I started drinking coffee in college.
A blend of half dining hall coffee, half hot chocolate in a brown, Styrofoam cup.
For me, it was a study aid. Not at all for taste.
When I graduated and moved to the big city, I started drinking more coffee.
With a Dunkin Donuts on literally every corner, the coffee was hard to resist. I would go buy a coffee just to walk around with a coffee–why not? I mean, I grew up in a place where you had to drive to get coffee. Walking to a coffee shop was a strange, new luxury that I eagerly incorporated into my daily routine.
Step One: Get off the T a stop early so that I can walk past a Dunkin Donuts before I head into the office.
Step Two: Order a large coffee with skim milk and three Splenda. Three. Yes, Three.
My love affair with artificially sweetened coffee continued when I went to work at a cafe in the South End of Boston.
Working at the cafe, I would probably drink close to six cups of coffee per day, which means close to 18 Splenda packets per day.
That’s just ridiculous.
Eventually, I transitioned to stevia in my coffee.
Then, to no sweetener at all.
Now I drink about three cups of coffee a day, with coconut milk and nothing else.
Even when I was drinking a bajillion cups of coffee per day, the caffeine never negatively affected me. (The Splenda, on the other hand, played a huge role in my digestive woes of yore.)
I’ve self-diagnosed myself as a fast metabolizer of caffeine. This means that I can drink a fair amount coffee without feeling any jitters. Hence why I used to be able to drink six cups of coffee a day and still function as a relatively normal contributing member of society.
Being a fast metabolizer means that I have the opportunity to benefit from some coffee drinkage.
The key is the amount of coffee you drink. One to three cups seems to be a good amount to reap coffee’s benefits, while more than three cups can bring out the bad side of our beany friend.
I think that one of the big problems with coffee consumption today is not the coffee itself, but all of the sugar that goes into our favorite coffee beverages.
An iced peppermint, white chocolate mocha from Starbucks runs at about 500 calories, with 69g of sugar. To put that in perspective, you’d have to eat 5.3 chocolate frosted donuts to get that much sugar into your system.
So. My advice:
- Buy some high quality, fair trade, organic coffee.
- Stick with either heavy cream or coconut milk (I find that thicker white liquid is better for cutting some of the bitterness)
- If you must sweeten, try cinnamon, green leaf stevia (not Truvia), or a dash of honey or maple syrup.
- Enjoy up to three cups a day, preferably before 2pm (so as not to interfere with your sleep patterns)
How do you take your coffee? How many mugs to you enjoy in a day? Feel free to share in the comments below!