The Wonder of Coffee

Between staying up to work on homework, and study during the semester, and now during the summer to help me wake up in time for work, not to mention just for fun, I drink a lot of coffee. As do many people, so the question is; why? Why has coffee become such a staple?

Well, coffee is from Ethiopia, where "in its most basic, unprocessed form, coffee is a cherry-like fruit, which becomes red when ripe; the coffee bean is found at the center of the red coffee fruit." But at first, it was just eaten. We wouldn't recognize a cup of coffee until the 13th century when the Arab people cornered the coffee market by boiling their coffee beans so that no one else could plant any. "In fact, tradition says that not a single coffee plant existed outside of Arabia or Africa until the 1600s, when Baba Budan, an Indian pilgrim, left Mecca with fertile beans fastened to a strap across his abdomen. Baba's beans resulted in a new and competitive European coffee trade." Coffee then spread and eventually reached the Americas, "though the drink wasn't really popular in America until the Boston Tea Party of 1773 when making the switch from tea to coffee became something of a patriotic duty."

And it has definitely exploded in popularity, with 83% of adults in the US drinking coffee. And it's a good thing too, given that coffee has been associated with lower risk of heart disease, cancer, liver failure, and some neurological disorders and type 2 diabetes. Coffee even may reduce your chance of dying! At least it doesn't look like it's hurting anyone. With that it is surprising to see in a time where it feels Starbucks is on every corner, that coffee might actually be declining in popularity.

U.S. per capita availability of selected nonalcoholic beverages

Although it appears our consumption of caffeine may be just as high as ever with how Carbonated soft drinks has sored on the above graph.

All and all I am grateful for the energy boost, and versatile drink that is coffee. Between waking up early, staying up late, enjoying a hot cup on a cold day, or some cold brew on a sunny day, coffee proves to be every bit as enchanting as when it was first eaten in Ethiopia.

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