Coffee is arguably the most popular beverage worldwide and it has been for centuries. This cultural phenomenon has a bitter, slightly acidic taste than 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 as a reason 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 what to get to know all the nitty gritty to this fan favourite then 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 from their its consumption spread, beginning in the 16th century, across Asia and Europe.
Coffee beans get their start as green seeds inside the berries of certain Coffea species, Arabica and Robusta specifically. The berries are harvested and their seeds extracted before they are then roasted to produce the beans we can buy in a store.
These plants are grown in over 70 countries, mainly in a strip called the “bean belt” that sits between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn and traverses 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
- We don’t recommend you go out and buy a coffee machine, coffee beans, coffee grinder, a milk frother or any other coffee related equipment, until you have at least tried a cup.
- Don’t start with instant coffee! You stand a good chance of being underwhelmed and/or hating the taste.
- Keep it simple at first. Go to your local coffee shot and order a single shot, black americano (correct, no milk or sugar to start with)
- If you like your black coffee great! If not, you can now try adding milk, sugar or syrups. The sky’s the limit. Really!
- 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)
- Do your research and start to buy the coffee equipment you need for making that all important first coffee of the day.
- Do keep your consumption down and enjoy your coffee in the morning!
Benefits Of Drinking Coffee
Drinking coffee definitely has benefits however, it is important to keep in mind that this applies when you drink the recommended 3-5 cups of coffee a day that adds up to 400 mg maximum (approx. 75 mg per cup). This allows you to take advantage of the positives without tipping the scale over to any negative effects.
When you think of coffee the first thing that usually comes to mind is caffeine. This is a natural stimulant, which gives you a boost in 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 that 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 with this condition as it helps to control their movements. Coffee can also 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 big sluggish could affect your session immensely.
However, coffee is a diuretic, this means it stimulates the kidneys to flush out extra sodium and water out of your system which makes you need to urinate more. To make up for this you should always be sure to drink more water to prevent becoming dehydrated.
Apart from caffeine and all its benefits, coffee also contains antioxidants and other active substances that reduce inflammation. It also features essential nutrients including vitamin B2, B3 and B5, manganese, potassium and magnesium so you really get in an injection of goodness with every cup.
When it comes to specific conditions that coffee can help there may be more than you expect. Some studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a reduced chance of developing type 2 diabetes of up to 67%. It is also known to decrease your chances of coronary heart disease, strokes, kidney disease and helps protect the liver by increasing enzyme levels.
All in all, drinking coffee on a regular basis and in strict moderation could do wonders for your health and help your overall wellbeing in the long run. All of these benefits in a delicious drink that a lot of us indulge in on the daily anyway, it’s a win-win!
Drinking Too Much Coffee
Now, as you can see, there are a lot of benefits to drinking coffee in moderation 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 actually increase your chances by 22% so it is very important not to overindulge in your favourite beverage on a regular basis.
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 cut back on your coffee intake. Other physical effects of too much caffeine can include dizziness, shaking, headaches, abnormal heart beats and sleep issues.
Drinking Coffee Before Bed
As we mentioned above, one of the side effects of drinking coffee is having trouble sleeping, which can include 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 awake, alert and focused so it is 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 for where it came from and how it's working to benefit your body.