Life without coffee?

“What would life be without coffee?” King Louis XV of France is said to have asked. “But, then, what is life even with coffee?” he added. Truer, or more apt, words for the present moment were never spoken, now usable as a kind of daily catechism. At a time when coffee remains one of the few things that the anxious sleeper can look forward to in the morning….giving as it does at least an illusion of recharge and a fresh start, the charge has invariably slipped away by the time the latest grim briefing comes…

This change is real, and is reflected in the numbers. As Jonathan Morris documents in his recent book, “Coffee: A Global History”, epicurean coffeehouses in the United States numbered in the hundreds in 1989, and in the tens of thousands by 2013. A lot of that is Starbucks, but not all. Roasters in Italy went from exporting twelve million kilograms of espresso in 1988 to more than a hundred and seventy million in 2015. Not surprisingly, the growth of a coffee culture has been trailed, and sometimes advanced, by a coffee literature, which arrived in predictable waves, each reflecting a thriving genre. First, we got a fan’s literature—“the little bean that changed the world”—with histories of coffee consumption and appreciations of coffee preparations. (The language of wine appreciation was adapted to coffee, especially a fixation on terroir—single origins, single estates, even micro lots.) Then came the gonzo, adventurer approach: the obsessive who gives up normal life to pursue coffee’s mysteries. And, finally, a moralizing literature that rehearsed a familiar lecture on the hidden cost of the addiction…

This is worth reading if you haven’t any problem with the worst of several styles of writing loved by The New Yorker. Never use 8 words in a sentence when you can use 38 (or more). See what I just did. It happens almost every paragraph.

I have been guilty of every fault I find in the article…including obscurant conclusions. But, RTFA. It is well recommended. And in The New Yorker, after all.

8 thoughts on “Life without coffee?

  1. Wannabe Phytopathologist says:

    Coffee plants have a small but consistent core microbiome of fungi and bacteria (American Phytopathological Society) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-04/aps-cph043020.php The finding that a number of highly abundant microbial species consistently persist in coffee is a remarkable one. As team member Adam Martin explains: “That the same species are found across a huge range of temperatures, precipitation, soil conditions, and light availability, is novel evidence of a core microbiome that actually exists in real-world conditions.”
    “Our results open the door for understanding if or how microbiomes can be managed in real-world cropping systems. Our work also leads to interesting questions on whether or not the flavor of our morning cup of coffee is influenced by the plant’s microbes.”
    See also “Root Endophytes of Coffee (Coffea arabica): Variation Across Climatic Gradients and Relationships with Functional Traits” published on February 20th in Phytobiomes Journal. https://apsjournals.apsnet.org/doi/10.1094/PBIOMES-04-19-0021-R

  2. Joe says:

    Drink coffee after breakfast, not before, for better metabolic control (University of Bath UK press release 9/30/20) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/uob-dca093020.php
    “A strong, black coffee to wake you up after a bad night’s sleep could impair control of blood sugar levels, according to a new study.
    Research from the Centre for Nutrition, Exercise & Metabolism at the University of Bath (UK) looked at the effect of broken sleep and morning coffee across a range of different metabolic markers.
    Writing in the British Journal of Nutrition the scientists show that whilst one night of poor sleep has limited impact on our metabolism, drinking coffee as a way to perk you up from a slumber can have a negative effect on blood glucose (sugar) control.
    Given the importance of keeping our blood sugar levels within a safe range to reduce the risk of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, they say these results could have ‘far-reaching’ health implications especially considering the global popularity of coffee.
    See https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/glucose-control-upon-waking-is-unaffected-by-hourly-sleep-fragmentation-during-the-night-but-is-impaired-by-morning-caffeinated-coffee/398A3EDA8C30EC89ADBB4C74C8E244B0

  3. Joe says:

    “Whether you hanker for a hard hit of caffeine or favor the frothiness of a milky cappuccino, your regular coffee order could be telling you more about your cardio health than you think.
    In a world first study of 390,435 people, University of South Australia researchers found causal genetic evidence that cardio health – as reflected in blood pressure and heart rate – influences coffee consumption.
    Conducted in partnership with the SAHMRI, the team found that people with high blood pressure, angina, and arrythmia were more likely to drink less coffee, decaffeinated coffee or avoid coffee altogether compared to those without such symptoms, and that this was based on genetics.
    Lead researcher and Director of UniSA’s Australian Centre for Precision Health, Professor Elina Hyppönen says it’s a positive finding that shows our genetics actively regulate the amount of coffee we drink and protect us from consuming too much.” https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-04/uosa-elo042021.php
    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Cardiovascular symptoms affect the patterns of habitual coffee consumption” https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqab014/6169154?redirectedFrom=fulltext

  4. Mike says:

    In the largest study of its kind, an investigation by UC San Francisco has found no evidence that moderate coffee consumption can cause cardiac arrhythmia. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-07/uoc–cdr071921.php
    In fact, each additional daily cup of coffee consumed among several hundred thousand individuals was associated with a 3 percent lower risk of any arrhythmia occurring, including atrial fibrillation, premature ventricular contractions, or other common heart conditions, the researchers report. The study included a four-year follow up. See https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2782015

    The paper is published July 19, 2021, in JAMA Internal Medicine.

  5. Brace yourself says:

    “Coffee prices surge as freezing temperatures destroy Brazil’s crops” https://fortune.com/2021/07/26/coffee-prices-surge-as-freezing-temperatures-destroy-brazils-crops/
    “Prices for the high-end beans favored by Starbucks Corp. and other cafe chains have surged more than 30% in a week, and will eventually top $3 a pound, according to Judy Ganes, a consultant with decades of experience in the industry. The last time prices topped $3 was in 2011.”
    “Unusual cold weather in Brazil sends coffee prices soaring : Last week’s severe frosts caused extensive damage to fields in Brazil, the world’s largest producer of coffee.” https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/7/27/unusual-cold-weather-in-brazil-sends-coffee-prices-soaring
    “Severe frosts last week damaged a large part of the fields in Brazil’s main coffee belt and a new polar air mass is forecast to move over the same areas later this week, the third strong cold front to hit crops this year.

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