morning, afternoon, after dinner, socially, or alone in a coffeehouse with your laptop…since your first cup, it has influenced your life and changed the world.
Now, go get that cup of dark Joe….