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A cup of coffee

I woke up with a massive hangover on a weekday, frowning and unimpressed by the day I realised that the only thing that would make me face the day was a venti cappicino from Starbucks. Savouring the coffee at my desk whilst I took my time to let the potion do its magic I though about just how much coffee I drink and how this drink came about to be the single most popular drink all around the world.

A cup of coffee? it sounds like a simple question and yet it can mean so many different things to so many people. A lot of the time it is the single most valid reason to get together with someone or even extend your date a little longer. There is no denying that there are very few other aromas as bewitching and enticing as the waft of coffee being freshly brewed. It is a treat to the senses. It is one of my favourite aromas and no doubt many people will agree that it is an enchanting smell.

Coffee shops are one of the most popular hangouts around, pretty much in any city around the world. As much as the Americans try to monopolise the market, Italians make claims to the best coffee available and Latin America is well known for the best grown coffee; most people are unaware that coffee is in fact a vice bought to the modern world by the Turkish.

The English word coffee is a translation from the Dutch word koffie which in turn was translated from Turkish word Kahve which originates from the Arabic word Kahwawhich is probably a reference to the Eithopian Kingdom of Kaffa where it was first found. Whilst it was never the Turkish that invented coffee, which was found in Ethiopia and taken to Yemen, it was indeed the Ottomans who allowed it to be distributed legally and established the first coffee house in the world in Istanbul in 1554.

Enough of the history, what does coffee mean in the modern times? For me personally it means being awake and alert and it is the one thing I have every morning without fail come rain or sunshine. It is the potion that makes the transition between the zombie me in the morning to the alert and bright me very quick indeed. Indeed it is the antitodoe to my drinking. As much as I would like to spend my entire life flitting form one bar/pub to another I cannot deny the distinct charm of a cosy coffee shop with strong roasted coffee aromas.

In London there certainly isn’t a shortage of coffee shops and hangouts ranging from the plain and simple to the quirky and eccentric. As you walk by one you can see that it is packed all times of the day. A coffee shop environment can be the best place to start the day for creative types as the constant buzz of activity and the sweet coffee aromas is not only inspiring but helps focus your thoughts to organising your day. The coffee aromas, the constant chatter of the customers and the relaxed atmosphere can be just what you need to get inspired and be relaxed enough to complete an assignment or a project. In small doses of course, don’t expect your boss to be too convinced about a story whereby you work from the coffee shop near home instead of the office for inspiration and innovative ideas!

It is also a comforting place to be in instead of being alone at home. Being a city of anonymous people who mostly live alone or even with people who have no family ties to them it is essential that the socialising scene allows for going out alone. Coffee shops are perfect for that being lively and comforting without being intrusive. I live alone and sometimes I find that I don’t want to necessarily go and see someone but yet don’t want to be alone at home whilst I write or read and a coffee shop is the perfect setting for this as quite frankly drinking beer alone is probably the most depressing past time one can engage in public. (Drinking with beer at home on a Sunday afternoon is acceptable, don’t know why but it just is)

If you take notice you will see that coffee shops are closer and closer in range as you go further into the city. Could this be because there are more businesses in that area and therefore more customers or could it be directly linked to the fact that coffee enthusiast tend to be the hard working and mostly successful people who need the extra kick to be alert and on the ball at all times. This doesn’t in any way mean that coffee isn’t a drink to be savoured at home or by those who are more at home than not.

Most importantly and probably interestingly studies have shown that coffee can increase levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure system of the brain. This means that coffee is a stimulant that increases the pleasure during love making. The study also found that coffee drinking had a more active love life than the non-coffee drinking counter parts. There are also research which concludes that coffee has many heath benefits including keeping heart diseae at bay.

If we take all claims to be true then we can conclude that; coffee makes you alert, wards of heart disease and various other illnesses, makes you more confident, sucsessful,social and improves your sex life. Surely that enough reasons to get brewing…

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