Coffee, I Can’t Live Without It

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Coffee Cup
09 Mar 2011

I’m a coffee fanatic! Okay, I admit it! According to Wikipedia, a fanatic is a belief or a behavior involving uncritical zeal, or to quote Winston Churchill, “a fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

Well, that certainly describes me – I certainly have uncritical zeal over my cup of java and there aren’t any tea-totalers out there who can change my mind or change the subject when we’re talking about my beverage of choice.

Coffee, or more specifically the caffeine in coffee, is a temporary stimulant that wards off drowsiness and restores alertness. It is the world’s most widely consumed unregulated and legal psychoactive substance. In North America, 90% of adults consume caffeine daily and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists it as a “multiple purpose, generally recognized safe food substance”.

The National Coffee Association conducts annual surveys regarding coffee consumption each year. Statistics show that among coffee drinkers the average consumption in the United States is 3.1 cups of coffee per day. 150 million Americans, drink espresso, cappuccino, latte, or iced/cold coffees daily. At the present time there are approximately 50,000 plus coffee shops in the United States.

So go ahead and down that cup of morning Joe; it makes you feel very motivated and focused for a few hours. Eventually the stimulating effects of the caffeine completely wear off and you’re left with a form of exhaustion. And what is the only remedy? Drink more coffee!

Some people think money or love makes the world go round, but I say it’s coffee.

Take me for instance I set my coffee maker the previous night on automatic timer, so it is already brewed when I drag myself out of bed in the morning. That’s right, I take my coffee so seriously I have to have it ready before I am even conscious.

The first cup is a delicious treat, as the first sip warms my insides going down, ”mmmmm….coffee.” By the time I get that first cup down I become human again.

For many people, the craving for caffeine must be quenched immediately upon awakening for any conscious activity to begin. To the coffee “connoisseur” instant coffee is the work of the devil. Coffee specialty shops have taken over urban America. No longer do we just ask for a cup of coffee, black or with milk and sugar. These days the simple cafes that offer a cup of coffee are outnumbered by “Specialty” coffee venues that offer such variations as the Cappuccino, Café Latte, Café Mocha, and Café Americano. They advertise their drinks as “light and frothy” or “with steamed milk and whipped cream, in a variety of flavors.”

The OU certifies a large variety of flavored and unflavored coffees to satisfy every flavor profile. With national brands of instant and ground coffees like Barrie House, Melitta, Green Mountain Roasters, Juan Valdez, Dunkin’ Donuts, Eight O’Clock Coffee, Lavazza, Starbucks, Fogler’s, Chock Full O’ Nuts, Nescafe, Savarin, 7-Eleven, Seattle’s Best, and Coffee Bean, the OU certifies over 5,000 varieties and flavors of coffee.

Speaking of Starbucks, NCSY, the OU international youth program, is a frequent visitor to Starbucks around the country, where the teenagers participate in “Latte and Learning,” while sipping their coffee.

These days I get my second morning fix at the local coffee shop on my way to work. I think the people there are getting to know me too well, I no longer have to actually place an order, I walk in and my order for coffee gets placed without me even arriving at the counter. I have my only personal barista, Barry, he knows exactly how I take my coffee, flavor preference and all. What a wonderful way to start the day!

Phyllis Koegel serves as the Marketing Director of OU Kosher based in New York City. She received her MBA from Pace University and resides in Cedarhurst, NY on Long Island. To read more of her blog posts, please visit: OU’s Kosher Blog

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.