Coffee: The Relaxing Energy Drink
Man has had a love affair with coffee ever since the beans were first discovered and why shouldn't he? This rich aromatic drink can help wake you up, enhance your mood, and possibly even improve your health! It's no wonder that almost two thirds of the entire population of the earth enjoys a good "cup of Joe".
While we typically associate coffee with Colombia or Brazil, the history of coffee actually begins in Ethiopia where the Coffea arabica tree is native. No one knows the identity of the person who first "discovered" coffee, but it is certain that the beans were used even before 1000 A.D. by tribes in Ethiopia who noticed that it gave them an energy boost. Arab traders visiting Ethiopia brought the plants back to their homeland and cultivated them. Yet it wasn't until the 1400's when the Turks were introduced to coffee at Constantinople that it was widely consumed as a drink, and even mixed with other herbs and flavors.
In ancient history we find that food stuffs that could be stored for a long time became highly valued. This was a huge advantage of coffee beans, which could be harvested and kept for later use. Like any good thing people worked to improve upon it, experimenting with it, by mixing it with other foods and drinks.
Today, there are many varieties and flavors of coffee. The biggest exporter of coffee is Brazil. In the Western Hemisphere the most famous coffee producer is Colombia. Vietnam is a newcomer on the coffee production scene and has surpassed Columbia in recent years to become the number two producer of this product.
Coffee needs a special climate in which to grow. It requires a warm temperature, a fairly high altitude, and rich soil. Columbia offers the high-altitude which gives the beans a more acidic taste, Brazil grows coffee at a lower altitude which makes for a sweeter taste. The coffee from Vietnam is also quite good. How coffee is grown, the altitude at which it is grown, and how it is processed, can impart different tastes to the beans. There are bitter tasting coffees, sweet tasting coffees, fruity, chocolaty, and even coffee that is reminiscent of the taste of wine.
Coffee tastes good and can help improve mood as well as give stamina. Recent research shows that coffee can be very good for the health. Studies indicate that people who drink coffee have an 80% reduced risk of developing Parkinson's disease. It also cuts the risk of gallstones in half, as well as lessens the risk of developing colon cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. Coffee has antibacterial properties and is also loaded with antioxidants. So it can help to boost immune systems, get rid of headache symptoms, improve concentration and even has been shown to help athletes perform longer and better.
So the next time you sit down and relax with a good cup of coffee, feel good in knowing that not only are you doing something that is going to please your taste buds, you are also doing something that can be good for your health.
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