Ahhh… coffee. The elixir of the morning without which most of us wouldn’t function. What’s your poison? Latte? Espresso? Americano? How about a frappuccino? Cappuccino? Mochaccino? With foam? Without? With cinnamon? Without? So many options, so many forms. Just how exactly does coffee take its best shape, in your opinion? For me, it’s a double-tall, one-pump, no-whip salty caramel macchiato with a dusting of nutmeg nicely complimenting the aroma of the rich sultry espresso. From some lush green hillside in Brazil comes a handful of ripe red beans which, when roasted, crushed, and brewed, become ever so much more than a vegetable. Those cherries become energy. They become pleasure. They become euphoric. Wait. In an unsettling way, this is sounding familiar..… Vegetation from South America that becomes euphoric? So, in general… can coffee be defined as a kind of narcotic? Well that’s upsetting. I think it’s important here to specifically distinguish coffee from other potential addictive substances. For starters, it’s perfectly legal, it’s socially acceptable, and it isn’t life-threatening.
No one can be incarcerated for drinking too much coffee. And, because there’s no minimum age to drink this stuff, anyone can have a sip. A. You can purchase it anywhere, anytime, anyhow. Grocery store? Got it. Restaurant? Got it. Gas Station? Yep. This stuff is highly accessible everywhere. No sneaking around or breaking the law to get it. As a matter of fact, the police are completely in favor and fully supportive of this seemingly addictive substance (and the establishments which offer them), so no worries at all about having a run-in with the law.
No worries about having run-ins with anyone, actually. There isn’t a body out there who will cast a stone in your direction for drinking a few cups of this brew. It’s socially acceptable. In fact, it’s so socially acceptable that you will find it is a common ground for business meetings, blind dates, and even church functions. Coffee is a universal language. Even those who prefer their caffeine in a different form are generally supportive of coffee houses and coffee dates. It’s a sure thing - no shunning, no shame.
And no resulting life-threatening health issues, either. You can’t overdose on coffee. It won’t stop your heart, addle your brain, or disintegrate the cartilage in your nose. It won’t turn your lungs black or your teeth yellow. No one will find that you’ve stopped breathing because you had one too many cups that day. While it has often received some criticism, an article last year on ABS-CBS news cited studies that prove “the beverage imparts anti-oxidants, may improve liver function and reduce inflammation,” and encouraged coffee drinkers to “relax and enjoy it” (Presse).
By defining coffee this way, we can see that despite the addiction that it seems to form, and despite the pleasure it seems to induce, it is indeed a category apart from a true narcotic. Users will never serve time, be publicly shamed, or be found comatose on their apartment floor. It’s perfectly legal… it’s absolutely acceptable… and it’s hardly lethal. That about sums it up: Thanks for listening. My macchiato awaits.