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Coffee: The Examined Cup

Coffee: The Examined Cup

“Fiddlesticks!” I said, “I am simply not ready to give up coffee.” (OK, so maybe I didn’t actually say, “fiddlesticks” but the interjection I chose at the moment was not quite appropriate to include in a blog post). This proclamation of, both, love and defiant resolve came after a few weeks of depriving myself of the roasted extraction for no real reason other than to test myself. But the fact is, I like coffee far too much to just walk away with an empty mug in hand. And I am certainly not alone, as over 500 billion cups of coffee will be consumed this year alone by people nearly as (or even more so) enthusiastic than myself about the stuff.

According to a newly edited love letter to coffee (in the form of a collection of essays), titled, Coffee, Philosophy for Everyone: Grounds for Debate, caffeine is one of the most widely taken psychoactive drugs on earth, and coffee is its foremost delivery system. This beloved drink, the source of controversy as well unyielding ardor, had been banned from ancient communities, including Mohammeds Mecca, for its sinful qualities, and since has developed into a dynamic global product and culture that shows no signs of abating.

Simply put, people are firmly passionate about coffee: from the ritualistic cup o’ Joe drinkers to the unapologetic coffee elite who roast their own beans. Ritual drinkers buy pre-ground coffee in cans with little provenance, while others go to great lengths to buy one of the world’s most expensively processed coffees (Kopi Luwak), which its beans are literally consumed and pooped out by a small Asian Palm Civet. But one of the most hotly contested issues with coffee would be its effects on physical and mental health. People have chosen (or been forced) to quit coffee because of its deleterious effects on the stomach as well as its talent in making some people nervous basket cases (this is largely due to the high caffeine content) but coffee also holds a few beneficial attributes to health, as it has been linked to prevention of Parkinson’s, liver cancer and type 2 diabetes, and is known for its relatively high level of naturally occurring antioxidants.

Still, as popular and enduring (and purportedly healthy) as coffee may be, you will still find thousands of people that are trying to quit the habit. What is your relationship to coffee? Is it a monkey on your back or something that provides inspiration? Do you have a favorite method of preparation? Is simple superior to some of the more elaborate modes of extraction? And if not coffee, then what does it for you?

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Apptit among other publications.


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2:45AM PDT on Oct 13, 2012


4:55AM PDT on May 31, 2011


8:13PM PDT on May 26, 2011


12:51AM PDT on May 26, 2011

This articule made me feel like to drink a coffee!!!

8:13AM PDT on May 1, 2011


8:13PM PDT on Apr 30, 2011

Coffee is an acquied taste. I never cared much for coffee till I was hitching around the country in the '60s. On long trips I would travel w/ truckers from truck stop to truck stop. Truckers either left in the morning to run all day or around sundown to run all night. If I didn't have a ride by 9 AM i was stuck till sundown. If no ride by 9PM i was stuck till sunup.
You could order coffee and a donut or a piece of pie and sit at the end of the counter and they would fill your coffee all day.
In the beginning I would drink coffe black(I never cared for cream) w/ so much sugar it was practicly coffee syrup. As time went by I would use less and less sugar til after some years I got to the way I drink it now black w/ one sugar.
While I enjoy my coffee each morning I often harken back to my travels as a boy.

7:42PM PDT on Apr 26, 2011

I'm with you, I love coffee too.

5:21AM PDT on Apr 25, 2011

Coffee is so delicious!

3:21AM PDT on Apr 25, 2011

I like coffee!

10:31PM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

I as all of the others that commented love coffee. This really boost my energy, just the smell of it makes me relax. But I am not a addict. I can fore go one day with out it.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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