Bay Area Bloggers
Hewn & Hammered
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The Year of Coffee Blog
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Babelfish Translation: "(Bass) You bad child, you loose girl, oh! if attain I mean purpose: Do to me the Coffee away! (Sopran) Mr. Vater, are not so sharp nevertheless! If I may drink the daily not three times my dished plate Coffee, then become I my agony like a dried up Ziegenbraetchen."
It was in Leipzig in the early 1730's that Johann Sebastian Bach's Collegium first performed the immortal Coffee Cantata at Zimmerman's Coffeehouse. But the hapless maiden's father was not the first in history who wanted to do away with coffee. In 1511, for example, Khair Beg, a corrupt governor of Mecca tried to ban it, enraging the Sultan, who had him executed. A cash crop from the tropics, formerly grown by slaves, whose cultivation weighs heavily on indigenous peoples and ecosystems, as well as a sitimulant whose action resembles cocaine and amphetamine, coffee has repeatedly been deemed politically incorrect over the centuries. Naturally, coffee's (and caffeine's) ill effects on health have been well-documented and widely circulated (example). In fact, I myself, the Coffeeblogger, was advised to avoid it during an emergency room visit a few weeks ago.
Imagine my surprise, then, upon reading this article in the online version of the libertarianesque magazine Reason: "Reports that America's favorite beverage is chock-full of antioxidants came across exactly as one would expect—in the form of a gentle scolding." That's right, antioxidants, the cancer-preventing guardian angels of the nutritional Valhalla. In other words, coffee might actually be (shudder, gasp!) good for you.
But do we coffee drinkers really want to hear that? As Kerry Howley, the author of the Reason article suggests, the "necessary vice" of coffee drinking, in its sheer wickedness, appeals to us as much as to the disapproval and outrage of our contemporary Khair Begs. In other words, according to this viewpoint, one reason we think that coffee is so good is that it's so BAD.
Does that mean, then, that I myself have completely ignored medical advice to stop consuming coffee and other caffeine-bearing beverages. Well, no. First I found an Internet article asserting that coffee helps prevent the same ailment for which I was told to avoid it. But I am skeptical of all Internet health punditry. I am now limiting myself to one espresso drink daily (on days I feel reckless I might drink two), a modest dose of caffeine in comparison, with, say, a Starbucks Venti.) In other words, I no longer accept the health risk of drinking bad-tasting coffee. My daily espresso drink has got to be the best available under the conditions. After three weeks of this regime, my health is still good yet I have not become my agony of a dried up Ziegenbraetchen. (I don't know what that is, I don't want to know, and I certainly don't want to become one.)| Coffee Caffeine Bach Antioxidant
Copyright ©2004-2005 Jonathan David Leavitt