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Cafe Earthling: Columbia

Coffee and Health

Coffee and health used to be a controversial theme in the seventies. Nowadays, moderate coffee consumption is rather exonerated from its supposed negative long term effects upon health. My mother used to be one of those persons who taught her offspring, in its early ages, that coffee is not bad. It is bad bad bad! In consequence, I managed to keep away from coffee. At least until the difficult age of 10, when, as I remember, I was permitted to join mother and neighbor-friends at the coffee-tattle table.

That was the moment I started to exercise my taste buds on coffee. In those days, I remember developing a partiality for coffee with milk. Or should I say milk with coffee... However, I know now that the coffee I was drinking back then was indeed not so good. Pre Ground, over-boiled, sometimes brewed over the grounds from the other day, could you think of worst? No wonder I wanted to hide those hideous characteristics with tons of milk.

In the meantime, I probably took a good sip of coffee on the road and woke up to a much more pleasant reality. Coffee is not bad. It is good, good, good. But why are there so many voices whispering that coffee and health don't go well together?


Call it food or beverage, coffee is free of any nutritional value, and, as indecent as it may sound, we consume it exclusively for pleasure. Yes, the caffeine content in coffee is partially responsible for that pleasure. Caffeine acts as a mild stimulant over the central nervous system, that results in better memory, better judgements and idea-associations, better movement-coordination.

A single serve espresso contains somewhere among 80 and 120 milligrams of caffeine. A normal cup of coffee (even drip coffee) contains about 100 - 150 milligrams of caffeine. This is what commonsense calls moderate consumption at one sit. Within several hours (varying from one person to another) caffeine is eliminated from the body. Referring to the average coffee drinker again, s/he can have three or four sips (servings) of coffee every day aside from any health risk.

The thing about coffee is quite the same as with other foods and beverages. The effects vary with the dosing: moderate can be medicine, too much can be poison. The average coffee drinker can experience novice effects after ingesting 550 milligrams (women) and 700 milligrams (men) at one sit. These effects refer to headaches, nausea, and petulance. The caffeine overdose is being speculated around 10 grams. I say, it would be impossible to reach it exclusively by drinking coffee, as you should ingest 100 cups at one sit. However, if you succeed, it may be the last thing you'll ever do.

Coffee is not recommended when certain health problems are already present. Reasons could stand on solid proof or only on purpose to avoid unproven but also unwanted risk.


Acidy describes the sour-component of the coffee taste. Acidy (or acidity) is emphasized in Arabica coffee and in light roasts. It may have a negative effect over the digestive functions. People that are less tolerant with acidity but still want to drink coffee, may choose a decaffeinated coffee or a natural low-acidity coffee from Brazil, India or Caribbean.

Other negative effects that have been nominated (eg. over pregnant women) have not resulted in significant proof when tested. The medical society nowadays is rather exonerating coffee from long term negative effects on human health.

The beneficial effects of coffee

Coffee has proven beneficial effects over persons suffering from asthma. 2 to 4 small cups of coffee through-out the day will help them reduce the recurrence of asthma-attacks and moderate their intensity. Coffee contains natural antioxidants called 'flavonoids' that are widely known as disease protectors. The beneficial effects of moderate caffeine consumption are wide recognized: caffeine works on alertness, mood, censorial activity and memory. Of course, you may choose to take your daily caffeine intake from other foods and beverages: chocolate, carbonated drinks based on coca-nuts extract, tea.

Beside these effects, somewhat proven by the medical society, I would mention one more: the pure pleasure of sipping a good cup of coffee. If every person on this planet would do this every day, I believe there would be less wars, suicides, health problems, people suffering from depression etc. etc. But I could be wrong.

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