On Coffee

Coffee_Beans_ This article, It’s Official: Americans Should Drink More Coffee, is one of many of late that extol the virtues of coffee. This one I like particularly since it says that those two cups of day that I tend to have are not enough. The good stuff, according to the good researchers of the Nation’s Top Nutrition Panel (Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee), doesn’t truly start flowing until the third cup.

There seems to be many different directions that I could take the next few paragraphs but I will choose to look at the bogeyman side of things.

The world drinks coffee and lots of it. Coffee was introduced in the United States in the 1600’s but didn’t really become the drink of choice until post Boston Tea Party, when we changed our national stripes and rejected our tea drinking past.

Coffee is said to have originated in Ethiopia and the apocryphal tale has it that a goat herder noticed some happy goats post bean drinking and a world-wide phenomenon was born.

But what really interests me is why it has been taken for granted for many years that coffee is bad for us. I grew up in a coffee drinking house, though I didn’t take up the drug until my twenties, and there was always the concept floating around that coffee wasn’t good for our health.

So the main upshot is that I am glad to not need to feel guilty if I reach for a third cup of the day.

What most interests me is how conventional wisdom (the CW) is created and then often turned on its head, though as often as not, conventional wisdom remains rooted in our psyche. I am not a big fan of the CW.

There are many things that fall into this once bad/now good category that should make people sit up and wonder about why they think the way they do.

Two of these items, or trend lines, would be cholesterol, and fat. At a certain moment, the CW decided that fat was bad and the world, or at least this part of the world, was turned on its head. I’m not sure when the CW decided eggs, one of the world’s true superfoods, were bad but they had a moment in the bad food spotlight.

Anyway the point of all of this is—color me wary of the pronouncements of the few who speak for the many.

All too often large majorities believe something that turns out to be not so true. How someone trusts their instincts in the face of these waves of popular sentiment is the stuff we are made of.


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