Coffee - Some Fact and Some Fiction

It is amazing that this mere beverage has been able to generate such a wealth of romantic tales. On it other face, it also is behind a hard driving business model that affects almost all continents around the world. It is truly a wonder. From its humble beginnings to the current pedestal it sits upon, this pungent and dark liquid has enriched, fascinated, cured and enthralled people the world over.

Legends abound about the birth of the coffee bean plant. We can find some reliable history that will put its beginnings in Ethiopia around 500 BC. People observed the stimulating effects of the plants berries. Wayward travelers would then bring these to Arabia and there coffee would acquire its name.

The Renaissance not only gave birth the arts and sciences but also to the growing production and distribution world wide of this new hedonistic drink. It was in the late 18th century that both plantations and drinking popularity now would spread around the world and across the ocean to both South and North America. People of every class and race were consuming this beverage.

Throughout those long centuries the health effects ascribed to coffee border on the miraculous. But, as with most claimed miracles, there's some fact at the bottom. Some studies suggest that mammalian sperm swim faster, farther and longer in fluid laced with coffee. The theory is the caffeine stimulates them. One Harvard study followed over 100,000 individuals for almost 20 years, drawing the conclusion that moderate use can help reduce diabetes. Others show reduction in cirrhosis of the liver and decrease of asthma severity.

While the antioxidants in coffee are being held out as helping you to keep your heart healthier, the nutrition police rage on if the pros can really outweigh the cons. Caffeine after all is a natural insecticide. Some other of the negatives against coffee are its diuretic effects that increase urination. If that is not bad enough it has been shown that stimulation from caffeine has lead to long term nerve damage in some drinkers. If you have experienced a caffeine withdrawal you know the sleeplessness and headaches it can cause.

But for good or ill - or both - coffee is here to stay. The economics alone virtually guarantee that, since as a commodity coffee is second only in dollar volume to oil. Whether traded on exchanges in London, New York, Hong Kong or Lima with over 400 billion cups consumed annually, this other 'black gold' only grows in popularity. It has been found that 63% of the world wide adults population drinks coffee occasionally, the total retail sales hovers near the $12 billion level annually.

When we add to those retail figures the number of raw beans, roasters, grinders, brewers and cups bought for the home, well those figures grow to an astounding level. With its rise as a both basic commodity as well as a specialty retail product the future for coffee businesses looks both bright and unstoppable. Not counting other vendors, Starbucks operates over 10,000 outlets world wide.

The home is starting to replace specialty coffee shops for your favorite cup of coffee. Most people make a cup at home and then buy one from a coffee shop on the way to work. There are so many blends of coffee we will write an article on that in the future. At home you have the choice of roasters, types of brewers or splurge on your own espresso machine. Since espresso was invented in 1901 it has continued its rise in popularity ever since.

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