Wednesday, June 10, 2009

For the Love of Good Coffee

Our relationship has survived nasty rumors of increased risks of breast cancer and hypertension. We’ve been together through high school, college, every job and every journey. It’s what lures me out of bed every morning, clearing the fog and allowing me to think. I wouldn’t call myself addicted, because being without it doesn’t cause withdrawals. I just love it. I love the way it smells, the way it tastes, the way it makes me feel. I love sipping it while I read the paper. It only takes one cup to give me that warm, alert feeling I’ve come to rely on. More than two and I start to resemble Courtney Love during a binger. But after one, I’m energized and ready to begin the day.
I’m talking, of course, about coffee.
There have probably been more studies on this glorious beverage than every disease and cancer combined- 19,000 in the last few decades alone! It seems everyone has an opinion on whether the stuff is good or bad for you. I admit, I’ve had my concerns. After reading Skinny Bitch, I switched to a natural, organic brew. Occasionally, I try switching to tea. But nothing gives me quite the same boost as a good cup of coffee.
I’m not sure when it happened, but I’ve turned into quite the coffee snob. If there’s a Starbucks in my radius, I’ll have my coffee there every time. Say what you want about the company. People love to trash talk Starbucks. But I believe the company rose to such levels of popularity because they did it right. When you order coffee at Starbucks, you’re going to get what you asked for. You know exactly what it will taste like because they’re consistent. If they mess up, you’ll get what you asked for with an apology and usually a gift card for next time. They treat their employees right- even offering part-time workers health insurance- they’re clean, efficient, and their coffee is damn good.

I see an espresso stand on every corner, the owners wondering why they never get business. With very few exceptions, I never like what they have to offer. They go for the cheapest product they can find and don’t train the baristas on how to make it properly. The result is an overpriced latte that takes ten minutes to make, has coffee grounds on the bottom, and tastes like moldy diarrhea (obviously I’m just guessing, here, but actual moldy diarrhea can’t taste worse than some of the “coffee” I’ve tried from these places). If they’d take the time to do it right like Starbucks does, maybe they’d actually make a name for themselves, too. I’ve actually had espresso stand owners confront me on this issue when they see my Starbucks cup. Like it or not, assholes, this company knows about good quality and good customer service.
Of course, Starbucks isn’t the only company that has it right. Dutch Bros and Seattle’s Best have their share of drinks so good they’ll curl your toes. It’s all a matter of taste, but I’ve never met anyone who actually likes whatever the heck Tully’s is trying to pass off as coffee. Do they burn that shit on purpose?
Now that I’ve earned myself some hate mail, here are the latest and greatest reported health benefits of coffee. It seems there’s a new study being done every minute, so by the time I post this, I’m sure there will be even more information. But as of today:

1) Studies have shown that moderate coffee drinkers have a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. I’m already ridiculously ditzy, so I’ll do anything I can to reduce my risk of that shit.

2) Drinking caffeinated coffee has been shown to reduce risks of- and reoccurrences of- gallstones. I’ve never had them. I do not want them. They sound like they suck.

3) Drinking caffeinated beverages boosts metabolism, and if you drink a cup an hour before you workout, you might last longer and exercise harder at the gym. Of course, you probably shouldn’t drink a Venti Caramel Macchiato with whole milk, but as someone with the metabolism of a garden slug, I’ll do whatever it takes- even “suffer” through a nonfat latte.

4) Do you rely on coffee to get you through your hangover? That might be a good thing. Coffee may reduce the incidence of cirrhosis of the liver. No wonder it tastes so good after a night of margaritas. Just make sure you drink water with that latte, because coffee is a diuretic.

5) Coffee is full of antioxidants- in fact, it’s the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet. Decaf has them, too.

Coffee might also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, esophageal cancer, increase your mood and help with mental productivity. Just like anything, too much coffee is bad, and there are conflicting reports about whether it’s OK during pregnancy. But if you’re healthy, don’t have any heart conditions and you aren’t packing a fetus, drink up, guilt free. Enjoy. Just make sure it’s a good quality cup from a company that does it right.


Sarah Elizabeth said...

Mmmmm coffee!

P.S. I strongly dislike Tully's too.

P.P.S. You've honestly had people approach you and ask why you drink Starbucks?!

P.P.P.S. <333 a thousand times over for Dutch Brothers. Every single member of their staff is irritatingly cheerful, but good gravy I do love their Milky Ways.

JessicaLee said...

I have you to thank for my discovery of Dutch Bros. Monmouth may have been a tiny town, but between Burgerville, Dutch Bros and that kick ass Mexican place where we had your rehearsal dinner, I was in heaven. Except for those raging allergies. :)

Josephine said...

I love coffee! Great post Jess!

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