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Who knew, coffee is a health food?

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• Drinking as many as six cups of coffee a day can increase life expectancy. • A bit of the romance has left coffee preparation with the advent of modern coffee makers. • Coffee that has ripened in the pot for hours will do to clean your barbecue grill but for heaven’s sake don’t drink it.

Let’s have another cup of coffee. And while we’re at it, let’s have another, and another and another.

Yesterday morning as I was enjoying my second cup of coffee—or was it my third (I lose count)—I noticed a headline in the newspaper announcing that drinking as many as six cups of coffee a day can increase my life expectancy.

That’s good news—wasn’t all that long ago that another report indicated that drinking coffee wasn’t particularly good for you. I dismissed that report but enthusiastically embraced this latest one that supports a practice that I don’t intend to give up even if it doesn’t add years to my life.

I like coffee. I enjoy the aroma when I open the vacuum-sealed package that protects it from environmental degradation. I enjoy the rich, heady bouquet that emanates from the coffee pot as it brews and spreads throughout the house. I enjoy walking down the coffee aisle at the grocery store, mesmerized by the robust fragrance and the diversity of brands, types and places of origin—French roast, Columbian, Hawaiian and the ubiquitous Juan Valdez and his faithful mule.

I like the feel of a warm mug in my hand, especially on a cold morning but also on a blistering hot Texas day. I appreciate that first sip, too hot still to drink but too powerful a temptation to wait longer for it to cool.

I used to look forward to that unmistakable  “plop, plop, plop” as the first spurts of boiling liquid splatted against the glass top of the percolator, an indication that my favorite hot beverage was just minutes away from drinkable. A bit of the romance, I think, has left coffee preparation with the advent of modern coffee makers. The trade-off is speed. I can pour in the water, add the correct amount of grounds, hit the on button and be sipping my first cup of the morning within five minutes. Percolators took much longer.

I like it strong. I have friends who hustle out of bed in the morning when we spend a week with them at the beach, hoping to brew a weaker pot of coffee than I make if I get to it first. They’ve insinuated that if I make coffee every day we’ll run out of grounds by Thursday. No problem; I’ll buy more.

I like it fresh. Micro-waved, left-over coffee is vile. Coffee that has ripened in the pot for hours will do to clean your barbecue grill but for heaven’s sake don’t drink it.

I like it pure. Strong, black, no sugar and please don’t ever adulterate my coffee with flavoring. Vanilla bean, Brazil nut, banana toffee creamers have no place in a good cup of coffee. If I want something sweet I’ll make hot chocolate.

Nor do I like “designer” coffee from those trendy stores that rely on basic French vocabulary words to entice you to buy a bigger cup of coffee that tastes like it was brewed sometime last week. And they charge you the better part of a five dollar bill for the privilege of drinking coffee out of a large cardboard cup.

I like mine in a mug, preferably a thick one like you might find in a diner that specializes in blue plate specials and apple pie. We own a few pieces of fine china, including flimsy coffee cups that encourage you to stick out a finger or two as you delicately sip.  And the coffee is tepid by the time you drink half of it. We keep those cups on the top shelf of the cabinet, up where I’d have to drag in the step stool to reach them. I don’t bother.

I like it daily and I drink four or five cups most mornings, just enough, according to this recent report, to improve my life expectancy. Ten percent, I think is the figure they used. I don’t care, really. I like coffee and wasn’t planning on giving it up anyway. Now I can consider it health food. I feel positively perky.

 

 

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