Ever since finding its way from America to Europe, coffee has become one of the most popular beverages in modern times. Its popularity grew so much that it literally became a part of popular culture. There are various novels, songs, and even movies dedicated to this (usually) hot brewed drink. Many artists described the enjoyment in taste and smell of freshly brewed coffee and the general aesthetic of coffee-based subculture. The popularity of coffee is also presented in various ways it can be prepared and presented. There is espresso, coffee latte, French press, even iced coffee. However, everyone agrees that the biggest contribution of coffee to society is making people efficient and eager to work. Indeed, we can thank coffee for any work done between morning and afternoon, and also many night hours of focused activity. The vast majority of employees would probably choose to relinquish their breakfast in favor of coffee, and we would agree with them completely. It’s hard to imagine the world working the way it works without copious amounts of coffee lubing its proverbial gears. But before we start talking about the benefits of a workplace coffee, let’s present you some facts about it you probably didn’t know or didn’t have anyone to ask about.
The Origins of Cofee
When asked about the origins of coffee most people would mention South America, and they would be wrong. The first coffee plants originated in tropical Africa, precisely Ethiopia, and Sudan. It also appeared in Madagascar, Comoros Islands, Mauritius and in the Indian Ocean. Coffee is now grown mostly in equatorial regions of the planets, including Africa, America, India and Southeast Asia. Although coffee is originated in Ethiopia and Sudan, the earliest historical source of coffee drinking similar to what we know it today dates from 15th century Yemen. In Sufi shrines is found the evidence that denizens of today’s Yemen roasted and brewed coffee seeds in a manner similar to contemporary. However, since Yemen isn’t an origin ground for coffee, they had to import it from East Africa by Somali traders. Then, they started to cultivate the seed and soon enough coffee was spread throughout the entire Arabian Peninsula and North Africa. From there, coffee reached Europe and spread to the rest of the world. Concerning the name itself, it seems that word coffee has been derived from the name of the region where coffee was first used, Kaffa in ancient Abyssinia, which is today southwest Ethiopia. English word coffee was probably evolved from Dutch koffie, which is further borrowed from Ottoman Turkish kahve and Arabic qahwah. Interesting enough, qahwah originated from the verb which means ” lacking hunger”, which refers to coffee’s reputation as an appetite suppressant.
History of Coffee
The first mention of the coffee in historically credible evidence dates from the 15th century and it’s attributed to Ahmed al-Ghaffar in Yemen. That was the first time it’s recorded that coffee seeds are roasted and brewed in a similar way they do now. History says that coffee was exported to Yemen from Ethiopia by Berber merchants it returns for Harar beans. Sufi mystics in Yemen were using coffee to stay awake during their sacred rites, and there are many legends about the coffee origin based on the Sufi mythos dating as far as the 9th century. Yemen’s city Mocha became the coffee trade center, and from there, coffee started to spread north into Magreb, Arabia and Ottoman Empire. The spread of coffee all over Arabia in North Africa is associated with the spread of Sufi religion, and many coffee houses are open in the vicinity of religious universities. However, at the beginning of the 16th century, coffee was banned by conservative religious leaders because of its stimulating effects. Those prohibitions didn’t last long though, and coffee continues to spread north to Italy and the rest of Europe, while Dutch merchants brought coffee to America and East India.
Coffee in Europe
The first place in Europe where coffee was introduced was Malta, during the 16th century. The way it was introduced was through slavery, as many Turkish Muslim slaves were imprisoned by Christian soldiers. Even in the penitentiary, Turks continued to make their traditional beverage, which was described and recorded by many travelers. Soon, coffee became very popular among the Maltese nobility, and many coffee shops were built on the island. The Republic of Venice also popularized coffee by trading with North Africa, Egypt, and the East and bringing a lot of African goods to Europe, including coffee. Venetian merchants introduce coffee drinking to wealthy people, making them pay large amounts of money for that exotic beverage. The first European coffee house, aside from Malta, was established in 1645 in Venice.
Health Effects of Coffee
Scientists agree that concerning the medical aspect, coffee is generally safe as long as levels of intake are within the normal amount. Furthermore, coffee is more likely to develop health results than to cause impairment. Unless we are speaking about Honore de Balzac’s level of consumption (he drunk average 18 cups of coffee per day, which probably drove him to an early grave). There were some studies that connected coffee consumption with increased risk of bone fractures and fetal loss, but these results aren’t very reliable due to the insufficient quality of study and irregular criteria. There were certain theories in the 90s about the connection between coffee and indigestion. A review found there is no connection between those two, but also that coffee can promote gastrointestinal reflux. Also, coffee consumption proved to be beneficial for enhancing the postoperative gastrointestinal function. Moderate coffee intake is in the worst case non-threatening and in the best case advantageous for any kind of health, including cardiovascular, mental and diabetic.
Psychological Benefits of Coffee Breaks
People who don’t consume coffee on a daily basis probably won’t understand the importance of coffee break for work. However, the usefulness of coffee breaks for efficiency is not just a matter of opinion, but it is scientifically proven. There is a general consensus between doctors and psychologists about the connection between taking regular breaks and managing stress levels. Unless you are working in Japan, you would be pretty much shunned by your working community if you took a nap during your working hours. It’s greatly more acceptable to move from the screen and take a break to have some coffee, tea, cigarette and chat with colleagues. Taking a break favors your productivity a lot, especially if you are working intensively, sitting in one place for 9 hours straight. In that condition, taking a break and talking to someone not only helps your productivity but also so improved connection with your colleagues and gives your chance to unblock your mind. However, due to the advancement of technology made us all permanently connected to our work, which made us more efficient but also unable to “switch off” our working mode. That was the reason for the decline of coffee breaks in the modern corporate environment. Scientifically speaking, coffee breaks are still insufficiently studied as a type of office behavior. Coffee breaks are even more than that, you can say it’s a social ritual which boosts coping mechanisms among members of the work community.
The Importance of Coffee Machines
Among the traded commodities, coffee is one of the most valuable ones, with only oil being more precious. Fortunately, coffee operates in smaller amounts, so it’s quantity measured in teaspoons, not in barrels. Nevertheless, coffee became a core part of a workday, providing a perfect head start which helps employees tackle all the professional challenges. Another curious fact about coffee is that it appears in many ways and forms. Old fashioned coffee, known in certain areas as Turkish, is not enough to satisfy the diverse taste of employees and customers. There are also espresso, latte, cappuccino, hot chocolate, and many other coffee derivates. This is the reason why a quality coffee machine is somewhat a necessity in an office. Having one or several high-quality automatic espresso coffee machines in the office is a big statement for both your employees and customers. Needless to say, a good coffee machine is not the only condition for happier and more efficient employees, but it makes wonders for general mood and morale in the office, as it shows that employers care about their workers. That simple gesture is often enough to no boost morale and productivity in the workplace.
Coffee and Productivity
It is a certified fact that drinking caffeine can help you stay alert and focus better. Drinking coffee can also help you overcome the afternoon slump. But many people don’t know how exactly coffee does that. The answer lies in the chemical our brain contains, called adenosine. The purpose of this chemical is to make someone feel sleepy once the adenosine levels in the brain build up. Being a stimulant, coffee successfully blocks adenosine raise and keep a person awake and alert. Coffee helps operators stay awake by increasing their brain activity and causing an energy boost. Of course, coffee cannot wake up someone who is already asleep, but it can make someone kick out of the dozing feeling.
Coffee and Learning
Not only a good cup of coffee will keep you alert, but it will also help you learn and keep new information faster. About 2 cups of coffee every day will help the brain distinguish information in a better way. Feeling alert can make people understand things quicker, which coffee contributes greatly. Coffee also positively affect memory, as regular coffee intake can suppress forgetfulness for 24 hours. This is why a coffee area is a good idea because it gives your employees the place where they can learn new business-related material, remember their duties and responsibilities.
Coffee and Morale
An interesting take concerning the connection between sleep and ethics says the people who get too little sleep are prone to go along with unethical practices at work. Coffee is there to help sleep-deprived people to contain their willpower and self-control and refrain from undertaking any unethical actions. Employers should take care not to overwork their workers, but they cannot always control how much rest their employees get. What they can control is how much coffee they will offer in the workplace. And for the sake of ethical behavior at the office, there should be plenty of it.
Coffee and Socialization
Maybe the most prominent aspect of having a coffee at work is the social one. Taking your colleagues on a coffee break became widespread and integrated into business practice. Coffee breaks are the perfect opportunity to strengthen relationships, meet new colleagues, talk about business-related issues relaxed way and overall build your social network and status among your colleagues. People in Sweden believe that most of the work gets done during the coffee break. They even have a designated word for it, “Fika”, which means an obligatory break for coffee, cake, and chat. It is scientifically proven that coffee breaks inflict a positive effect on groups’ strength and productivity. Coffee breaks are also usually where new ideas are reflected, and where people can exchange opinions in a less formal way over a cup of hot beverage.
Coffee is one of the most valued commodities, and for a reason. One good cup of coffee can overturn even the worst day at the office. Most of you know how stressful the office work can be and how a cup (or three) of coffee can dramatically improve the motivation and energy to get things done. Consequently, bad coffee can pretty much ruin productivity and even impact relations with the clients. Therefore, good coffee is a necessity for every office. Having a coffee break is a chance for employees to take a pause from daily business strains, giving them a chance to relax, chat, joke, and socialize in general. It’s really hard to imagine how the world would look if coffee never spread from Africa to the rest of the world.