Coffee serves up social brews and societal benefits

Before the average American makes breakfast, they often sit down for a cup of coffee. All around the world, people partake in the variations of hot beans roasted to perfection. A gathering place for social interactions and dates, coffee shops act as a hotspot for activity.

“Coffee encourages people to sit down and talk, and it helped develop a community,” Honors World History and AP Comparative Government teacher Carol Galloway said.

Coffee and its respective shops took credit for partially sparking the Enlightenment and the spread of ideas about human rights, encouraging communication and new thought processes through interaction. People through all walks of life convene in coffee houses. These coffee houses even took the title of “penny universities” for acting as places of learning and conversation. Countless instances of how coffee changed the course of human history proves the beauty and relevance of the popular drink.

The economic stimulation that comes along with coffee as a cash crop changed whole economies and helped push countries such as Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, and Indonesia to new stages of development.

“Coffee sharpens the mind. They sat down and talked about ideas, [such as] early capitalism, and the rise of the middle class. Coffee contributed to the development of trade and markets, like in the Netherlands. There’s a really great novel by David Liss called The Coffee Trader, which illustrates this really well,” Galloway said.

Outside of the social benefits, coffee reduces a person’s risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Thousands of people worldwide suffer from hormone imbalances, which serves as the root of many diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, affecting two percent of the population with insulin resistance. Naturally, through the incorporation of caffeine, coffee increases mental and bodily related activities, making people motivated to roll out of bed in the morning and take on the day, helping reduce the chance of heart disease and boosting the metabolic system.

As fuel for the modern worker, coffee has brought people together since the beginning of its cultivation and introduction into the diets and cups of everyday consumers. Coffee culture brought forth social change, and coffee shops today act as a meeting place for people and have since the 1800’s.

A tool for emotional growth and a treat for the soul, coffee has changed the course of human history and made it much tastier.