Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day 12!: Coffee and Caffeine 101

Coffee is a big deal, mainly because of its caffeine content. Let's face the facts. According to Wikipedia, my "girl-friday" source:

"In humans, caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant, temporarily warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness. It is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive drug, but, unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is both legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world. Beverages containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks, enjoy great popularity; in North America, 90% of adults consume caffeine daily.[5]"

Great. We're all drug addicts! I can see it now: "Hi, my name is ________, and I haven't had caffeine in ______ days." The funny thing is, I can see this being a real thing, the Caffeine-Addicts Anonymous group. Could be a necessary intervention, especially after perusing these facts:

"Caffeine is toxic at sufficiently high doses."
"With heavy use, strong tolerance develops rapidly and caffeine can produce clinically significant physical and mental dependence."

That's the tough stuff. Otherwise, you, the constant caffeine consumer may experience headaches from caffeine withdrawals, sleep deprivation, and anxiety. could cling to the facts caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant, temporarily warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness; and it may have a modest protective effect against some diseases, including certain types of cancer.

Thanks wiki! :)

Now, I like coffee quite a bit, but many of you may argue that what I drink is not coffee. My father likes his black. No sugar. No creamer. If I have coffee, it's about a third diluted with a creamer or milk, and has probably a couple spoonfuls of sugar and maybe a hot chocolate packet mixed in there to make it a cafe mocha. Voila!

I keep a small Mr. Coffee pot on the kitchen counter for what I call "medicinal purposes," aka, instances such as "good gravy, why did I stay up that late blogging?", "gracious, three hours of sleep is not going to keep me alive in class tomorrow," "blahhhhhh, I feel like I was hit by a train this morning," and "I'm going to go to the midnight showing of The Hobbit even though I work at ten the next morning; oh well!", the last one being a soon-to-be-true instance.

But, I respect coffee and its powers, so to speak. I'm deathly afraid of consuming enough to the point that I get headaches if I don't have it and must take it religiously. I also don't like my sleep disrupted, nor do I want to be one of those very-not-morning people who aren't civil homo sapiens until handed a cup of Folgers. Additionally, if I don't take it regularly, I can make it work for me to my benefit, and I will always get a jolt of energy because I'm not an addict...yet.

I like coffee mainly for the flavor though, and caffeine as a side benefit. I'm not opposed to decaf coffee. One of my dear friends jokes that "decaf coffee is a sin." Perhaps it is a gray area for me. ;) I do love coffee dates and coffee shops and coffee gift cards and the smell of coffee and the sound of coffee machines and all else though.

Well, thus concludes my rant on caffeine and coffee. I did not have caffeine this evening, so my central nervous system is shutting down and ready to sleep soundly.

A cautious coffee connoisseur,

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