Sitting at my desk on this mid-autumn morning, occasionally peeping through the window blinds of my second floor office, I see sun-dappled maple trees in the final stage of dropping their red, orange, and golden leaves. Earlier, when I retrieved the newspaper from the front stoop, the air was a tad nippy.
By now, I’m enjoying my third — or maybe forth (I forget) — cup of health food. No, not a protein shake, not one of those green juice concoctions that, to be honest, looks like something out of a Stephen King novel, not green tea or an herbal cleanser.
It’s a cup of coffee, a jolt of joe, a mug of java — straight up black, no sugar, strong but not bitterly so, like the stuff they sell at the ubiquitous coffee bistros that overcharge for bad coffee.
I make it myself — three scoops of grounds and eight cups of cold water — a formula that has worked for decades with numerous models of coffee-making machines, beginning with a stove top percolator and advancing through various iterations of electric coffeepots. The current version is a well-known brand with a built-in filter, which saves time and mess. It isn’t one of those new models with individual packets of pre-measured grounds that perks only one cup at a time. I don’t want one. I prefer to make a pot at a time, so a fresh cup is available as soon as I empty the last one.
The cup, too, is important. I prefer a heavy mug, the kind you find at diners. Paper thin, porcelain cups are okay for high tea, but coffee demands substance. The vessel should be at least as strong as the beverage.
I’ve been drinking coffee for as long as I can remember, before I left elementary school, and have been undeterred in my daily consumption by numerous health warnings. At various times coffee has been linked to several dread diseases, nervous afflictions – ONLY WHEN I DON’T DRINK IT — and possibly linked to stunted growth, which may be why I never topped six feet. It does keep me awake if I drink it after 7 p.m. So I don’t.
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But earlier this week I was overjoyed to hear that consuming from three to five cups of a coffee a day may extend my life expectancy. Considering my daily intake — I’m now on my fifth cup of the morning as I write this — I should make it well past the century mark.
Of course, next week some new study may dispute these findings and tell me that coffee causes baldness, acne, or toenail fungus.
Researchers should just quit while they’re ahead. Take a break, have a cup of coffee. I’m buying.