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The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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COLUMN: The very best coffee

Dan+Hahn+is+a+graduate+student+studying+English+and+can+be+reached+at+217-581-2812.
Dan Hahn
Dan Hahn is a graduate student studying English and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

I discovered recently that Americans drink a combined 400 million cups of coffee a day. In fact, according to the National Coffee Association’s fall 2023 trends, nearly two in three American adults drank coffee in the past day. Strikingly, most coffee drinking Americans average close to three cups a day. 

Given the wide range of coffee varieties and consumption options available, it is no wonder that many depend on its caffeine content to awaken and start the day feeling rejuvenated.

Coffee is also something of a health drink, comprising of a complex blend of different compounds and protective antioxidants. Sipping coffee is associated with various claimed health benefits, such as increased longevity, lowered health risks, and enhanced athletic performance. 

Years before we met, my spouse was a barista at Starbucks. She told me recently that black coffee drinkers are outliers, and that most Starbucks patronage mix various milks (from the “milk bar”) with their coffees and espressos. 

This led me to a video titled “Does Adding Milk Block the Benefits of Coffee?” from nutritionfacts.org which reports that mixing cow’s milk with coffee nullifies some its benefits. So, while it may be my opinion that coffee is better enjoyed black, there is some research that backs it up.  

Admittedly, coffee drinking and caffeine consumption in general is not without its downsides, and the FDA says that overconsumption of coffee can lead to insomnia, anxiousness, upset stomach, the jitters and so on. The recommendation is to keep caffeine to less than 400 milligrams a day, or fewer than four cups. 

In all seriousness, now is not the time to reevaluate our habits around coffee and caffeine. Finals week is upon us and the Fall semester is coming to a close. We need our coffee more than ever. 

Indeed, sleep is an indulgence optimally enjoyed once the peak of an academic semester has passed, and worrisome deadlines reside comfortably in the rearview mirror.  

It does not matter much in the grand scheme of things whether a person is a drinker of black coffee, or likes a few drops of coffee in their creamed sugar beverage. Besides, I think all coffee drinkers are united in the opinion that cleaning up afterwards is probably the least desirable part of the whole enterprise. 

I would argue that the very best cup of coffee involves savoring each sip in a relaxed and comfortable setting, ideally with good company and a friendly barista serving it. I prefer not to be responsible for cleaning up the messy coffee grounds or brewing equipment. 

Sure, I will risk the jitters and insomnia, but someone else can tend to the cleanliness of the carafe.  

For now, it is time to enjoy work coffees over many productive study hours, and hopefully with minimal unwanted side effects. A healthy dose of leisurely coffees will certainly be welcome, partnered with holiday cheer and well deserved downtime characteristic of the season. 

Dan Hahn can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.

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Dan Hahn, Columnist
Dan Hahn is a graduate student studying English and can be reached at 581-2812.

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