For millions of people around the world coffee is an integral part of the daily routine. For some, the thought of functioning without a cup first thing in the morning is unfathomable, while others continuously top up on caffeine throughout the day in an attempt to remain at their peak. Incredibly, research has indicated that we consume 500 billion cups of coffee each year, and exportation of coffee alone is a $20 billion industry. From an employment perspective, the coffee industry is integral to various countries, particularly in developing regions. 67 percent of the world’s coffee is grown in the Americas alone, contributing to the economic livelihood of over 25 million people.
Originally met with Contempt
While coffee is now grown in a host of countries all over the world, its popularity was not always as great. When coffee first came to Europe in the 17th century it was condemned by the local clergy in Venice as the “bitter invention of Satan”. However, after trying the drink himself, Pope Clement VIII gave it Papal approval. Coffee houses throughout Europe began to become social outlets for people that shared common interests such as: bankers, merchants, artists and brokers. In fact, many well-known businesses were established from these coffee houses, such as Lloyds’ of London.
Now, coffee consumption and production has never been more popular. Coffee the shops litter the streets of towns and cities in developed countries. The cannibalisation strategy of Starbucks is particularly interesting. Their figures indicate that having their coffee shops in close proximity to each other is actually good for business, such is the popularity of the brand.
Coffee Consumption around the World
So, who drinks the most coffee in the world? America? Italy?
10. Brazil (1.32 cups per day).
9. Belgium (1.35 cups per day).
8. Germany (1.43 cups per day).
7. Denmark (1.46 cups per day).
6. Serbia (1.49 cups per day).
5. Austria (1.51 cups per day).
4. Slovenia (1.68 cups per day).
3. Netherlands (1.84 cups per day).
2. Norway (1.98 cups per day).
1. Finland (2.64 cups per day).
The Science behind Coffee and Productivity
As mentioned above, for many, drinking coffee is part of the daily routine. We drink it at home and at work. The big question is- does drinking coffee make you more productive? Recent studies have indicated that many coffee drinkers link caffeine to productivity. For example, 48 percent of respondents to a college survey stated that they were less productive without coffee, while 40 percent of 18-24 year olds said they struggled to function without coffee. Interestingly, of all of the professions surveyed, nurses and physicians were the most dependent on caffeine, ahead of hotel workers, food preparers, engineers and teachers. While it is debatable whether coffee on its own can make you more productive, there are studies that suggest that coffee can be beneficial for memory. Studies from Joh Hopkins University suggest caffeine can help to improve memory recall capabilities, while there are also indications that it can improve alertness.
The actual reasoning behind why caffeine can help to make you seem more productive is down to blocking receptors in the body. The adenosine tab generally increases throughout the day, and as more is produced, the nervous system begins to steadily come down a few notches. Eventually, you fall asleep. However, when you drink a cup of coffee the caffeine copies the shape and size of adenosine and enters the receptors and blocks them. While the adenosine tab is blocked, it leaves the body’s natural stimulants, dopamine and glutamate free to roam the body. Unfortunately, as most coffee drinkers can attest to, over time it takes more and more caffeine to block the receptors and to receive the benefits of the body’s stimulants, as drinkers build up a tolerance.