With a café on nearly every corner, it’s not hard to get your morning fix, but choosing the right café might be more important than the coffee itself. Ben Glennon from JOY Organic Coffee Roasters explains why everyone needs a local café – and how cafés can actually benefit our health in unexpected ways.
With coffee shops dating back to the 15th century, it’s no surprise that they still play an important role in today’s society. We now use our local cafés as a place to meet with friends, conduct meetings, get work done or just to take some time out for ourselves. Cafés are a place to connect not only to our social network, but also to the local community that goes there. The feeling of having your place – where you know the locals, the staff, the baristas and the owners – creates a feeling of belonging and connection that is vital to our happiness and health.
Taking time out for yourself is so important for your mental health, and a café is a perfect place to get that time out. With the ambience, décor, music, and with good company, it’s easy to see why cafes can make us feel so good! Not only will you feel better, but a new study from the University of Buffalo has revealed that short bursts of alone time can reduce stress and stimulate creativity. No wonder people love their local café!
Having a daily ritual can be very soothing. Walking into your local café where the staff and barista know your name is a great feeling that can make any day seem better. But with so many options out there, how do you pick the right café for you?
Do the staff make you feel welcome, valued and at ease?
Are you just a number or do the staff take the time to get to know you?
How do you feel when you leave the café? If all things align, you should feel refreshed, energised and ready to take on the world!
Do they offer a variety of single-origins, specialty coffee, or organic and Fair Trade? This shows that they care about quality, social environmental impact, and the importance of community.
Is there a large selection of healthy food or snacks? Try some place that has organic, gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan offerings – you’ll be surprised at how good this food will make you feel.
Another amazing thing that happens at your local café – you’re more productive. Have you ever heard of ‘mental contagion’? It’s a term that psychologists use to explain the phenomenon where productivity is increased in relation to who is around you. If you’re surrounded by people who are working, motivated and productive, your productivity increases. So it’s not just a figment of your imagination that you’re more productive in a coffee shop!
Aside from the mental and social impact your local café has on you, we often hear the question, ‘Is coffee actually good for you?’
Over the past 10 years, numerous studies have highlighted the health benefits of our favourite beverage.
Drinking coffee has been linked to:
a 65 per cent decrease in Alzheimer’s – based on three to five cups per day (Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2009)
a 50 per cent decrease in the risk of suicide, as coffee acts as a mild anti-depressant and boosts production of serotonin and dopamine – based on two to four cups per day (Harvard School of Public Health), and
a 60 per cent decrease in metastatic (lethal) prostate cancer and a 20 per cent decrease in developing prostate cancer of any type – based on up to six cups per day (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2011)
Now, before you run out and start drinking 10 cups a day, make sure you speak to your doctor about how coffee may affect your personal health. In some individuals, coffee can have negative effects, so make sure you do your own research and speak to your doctor about any potential risks or benefits.
We really encourage you to find your local café, get to know the community and create a space that feels like a second home so you leave feeling great and ready to tackle the day. We hope you find a place where you’re welcome and feel a sense of belonging – get out there and enjoy!
Three ways to make your morning coffee fix even healthier
1 SKIP THE SUGAR AND FLAVOURINGS
A good-quality coffee with good-quality milk shouldn’t need any sugar at all! A good-quality espresso, ground and brewed to perfection, should never have a bitter or sour taste. It should be full-bodied, bold, yet sweet. As for milk, while your barista is frothing it, the chemical makeup is changed and it develops a sweet, caramelised flavour. As milk is heated to the ideal 65 degrees Celsius, the sugar is broken down into tiny, sweeter particles and the protein forms into a beautiful micro-foam (which gives you that gorgeous latte art).
2 SKIP THE MILK
Try swapping out milk altogether to reduce caloric and fat intake, as well as to reduce inflammation. A regular-size black coffee only has two calories! If you can’t cut out milk altogether, why not try an alternative such as almond or soy? Make sure it’s a high-quality, organic and non-GMO soy milk. For instance, we use Bonsoy at our café, JOY – the result is an ultra-creamy, smooth cup of coffee.
3 INSIST ON ORGANIC AND FAIR TRADE
Coffee is the second most heavily sprayed crop in the world, after cotton and followed by tobacco. Organic coffee is grown without the use of pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides. Not only is this better for you, but the farmers and land the coffee is grown on benefit greatly from organic farming practices. This is especially crucial in developing countries where appropriate clothes or protective equipment are either not worn or inadequately used. As chemicals seep into the ground, this eventually works its way into the groundwater, waterways and ocean systems and can wreak havoc for future generations. At JOY, we pride ourselves on using specialty-grade, 100 per cent certified organic and Fair Trade coffee to help spread awareness and lower our environmental impact.