Coffee Time

Coffee Time

Keeping up with the times is an almost impossible task. No sooner has the latest fad been revealed than it’s replaced with another, more up-to-date version. Fuelled by technology, this modern day progression seems unstoppable. For example, can you believe the Apple i-phone is now on version 10? And who would ever have thought you could pause and rewind live TV?

When I was a child, I vaguely remember my parents watching a TV programme called Tomorrow’s World. It was always on just before Top of the Pops so I would endure the thirty minutes of science and technology knowing I would soon be entertained by my favourite pop stars. Some of the inventions featured were so weird and wonderful it was hard to believe they were real. Certainly, I could never imagine them coming to fruition in my lifetime. Now, forty years later, I am using those inventions on a daily basis. In fact, so familiar am I with the presence of my Sky Q box, my i-phone and my SatNav, I can’t imagine my life without them.

But it’s not just gadgets that have progressed. Our ever increasing appetite for all things new and unique has resulted in massive changes in the food and beverage industry. Remember when your choice of coffee was limited to black or white? If you were lucky, you got to choose between a cup and a mug. The last time I visited my favourite coffee shop there were almost fifty different coffee options on the menu. That’s some choice! And that’s before I even considered which of the seven measurements I wanted. These seemingly endless coffee options extend to our own kitchens too. Gone are the days when all you needed were a kettle, a mug and a jar of your favourite instant granules. The modern domestic gadgets such as Tassimo, Nespresso and Dolce Gusto are designed to bring the ultimate coffee experience into our homes.

There’s no denying coffee is now big business. Your local coffee shop offers the ideal social environment to meet friends and family. It’s also an ideal place to catch up on some work; to sit and read the newspaper; to enjoy a spot of lunch; or to meet a business associate. It offers solutions for breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper and everything in between. But is it healthy?

I was brought up to believe that too much coffee was bad for you. In those days, there were very few coffee shops around and those that did exist were a far cry from the clean, relaxing spaces we see today. Very occasionally, as a treat, we would stand in the self-service queue of a department store restaurant and help ourselves to a chipped white cup and saucer filled with a strong, lukewarm liquid passing itself off as coffee. Inevitably, the restaurant would be full of cigarette smoke which, looking back, was much more of a health concern than the coffee itself. Far from being a treat, the experience was rarely pleasurable.

Thankfully, with most coffee shops now observing the no smoking rules, they are far more welcoming than they used to be. Good news indeed; but there’s even better news. Coffee is apparently good for you! Yes, studies have revealed that drinking 2-3 cups of coffee every day can help fight against cancer, heart disease, dementia and respiratory diseases. It’s also believed that caffeine can protect you from premature ageing, reduce the risk of diabetes, aid weight loss and boost memory. Apparently, drinking 2-3 cups of coffee each day can also help beat depression. This particular finding is probably one most of us can relate to. After all, who doesn’t feel better after a daily dose of caffeine?

The good thing about modern science and technology is that it doesn’t just provide the tools to create the next big thing, it also provides the information necessary to measure the impact that ‘thing’ has on its consumers. Coffee is no different. We’re all happy to hear of the latest health benefits associated with our favourite beverage, but before we all go running off to purchase a Double Espresso, what about the health concerns? It’s a well known fact that too much coffee can play havoc with our sleep patterns so avoiding caffeine before we retire at night is advice we’ve long since heeded. Most of us are also aware of its addictive nature and will restrict our daily intake accordingly. However, a lesser known fact is that excessive caffeine is linked with infertility. This applies to both the male and female gender so couples struggling to conceive should consider reducing their daily consumption.

We should also be aware that some coffee options are far more calorie laden than others. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that a Caramel Macciato is much more calorific than an Americano. Add an extra shot of vanilla and that figure is even higher; not to mention the Chocolate Chip Cookie you buy to go with it. Enjoy your coffee by all means, but don’t be fooled by the latest claims that it’s the new health drink. Underneath every headline is a myriad of facts. Within those facts lies a labyrinth of small print. You need to read the whole story to understand the message. Modern technology provides us with gadgets and information, but it’s how we use those things that’s important. Not everything, even coffee, is black or white.

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