Long black. Short black. Latte. Cappuccino. Macchiato. Mocha. Flat white. Piccolo.
Whatever you call it, however you drink it, millions of people all over the world enjoy their daily fix. What is it that makes us love coffee so much?
I drink my java black, and I always look for the cream on top that tells me if it is a well made coffee. We all look for the hot shot of pick me up that is caffeine to start our day. Where I live, coffee is a huge part of the social culture. Weekends or work. There is always a time and a place to top up.
The coffee bean, or nut, is a plant and also classified as a herb. The bitter, acidic qualities can be healing and is known to balance blood sugar. In Traditional Chinese Medicine coffee relates to the heart, small intestines and considered to have Yin properties. In Ayurvedic therapies coffee relates to the elements of ether and wind, is cooling, dry and light.
However, coffee should be treated with the same level of respect we give other herbal plants, like Tobacco or Ashwaganda. These are richly preserved across many cultures for their qualities, and for good reason. Higher acidic levels in the body can result in a regular cup of joe causing aggravation to the digestion. And headaches can be a side effect.
And here's the thing. Coffee is a commodity. Its a big commercial manufacturing process in countries that frequently exploit the local workers for cheap labour and mass production. Supply and demand. With such high demand, its only natural that corners are cut, cheaper methods are used to increase the product to meet those demands. Many of these processes include methods that are environmentally defective. No replanting after harvest. No humanity for the workers.
Most of the coffee available today has been processed with chemicals and by the time the beans have reached the consumer they have developed mold. Whether you buy it from your local roaster to indulge your senses at home, or visit a cafe who has purchased the beans in bulk, you can't know for sure what exactly you are getting. And this mold has a big responsibility for many of the common allergies experienced today.
Todays flavours of coffee are abundant. Today we choose our favourite barista for their skills, because the art of making a good coffee is a talent. We choose for the type of coffee they serve. Additionally, look for the ethical and sustainable practices indicated on labels and packaging. It all comes back to supply and demand.
Choose wisely. Live vibrantly.