By Zack Smith
© All rights reserved.
Its arrival in Europe and the New WorldThe exact circumstances of the discovery of the coffee bush (or shrub) are lost to time. Lacking precise details, people have always credited its discovery to a shephard boy in 8th century Ethiopia, who it is said noticed that his goats were especially energic after eating coffee berries.
Coffee first arrived in Europe in the 1650's. In fact, coffee, tea, and cocoa all arrived in Western Europe at roughly the same time, give or take 10 years.
Many cafés in Paris sprung up to sell coffee drinks and food. Names included Café Laurant, English Café, Café de la Paix, Café Durand, Café Guerbois, Café Madrid, and le Chat Noir.
Early politics of coffeeCoffee's early history was plagued with prohibitions. Coffee drinkers gained the reputation for having political discussions when they met up at coffee houses. Coffee-fueled debates become fashionable wherever coffee arrived.
Before the spread of democracy, leaders were paranoid of such public debates, in the way that the rich are paranoid about the Internet today. Topics like freedom, oppression and the distribution of wealth have always made autocrats far more jittery than caffeine ever could.
In contrast to coffee, beer was encouraged by the powerful, because drunk people in theory and in practice endeavor to drink away their worries, rather than debate them or seek out political solutions.
Coffee bush varietiesThere are two main species of coffee bush that are harvested:
- Coffea arabica: Good flavor but pricey. Common in Americas, Europe and Middle East.
- Coffea canephora (
robusta): poor flavor but cheaper. Predominant in Asia where coffee is not popular.
Plant diseasesCoffea arabica is susceptible to two fungi that robusta is largely immune to:
Some coffee species, such as Coffea kapakata, are resistant to the berry borer. More inforation.
Because of these vulnerabilities, coffee is a very pesticide-laden product unless prepared using organic farming methods.
Caffeine health effectsDifferent people react differenly to caffeine. Some react differently to coffee than to tea.
OtotoxicityCaffeine is the main reason to drink coffee, but caffeine is an ototoxic chemical, meaning it harms the hearing system. The damage that it does will usually manifest itself as temporary ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
Other common drugs that are ototoxic include ibuprofen, tylenol and aspirin. Alcohol can cause tinnitus as well.
Bladder irritationCaffeine, like alcohol, irritates the bladder and can therefore worsen a urinary tract infection.
Blood circulation in the brainOne aspect of morning caffeine withdrawal is that the user can experience an
inability to thinkbefore they get their fix. FMRI scans of caffeine users' brains show that this is due to reduced blood flow within the brain before they get their fix. Consuming caffeine, or giving up caffeine entirely, increases blood flow.
The long-term effects of periodically reducing brain blood flow may be brain damage, although it seems that ceasing caffeine intake puts you on the road to recovery. This is according to Dr Daniel G. Amen of the University of California Irvine. News story.
DehydrationEveryone experiences fluid loss. Caffeine disrupts ADH, or anti-diuertic hormone, and as a result it makes you need to pee. Excessive caffeine use can cause a dry mouth. Dehydration from caffeine can itself cause headaches.
SleeplessnessCaffeine disrupts a neurotransmitter that normally makes you sleepy, thereby waking you up.
Lack of caffeine causes withrawal symptoms such as increased sleepiness, and a quick temper or emotional swings.
Some people, when they consume small amounts of caffeine, actually become more sleepy.
TendonitisTendonitis is worsened and prolonged by caffeine consumption.
Joint inflammationCaffeine can cause a small inflammation of the body's joints, resulting in their not moving as well, including the jaw.
Blindness riskLong-term consumption of 3 cups of coffee per day has been shown to be correlated with exfoliation glaucoma, which can cause blindness. News story.
7 reasons to avoid coffeehouses
- High prices for any espresso drink
$4/day * 5 workdays/week * 52 weeks = $1040/year.
- Loud music meant to discourage people from staying too long
- Loud idiots yelling over the loud music
- Irritable caffeine-addicted staff
- Unreliable Internet due to neglectful and careless staff
- Slow Internet due to downloaders
- Bad coffee due to cheap coffeehouse owners buying low-quality beans