Coffee is one the world’s most consumed beverage. Several world economies depend on the growing, production and exportation of this commodity, which contains caffeine. The latter has brought about different conflicting views with different researches providing conflicting information about the consumption of this beverage in different population. For instance, while some researchers propose that coffee is associated with high mortality rates, and that drinking coffee cause stagnation in the growth of the features, other research findings have suggested the reverse of the former research findings. Additionally, several people have reacted differently in their commentaries of the research findings of either result. Some commentators, just like the researchers, agree to the findings and suggestion, but others maintain that these research findings are misleading. Nevertheless, statistics have shown that these research findings have limited effect on the number coffee consumers. Additionally, coffee has not only elicited medical concerns, but also different religious views on its consumptions. While some denominations accept and promote the use of the beverage, other like the Seventh Day Adventists and Mormons strongly reject its consumption in its doctrine.
This paper provides a synthesis of six readings that were provided by the tutor that entail several researches and their findings on the health considerations of the consumption of coffee in the United States and other nations of the world. Additionally, some readings give information about the coffee growing nations how the families in these countries depend of the plantations of the largely consumed beverage. In the first articles, the readings present the health concerns that have been proposed by the researchers on the consumption of coffee, which some of them consider dangerous while other propose for healthy living. However, in the latter, the readings provide the analysis of coffee growers and the migration of coffee to Central America where its consumption in the latter has surpassed expectations.
There have been conflicting views on the association between the consumption of coffee and mortality rate. According to a research conducted by Andrew J Boyle on coffee consumption and mortality rate, he first recognizes the fact that the wide consumption of coffee in the United States, which concurs with several other studies such as the study conducted by Steven Topik in his research on coffee as a social drug. In this view of the beverage, he indicates that different religious groups have different views on the consumption of coffee. For instance, he indicates that the Mormons and Seventh-Day Adventists oppose the use of this ‘drug’ arguing that the body is the Temple of God (Topik, p. 97-98) According to Boyle, previous studies on coffee have associated the beverage with heart diseases with others showing a conflicting this stance. He also noticed the conflicting data that associate the consumption of coffee and the total mortality rate. For instance, he cites the New England Journal of Medicine, in which an examination of the association of coffee drinking with subsequent total cause-specific mortality among 229,119 men and 173,141 women in the National Institute of Health – AARP Diet and Health Study was conducted (Boyles, p. 51). In this large cohort study, which excluded participants with cancer, stroke, and heat diseases, members of AARP were enrolled as subjects with the age bracket falling between 50 and 71 years of age. The study assesses the coffee consumption once at baseline and follows the subjects for 14 years. Nevertheless, in the study, coffee drinkers are also more likely to smoke, and after adjustment for smoking status and other potential confounders, there was a significant inverse association between coffee consumption and mortality (Boyles, 52). In the conclusion, the authors of the study find an inverse association in coffee consumption with the total and cause specific mortality. According to Topik’s study, despite the general agreement that the consequences of coffee consumption vary according to the individual consumers, the medical staff are divided on the effects of the beverage. They also argue that the effects would even vary on an individual consumer depending on the mood, diet, and even time of day (Topik, p. 101). According to the commentary on Boyles’ research, there are several ways of preparing coffee, which include boiled, espresso, and filtered coffee, and that the method of preparation of the coffee might give different constituents.
Even though the United States is not the highest grower of the coffee pant, it has the world largest coffee firm that operates in the international coffee market. Brazil is the world’s leading producer and exporter of the coffee berries from its coffee plantations followed by several African and Asian countries. There are also varied flavors of the beverage according to the different planets. In Simon Bryant’s article ‘Not going to Starbucks: Boycotts and the out-scouring of politics in the branded world,’ he explains how politics influenced the consumption of coffee in the United States, especially from its world’s leading coffee firm. He suggests that as formal electoral politics have lost their hold on many, citizens have not abandoned trying to change things or making their voices heard (Simon, p. 1). On the contrary, Anja Tranovich (p.41) indicates in his article that despite the hard conditions in the African countries that export their coffee to the American companies like Starbuck such as Ethiopia that are related to the sorting and drying, there are local co-operatives that help the growers earn better return on their coffee. According to this article, the challenges that coffee growers face in the developing economies are more than the growers can handle on their own. Therefore, the article suggests that without cooperatives, coffee growers such as the Ethiopian growers, which were the subjects of his study, would be out of the market (Tranovich, p. 42). Scott Sherman also indicated in his article that Corporate sponsorship undermines the wide network of democratic, farmer owned cooperatives (Sherman, p.220, and that the former should allow the cooperatives to perform its responsibilities. In depicting the success of coffee farmers from the developing nations, Sanneh and Kalefa conducted a study in which they covered organic farming, coffee plantations in El Salvador, the coffee growers, and the industry competitions. In their research, they discussed the El Salvadorian coffee famer Aida Batlle and the rise of coffee connoisseurship (Sanneh & Kalefa, p. 1). The areas that they covered in their research included the farmer’s entrance in the 2003 Cup of Excellence with her Finca Kilimanjaro coffee farm as well as the process of certifying her coffee as organic (Sanneh & Kalefa, p. 1).
Coffee is the world’s leading beverage and the most internationally traded commodity in the world because of its caffeine content, which is the most popular drug in the world. However, there are conflicting views on the consumption of the beverage, which include both religious and medical concerns. Some medical practitioners associate the beverage with high mortality rates despite the general agreement that the effects vary on every individual and the method of preparation. On the religious front, the Mormons and Seventh-day Adventists consider the body as the temple of God thereby prohibits drinking of coffee, which they consider as a drug. Coffee farmers have farmer organized and run co-operations that assist them overcome the challenges in developing countries. However, it is viewed that corporate sponsorships undermines the efforts of these co-operative in their linkages and networking. Nevertheless, coffee consumptions continue to rise despite the conflicting research findings and data, medical and religious views as well farming challenges.
Steven Topik - Coffee as a Social Drug: Coffee and Globalization. Cultural Critique - Vol. 71 - Issue Winter - 2009 - pp. 81-102 - Project MUSE
Bryant Simon. Not going to Starbucks Boycotts and the out-scouring of politics in the branded world. Journal of Consumer Culture – 11(2) 145–167. 2011
Anja Tranovich. Coffee co-ops brew better quality of life for Ethiopian farm families. Rural Cooperatives. September/October 2012.
Boyle, Andrew J. "Coffee Consumption And Mortality." Travel Medicine Advisor 22.9 (2012): 51-52. Academic Search Complete. Web. 2 Oct. 2013.
Sanneh, Kelefa. "Sacred Grounds." New Yorker 87.37 (2011): 92. Master FILE Premier. Web. 2 Oct. 2013.
Scott Sherman. The Brawl over Fair Trade Coffee. The Nation. Web. September 10, 2012