Plants You Should Know: Coffee

My father drank Folgers coffee. Black with a tablespoon of sugar was how he liked it with his breakfast. That was his first and final cup of the day - just a little jump start to get the cylinders fired and moving. I used to steal sips from his cup when he wasn’t looking but I always got caught, because the hotness would burn my tongue. It didn’t stop me, though.

My first real cup of coffee was when I was in college and interning at a company in Dallas, TX. I joined the morning ritual of coming to work, placing my things at my desk and then going with co-workers to grab a cup of coffee at the cafe downstairs in the building. These seemingly small gestures of getting coffee or asking someone for coffee was a bridge to how we got to know one another and how deals were made. Even now, we invite people to coffee to discuss life, projects and the world - all over a cup of java. Coffee is so embedded in our lives that there are even songs about it. Frank Sinatra (The Coffee Song - 1953), Otis Redding (Cigarettes and Coffee - 1966), Natalie Cole (Coffee Time - 2008), Gregory Porter (Magic Cup - 2010) sang about this amazing, comforting deliciousness.

Cup of Coffee | Cloud 9.5

Cultural significance aside, coffee has real benefits that have recently been revealed, despite years of health experts declaring that it was harmful. Not that it works for everyone (consult your physician), but coffee, whether ingested or used externally on the skin has proven to be a health secret weapon.

About Coffee

Coffee use has been traced back centuries to Ethiopia, where legend tells about a goat herder who noticed the behavior of his goats after eating the berries from a certain tree. He made a drink with the berries and reportedly had a burst of energy that kept him up throughout the night. He shared his findings with monks at a local monastery and after years of word of mouth and sharing, the coffee industry formed in the Arabia peninsula.

It is reported that coffee reached America as a result of the Boston Tea Party. After sinking the British tea ships, the new Americans switched from drinking tea to coffee because drinking tea was deemed “unpatriotic.”

Potential Benefits of Coffee (Inside and Out)

Inside

It is estimated that over 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide, with over 450 million consumed in the U.S. While the benefits of coffee vary from person to person, when ingested in the traditional liquid form, coffee’s health benefits include:

  • Promotion of heart health. A 2012 study conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA) found that “moderate coffee consumption is inversely associated with risk of heart failure, with the largest inversion association observed for consumption of 4 servings per day.” In layman’s terms, drinking 4 cups of coffee a day reverses the risk of heart failure.
  • Protection from Type 2 Diabetes. In a 2017 meta-analysis, coffee consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee was consistently associated with lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Outside

What some people may not know but beauty hacks have found is that coffee is excellent for the skin. Three main ways that coffee helps your skin is:

  • An exfoliator. Make a scrub out of coffee grounds and use for your body and/or face. There are several recipes, but a very simple one is to take used coffee grounds and mix with coconut oil. Once your body is wet in the shower, turn off the water and rub the scrub across your body in a circular motion. Rinse, dry and moisturize.
  • Eliminates under eye puffiness. Because coffee contains chlorogenic acids that reduce inflammation, dabbing the liquid or wet grounds under your puffy eye to lessen the appearance of swelling.
  • Cellulite reduction. Use wet grounds in the scrub recipe of choice and rub in the areas where you want to reduce cellulite - most likely thighs, butts and arms. The chemicals in coffee stimulate the blood flood and smooth out the skin.

Where to find Coffee

You know where to find coffee. It just depends on what KIND of coffee you want. Take a walk in your neighborhood and you’ll probably find a small coffee shop hidden between the buildings or if you prefer more mainstream, nearly all fast food restaurants and gas stations serve coffee. Is it good coffee? Well, that is a matter of taste and it is the beauty of the democracy of coffee.

These days, I’ve relinquished my $30 a week Starbucks habit and opted for a cup of Cafe Bustelo at home in my favorite red flower mug. If my grocer happens to be out of my favorite, I go for Folgers for a bit of nostalgia, no longer having to steal sips.

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