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A Beginner’s Guide To Drinking Coffee

Published by: Chef Amy Hand • Updated: October 19, 2023 • Checked By: Chef Matty Riedel

Coffee is arguably the most popular beverage worldwide, and it has been for centuries. This cultural phenomenon has a bitter, slightly acidic taste that can be manipulated using various sweeteners and creamers to create a vast array of coffee-based drinks for every palate.

A Beginner’s Guide To Drinking Coffee

This unique drink has become a billion-dollar industry, with cafes from small, local businesses to massive corporations like Starbucks making a huge profit from this humble bean. Many people use coffee to get a kickstart to their day or to gather around and socialise with others as they catch up over coffee. But there is more than meets the eye to this dark, brooding beverage, so if you are a beginner coffee drinker and want to get to know all the nitty gritty to this fan favourite, let’s dive right into it. 

The earliest evidence of coffee being drunk in its modern form comes from the 15th century in Sufi shrines in Yemen, and its consumption spread, beginning in the 16th century, across Asia and Europe.

Coffee beans start as green seeds inside the berries of certain Coffea species, Arabica and Robusta. The berries are harvested, and their seeds are extracted before being roasted to produce the beans we can buy in a store.

These plants are grown in over 70 countries, mainly in the “bean belt” strip between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn and traverse Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Brazil is the leading global grower of coffee, with 35% of the world’s coffee coming from Brazil. Other coffee-producing countries include Tanzania, Indonesia and Ethiopia.


Get Started Drinking Coffee: Dos And Don’ts 

Don’ts

  1. We don’t recommend you go out and buy a coffee machine, coffee beans, coffee grinder, milk frother, or any other coffee-related equipment until you have at least tried a cup. 
  2. Don’t start with instant coffee! You stand a good chance of being underwhelmed and/or hating the taste. 

Dos

  1. Keep it simple at first. Go to your local coffee shop and order a single shot of black americano (correct, no milk or sugar to start with) 
  2. If you like your black coffee, great. If not, you can now try adding milk, sugar, or syrups. The sky’s the limit. Really! 
  3. Once you’ve discovered the joys of coffee made your way, do start exploring different coffee beans and the many different coffee drinks available (endless probably)
  4. Do your research and start buying the coffee equipment you need to make that all-important first coffee of the day.
  5. Keep your consumption down, and enjoy your coffee in the morning! 

Benefits Of Drinking Coffee  

Drinking coffee has benefits; however, it is important to remember that this applies when you drink the recommended 3-5 cups daily, which adds up to 400 mg maximum (approx. 75 mg per cup). This allows you to take advantage of the positives without tipping the scale to negative effects. 

When you think of coffee, caffeine is the first thing that usually comes to mind. This natural stimulant boosts energy that can be useful in moderation and helps you feel awake and ready to take on the world. Besides improving energy levels, caffeine also blocks adenosine within your body, which causes an increase in norepinephrine and dopamine, which helps your neurons fire more effectively. This factor also means that drinking coffee can reduce your chances of getting Parkinson’s disease.

This miraculous drink can even assist those already suffering from this condition as it helps to control their movements. Coffee can also help you perform better physically as it increases your metabolic rate by approximately 3-11%, which helps you burn fat and increases adrenaline levels to make you go faster and longer, so drinking a coffee before a workout if you’re feeling a bit sluggish could affect your session immensely.

However, coffee is a diuretic, which stimulates the kidneys to flush out extra sodium and water from your system, making you urinate more. To make up for this, you should always drink more water to prevent becoming dehydrated.  

Besides caffeine and all its benefits, coffee also contains antioxidants and other active substances that reduce inflammation. It also features essential nutrients, including vitamins B2, B3 and B5, manganese, potassium and magnesium, so you inject goodness with every cup.  

There may be more than you expect when it comes to specific conditions that coffee can help. Some studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a reduced chance of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 67%. It also decreases your chances of coronary heart disease, strokes, and kidney disease and helps protect the liver by increasing enzyme levels.  

All in all, drinking coffee regularly and in strict moderation could do wonders for your health and help your overall well-being in the long run. Many of us indulge in these benefits in a delicious drink daily.

It’s a win-win! 

Drinking Too Much Coffee 

As you can see, drinking coffee in moderation has many benefits, but overdoing it can have some adverse effects. The main reason behind this is consuming more than your recommended daily dose of caffeine.

Although, as we discussed, 3-5 cups of coffee a day can lower your chance of heart disease, drinking more than 6 can increase your chances by 22%, so it is important not to overindulge in your favourite beverage regularly.

It has also been linked to high blood pressure, so if you suffer from this condition, you should consult your doctor to determine whether you should reduce your coffee intake. Other physical effects of too much caffeine can include dizziness, shaking, headaches, abnormal heartbeats and sleep issues.

Drinking Coffee Before Bed 

As we mentioned above, one of the side effects of drinking coffee is having trouble sleeping, including struggling to get to sleep, waking up frequently or having disruptive dreams. This is because caffeine is a stimulant that increases your cortisol levels. 

Cortisol keeps you alert and focused, the opposite of what you need at bedtime. This effect can last 3-5 hours, so it is highly recommended that you avoid consuming coffee a minimum of 6 hours before bed so you can get a good night’s rest. 

So, there is a little run down of what there is to know about coffee. Who would have thought a simple drink that we consume daily could affect us so much? The next time you settle down with a nice big cup, maybe spare a thought about where it came from and how it benefits your body.

Chef Amy Hand