4 Ways Coffee Loves You Back
You love your coffee. It’s aromatic, familiar, cozy...you count on it for a jump start to the day. Honestly though, your morning coffee gives you so much more.
It’s instant comfort that brightens your senses. As you approach your first sip, coffee’s aroma dissolves your sleepy fog and invites you to get moving. Its spice tantalizes your taste buds. And its warmth brings your core to life.
It’s that good. And every coffee drinker knows this.
But there’s so much more to know about one of the world’s favorite beverages – other benefits coffee offers that you may not have considered. So brew yourself another cup, get comfortable, and let’s take a closer look at how coffee loves you back.
1. The Smell of Coffee Invigorates Your Brain
Studies suggest not only that you do better on certain cognitive activities after smelling coffee – they also indicate that coffee’s aroma increases your expectation of better performance. It seems the coffee scent has a placebo effect on the way you behave, even before you drink a single drop.
Inhale that rich fragrance and you’re ready to take on the world.
Your sense of smell is also responsible for recognizing coffee’s complex flavors and sending that information to your taste receptors. Your brain’s at work again here, as you pick up on the aromatics that offer you notes of fruit, chocolate, nuts, or spice.
Inhale and prepare for a flavor odyssey.
2. Coffee Primes Your Taste Buds
With your sense of smell fully engaged, take a sip of your fresh brew and experience an awakening. Your taste receptors are now open and primed to savor coffee’s full body, along with that buttery croissant you brought home from the bakery. It’s no wonder the best coffee and good food go hand in hand. Coffee fine-tunes your taste and adds extra satisfaction to your meal.
Your taste receptors also detect a certain sweetness, acidity, bitterness, or saltiness in your brew. You may favor a balance of these taste sensations, or maybe you like a bit of bitterness or savoriness in your ideal coffee. Regardless of your preference, it’s the quality of the roast and brewing method that determine your satisfaction.
Enter the Maillard reaction. Named for French chemist and physician Louis-Camille Maillard, it’s the chemical action that gives coffee – and many browned foods – a rich, caramel, toasted quality. The coffee roasting process causes the beans’ amino acids and natural sugars to convert into new, flavorful compounds, producing those notes of fruit, chocolate, or spice we love. Over-roasting causes excessive bitterness and burnt, rather than sweet, notes.
The most flavorful coffee, then, is produced by high-quality roasters who perfect their craft to deliver the finest product. Visit your local coffee specialty cafe or micro-roaster, where you’ll find the freshest roast and a staff that takes pride in its coffee. Fresh roast by definition means the coffee is brewed within 14 days of roasting.
Really good coffee is a relatively inexpensive luxury and can be found almost everywhere. Whether you choose a velvety espresso, a thick French press, or a bracing pour-over, aim for the good stuff.
3. Coffee Offers Pretty Impressive Health Benefits
As if coffee wasn’t amazing enough by providing your morning wake-up, there’s even more to appreciate. It offers an impressive list of health benefits. Consider this:
Coffee is full of antioxidants. So are many nuts, fruits, and vegetables, but your morning brew tops the list because the body absorbs coffee’s antioxidants more readily than those found in other good source foods. Raw coffee beans contain hundreds of antioxidants, and many more are produced via the roasting process.
Studies show that coffee drinkers are less apt to develop Type 2 diabetes. Coffee contains magnesium and polyphenols, which are associated with lower rates of the disease. Simply stated, coffee can help the body regulate blood sugar levels through efficient use of insulin.
If you go in for endurance sports like cycling or distance running, coffee can improve your performance. Fatty acids in the bloodstream – soaked up and burned by your muscles for fuel – get a boost from coffee. Coffee adds power to your muscle contractions and can lessen your perception of pain, thereby promoting endurance.
Coffee is good for your liver, especially if you drink alcohol. Although it’s not known which of coffee’s many chemical compounds is directly responsible, studies show a positive correlation between coffee’s anti-inflammatory properties and liver health. Studies show that moderate caffeine use lowers damaging liver enzymes.
4. Coffee Makes You Happy
That sense of elation you experience with your first cup of coffee? It’s not your imagination. It’s well documented that coffee promotes the release of dopamine – the chemical responsible for euphoria – into your bloodstream. According to a Harvard School of Public Health study, moderate caffeine consumption can produce results similar to those attributed to antidepressant medication.
Your world comes into sharper focus, your brain anticipates a good day, and your food tastes better. Coffee creates positive social opportunities, from exchanges with your local barista to friendly breaks with co-workers.
Coffee’s that good. It loves you back.
Want to experience the pinnacle of coffee culture? Check out Sprudge, a blog based in Portland, Oregon, which covers coffee news worldwide. Locate a good micro-roaster and indulge yourself.
If you find yourself in the Pacific Northwest, the birthplace of micro-roasters, you’ll discover coffee at its abundant best. Coffee’s essential to a lifestyle with a preference for seasonal food, a respect for optimal health, and a devotion to outdoor adventure. You’ll locate a bounty of fine coffee houses here.
We revere good coffee. It loves us back.
What’s your favorite Pacific Northwest coffee house or roaster? Tell us in the comments below!