Why We Love Coffee

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Coffee is the second-most consumed beverage in the world, after water. And if the world continues the trend the way it has been for the last few centuries, it will soon overtake good old-fashioned H2O as the number one source of hydration. 

But what is it about coffee that makes it so popular? Why are so many people into it?

It turns out that the story of coffee is an interesting one. The reasons people like coffee aren’t necessarily what you might think. It’s not just about the caffeine (which does help). 

So why does coffee seem to be winning in the age-old battle against tea, the other drink of choice for people across the globe?  Here are some of the reasons we collectively love coffee and why there’s a coffee shop on practically every street corner. 

The Taste Exploration

The first reason for coffee’s popularity is the taste experience. Unlike virtually any other bean, coffee has a deep, rich, and highly distinctive flavour that sets it apart from everything else. Nothing comes close to the combination of richness, smoothness, and bitterness the drink offers, particularly when manufacturers get the bean-roasting part of the process just right. 

Many people drink coffee all their lives and train their palate on it. Over time, they can tell the difference between subtle flavours in each type of bean, making the drink even more interesting. This process is driving a new sector, similar to the wine-tasting industry. Drinkers want exotic beans from far-flung places and destinations where they can delight in coffee-tasting sessions, sampling flavours for themselves. 

The Nostalgia

A slightly strange reason we love coffee is the nostalgia factor. Consuming the drink often connects us to critical times in our lives associated with the aroma of freshly roasted beans. In this way, coffee can remind us of cherished moments connecting with friends or starting out in our careers for the first time. 

Researchers believe coffee’s effect on nostalgia comes from its profound effect on our sense of smell, our most repressed sense. Smelling something again after a long time triggers associative memories which can produce striking emotions. 


A more prosaic reason for our love of coffee is simply that you can now find it anywhere. It’s in shopping malls, service stations, superstores, and even next to fuel pumps. Grabbing a coffee and going has never been easier than it is today. 

This accessibility is critical. The more available something is, the more likely people are to try it, creating a virtuous feedback loop. 

We can see this pattern playing out in places where coffee wasn’t historically popular. For instance, coffee consumption was relatively low in the UK during the 1990s. The beverage of choice was traditional black tea. But that quickly changed with the advent of American coffee shops in the country (and some home-grown and Italian names). With a coffee shop on every corner and many choosing to sweeten their drinks with sugar, the brown stuff became a hit. Today it is ubiquitous, displacing old tea-drinking habits in everyone except the very old.

The Craftsmanship

The craftsmanship is another aspect of coffee driving its present popularity. People love the fact that the drink has become a kind of artistic expression, with virtually every element subject to innovation and flair. 

The roasting methods, for instance, are a tool for improving or changing the flavour of specific beans. Changing the temperature or length of the roast helps to bring out a different flavour profile, adding interest to the palate. 

Artistry and craftsmanship also emerge from the way baristas present their coffees or mix blends to come up with new and unique flavours. Many coffee houses now import rare, specially cultivated beans from farms to generate new drinks their patrons love. 

The Antioxidants

Another reason for coffee’s popularity is the sheer number of antioxidants it contains, many of which have health benefits. In fact, coffee is so rich in these polyphenols and flavonoids that it is the highest source of them in the standard American diet, which is almost wholly devoid of any whole plant foods. The reason coffee might appear to convey such staggering health benefits is that it is virtually the only source of health-promoting chemicals in our diet dominated by high-fructose corn syrup, refined oils, and white flour. 

The antioxidant capacity of coffee is similar to some herbs, which are superstars in their domain. As such, the drink may improve metabolic function and disease resistance in some people, particularly those with naturally low antioxidant status. 

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The Stress Relief

We also love coffee collectively, thanks to its ability to offer us profound stress relief. The act of sipping the brew helps many people relax and unwind after a busy morning, setting them up for the rest of the day. Some people even take coffee later on in the day, or in the evening, to help them feel better. 

Of course, coffee contains vast quantities of caffeine which you might think would counteract this effect. However, research shows that the stimulatory effect of the drink doesn’t necessarily shut down people’s capacity to relax. A feeling of “alertness” need not imply stress or tension. 

The Cultural Significance

Coffee has cultural significance in some parts of the world, which also drives high levels of consumption. Italians originally brought coffee culture to the U.S., which is why the drink has been popular there throughout history. However, that’s not the only place where coffee thrives. It is also an essential part of the culture in some Central and Latin American countries. People living in these areas often associate it with specific traditions and ceremonies or rituals, which mark the cycle of life and are critical for it. 

The Caffeine Boost

Of course, we can’t ignore the effect that coffee has on our collective energy levels. Many people rely on a morning cup of Joe to top up their energy levels in the morning, getting them ready for a long and potentially difficult day. 

Coffee contains more caffeine than tea, providing a bigger buzz per drink. It also contains a specific type of caffeine that our body quickly takes up, providing even more of a buzz or boost.

The Variety 

The variety of coffee is another factor that works in the drink’s favour. Today, there are numerous methods for brewing coffee including the drip, Fresh press, and espresso method. You also get a choice of beans, and you can add various flavourings to the drink to change the experience, like caramel, vanilla, and spices. While coffee doesn’t go with everything, many common flavours are complementary, from chocolate to cardamom. 

The Social Connection

People also love the social connection coffee provides. Being able to gather around a table and share a non-alcoholic beverage with people makes it more accessible and eliminates the need to go out to a bar or pub. Cafes provide an entirely different atmosphere. 

The Act Of Brewing

Many people also enjoy the act of brewing coffee and all the intricate steps involved in getting it just right. The complexity of the practice feels like a type of art, similar to shoemaking or baking. It’s all about continually refining the process until you create something delicious. 

Buying a Sage coffee machine and figuring out how it works is all part of the fun. People want to understand coffee-making and how they can replicate the sorts of results they get in the shop. 

The Smell

Another significant draw of coffee is its unique aroma. The smell is enticing, even for those who don’t normally enjoy drinking the stuff. 

What makes the smell of coffee so special? The answer is the caffeoyl oil that changes chemistry as it gets older. Cold beans don’t release many aromas, but this changes as coffee becomes hotter and the products of the oil start to escape. 

You should notice that the smell is strongest as coffee is reaching its optimal temperature. That’s what produces the “wow” smell that everyone loves in the morning. 

The Warmth And Comfort

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Finally, many people love coffee because of the warmth and comfort it offers. It can be a wonderfully refreshing drink when served cold in the summer, or a real warmer when served hot in the winter. 

While other venues tend to shut down for the colder months of the year, coffee shops get busier. Coffee enthusiasts love nothing more than to cradle a warm mug of Joe while staring out the window on a dark, bleak, or drizzly day. 

The desire to drink hot drinks during the winter might be an evolutionary strategy people use to stay warm, even as temperatures plummet. Coffee contains plenty of energy and is a bit like drinking a hot water bottle making you feel cozy inside. 

So, those are some of the reasons we love coffee as a group. Do any of them speak to you? 


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