The Best Part of Waking Up (Other than not being in the Obituaries)

Just this week I got a question from a friend who recently started reading this blog:

“I like your stories, Doug. Do all of them involve coffee?”

Fair question. The answer is a definite maybe. While the subject matter does not always involve coffee, it could well be pulsing its way through my digestive system as I write. And according to the American Heart Association, coffee offers the following benefits:

  1. It gives you energy, may help you lose weight, and sharpens your mental focus, thanks to the magic of caffeine. Studies have shown that caffeine may improve your mood, help your brain work better, and improve performance during exercise.
  2. A regular java habit is associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. In one study, caffeine was linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  3. Coffee is an excellent source of antioxidants which may help protect cells from damage.
  4. Higer consumption of coffee was associated with a lower risk of mortality, including deaths attributed to heart disease, nervous system diseases and suicide.

Jazzing your coffee up with too much cream and sugar may negate the health benefits, and cut back if you experience heartburn or insomnia.

I drink one large cup a day – first thing in the morning. Usually I brew it at home, but if we are headed out on a trip it is a nice treat to stop by Scooters, Dunn Brothers or Panera for some fresh brewed, dark roast coffee.

I love the smell of coffee brewing in the morning.

John Van Druten speculated “I think if I was a woman, I’d wear coffee as a perfume.” Jessi Lane Adams said “Coffee smells like freshly ground heaven!” Though I concur with that sentiment, it is not universal. My mother-in-law thought the smell of coffee bore much in common with the smell of a skunk. And once, at the Columbia Mall, I splurged on some exotic coffee beans. The specialty shop ground the beans for me and I exited the store bearing that delightful aroma in a sack as I walked through the Mall. As I was walking, I overheard a kid walking behind me say loudly “I smell old people!”

He was referring to the coffee (I hope).

Though decaffeinated coffee also has health benefits; for me coffee without caffeine is not coffee. Not that I have a problem with caffeine. I only have a problem without it. Jeff Bezos said that, in Seattle, the standard for sufficient caffeine intake is whether or not you can thread a sewing machine – while it is running.

In 1674, the Women’s Petition Against Coffee declared “Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money – all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water.” That sounds like the liquid Abraham Lincoln was served when he made the following request: “If this is coffee, please bring me some tea. If it is tea, please bring me some coffee.”

These days , coffee is an equal opportunity drink, and women experience less depression as a result. Unlike cigarettes – which were once marketed to women with the slogan “You’ve come a long way, baby!” – coffee (up to six cups a day!) can actually improve your health. While I am no expert, unscientific polls find that majority of women today feel that when it comes to coffee, chocolate, and men, the richer the better.

And that is a long way from the Women’s Petition Against Coffee of 1674.