According to the National Coffee Association USA, there are many legends about the origins of coffee, but nobody really knows when it was actually discovered.
However, in the XVII century, coffee spread in Europe and coffee houses became the centre of social activity, where intellectuals and like-minded people used to meet and discuss. Italian coffee, especially in the form of espresso, is quite famous all around the world: coffee has become a part of the Italian culture early on and nowadays the association between Italy and this beverage is almost automatic. An espresso is a stronger and more aromatic brew, so much so that foreigners often find it too strong and prefer to add some milk to their coffee or to drink a cappuccino or an American coffee.
Personally, I love coffee and I enjoy every cup I have during my day. However, I have always been told that drinking coffee may be unhealthy, so I decided to research this topic and I have found out that, on the contrary, coffee has important properties which can positively affect one’s health. A moderate consumption (up to 5 cups a day) can help prevent liver disease, heart disease and neurological disorders, in addition to improving adults’ cognitive skills and memory, increasing athletic endurance, reducing the risk associated with type II diabetes and increasing longevity. Some studies also show that drinking coffee cannot be considered a risk factor for cancer any longer: on the contrary, it may even help prevent some types of cancer.
Medline Plus explains what caffeine is and how it works: caffeine is a bitter substance which can be found in more than 60 plants, among which coffee beans. After being ingested, caffeine reaches its peak in the blood within a time frame of one hour and its effects can be felt for four to six hours. This substance affects the body’s metabolism stimulating the nervous system (which is generally perceived as a boost of energy). It can also have negative effects, since it can interfere with the absorption of calcium and increase blood pressure and the release of acid in the stomach (which can lead to heartburn). Some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine, which is the reason why some may be able to drink coffee to their heart’s content before going to sleep whereas others may experience insomnia.
As usual, different studies show different perspectives, some of them highlighting the benefits of coffee, others stressing the side effects of caffeine. I honestly love coffee too much to give it up and I am one of those lucky people who do not suffer because of too much caffeine, so I think I will place my hopes in its positive effects and I will enjoy every single cup!
The information provided in this article was taken from the websites linked above.