Anyone on campus only needs to walk a maximum of five minutes to get their fix. Most people on campus don’t drink coffee solely for its taste and warmth, but for the buzz that comes with the beverage. To get this caffeine, pollinated coffee berries must be picked and hand-sorted.
The bean is then removed from the berry and proceeds to be dried, heated, ground and submerged in boiling water to get out the precious caffeine. But why is caffeine in the coffee beans in the first place?
It’s not like the coffee trees want to have humans cutting bits of them off and massacring their offspring.
The trees actually use caffeine as an insecticide that effectively paralyzes or kills bugs chomping on the tree. Whether or not the insects go out experiencing the greatest caffeine high ever is not yet known.
So while caffeine is technically lethal, it’s adapted for one gram bugs, not adult humans. For every kilogram of mass you have, you need to drink one latte to get a visit from the Grim Reaper, so you’d really have to try to win this Darwin Award. That’s a lot of coffee, so it’s not surprising that there are no recorded deaths in healthy adults from this method. The rare deaths from caffeine are from diet pills, pep pills and crazy people who eat the drug in its pure form.
though caffeine is poison, you do still develop an addiction to it. But caffeine isn’t heroin, it might make you cranky and give you a wicked headache, but since caffeine releases dopamine to make you happy and gets rid of headaches, there really is no reason to ever stop using it.
And who would want to give it up anyway? Caffeine is the world’s most used psychoactive drug, with good reason. It’s pure awesome. It increases concentration, decreases fatigue and gives you better memory. And, contrary to popular belief, drinking coffee isn’t a bargain with the devil in which he gives you the ability to work faster in exchange for making your life shorter. There are no medical concerns for normal healthy people. Coffee, and the caffeine within it, may even have medical benefits, such as protection from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s.
You know what else you can thank caffeine for? A little thing called The Enlightenment.
In the 1600s, people drank more beer and gin than water. But with the introduction of coffee and tea, people switched from depressants to stimulants. It’s not surprising, then, that this time was an intellectual boom compared to earlier centuries.
Voltaire and John Adams loved their coffee for the same reason that modern workers and students do: it’s invaluable for staying awake and concentrating when you need to finish a paper or to get through that physics class.
Coffee is the fuel of the modern world, so go grab a cup guilt-free and get working smarter and faster.