Coffee on the Brain

kummer may11 coffee post.jpg

Photo by Kricket/FlickrCC

There were several pieces of news about coffee and health in this Boston Globe piece, which made delightful airplane reading, and even caught the attention of our own Jerry Baldwin.

The article is a roundup of the generally reassuring news about coffee and health that appear every few years, with the same regularity that studies linking coffee to some health scare, generally about irregular heartbeat or cholesterol or even cancer, appear. As Walter Willett, who always manages to talk in English, commented after I'd gone through the abstracts and actually read many of nearly 325 studies of caffeine and health for my Joy of Coffee, "You know how every artist has to paint a bowl of fruit? Well, coffee is every nutritional researcher's bowl of fruit."

One caveat: when the writer, Judy Foreman, cautions against drinking non-filtered coffee, she includes French press coffee, because it's steeped. I believe that the studies linking coffee and cholesterol she mentions were done with Scandanavian boiled coffee, which like the boiled tea my plane and train-mate mentioned, is simply boiled, campfire-style, and simply poured out of the top of the pot or maybe through a strainer (or in camp, a sock, with luck a clean one). Jerry's and my beloved French press does have a metal filter, or nylon in most current iterations, and I think merits an exemption. At least I hope it does.