This is why my first cup of coffee in the morning is so cherished. It’s the part of my morning routine that’s consistent. Rain or shine, I can count on those quiet moments enjoying my fresh roasted Extra Morning Cup. In fact, before sitting down to write this blog I brewed myself a fresh pot and am sipping as we speak.
Just the sound of my coffee maker brewing and percolating brings me joy. It’s an experience for all the senses. Yet, we often take coffee for granted. We start to think of it as the fuel that gets us through our long to-do lists but in reality, drinking coffee is so much more than caffeine.
Here are three ways coffee connects us and improves our mental wellness:
1. Coffee creates a sense of community
“Want to grab a cup of coffee?”
“Come by for coffee, and we’ll talk it over.”
“I’m here for you. Anytime you are feeling down, call me, and we’ll have coffee.”
“I haven’t seen you in so long! Let’s have coffee and catch up.”
Coffee connects us. When a friend is going through a difficult time, a first date, getting to know a new neighbor, rekindling a long-lost friendship, or sitting in peaceful silence with your loved one - coffee can be the connector.
We’ve all said the phrases above and met someone for coffee. Business meetings, support groups, and church gatherings always serve coffee. And on a more personal note, it’s a way newly relocated military spouses connect and feel like they are a part of their new community.
You may not have considered how much coffee is weaved into our daily social interactions previously because it is so ingrained and natural for us. Coffee has become a part of our culture. It’s what has been dubbed as “coffee culture.”
Coffee culture is defined as the social behaviors surrounding coffee, specifically as a social lubricant. It is so easy for us to engage in social interactions and deep conversations with coffee because it calms us while easily adapting to any context. Aside from the great flavor, what I love about coffee is its ability to connect us and create a sense of community.
2. Coffee helps us be more mindful
A friend of mine has a beloved morning routine she is very loyal to. She calls it her “mindful mornings.” Although you may picture someone sitting cross-legged in meditation, it’s actually just her having coffee in her living room.
She wakes up before the rest of her family, brews a hot cup of coffee, and sits in silence, savoring the flavors in each sip — no phone, no computer, no TV or newspaper – just her and her coffee. For the next 15 minutes or so, she practices mindfulness by drinking her coffee.
This practice is beneficial to mental wellbeing and is now being practiced by many large corporations, calling it a “coffee meditation” to help reduce stress and provide clarity. Benefits of meditation and mindfulness include more resiliency, increased energy, reduced stress, and increased creativity. Try it the next time you make a cup of coffee. Holding your mug in both hands, pay attention to the warm temperature of the cup. Focus on this for a few moments and then move your face over your mug and smell the pleasant aromas of your freshly brewed cup. Do you smell any notes of cocoa, fruit, or nutmeg? Next, take your first sip. Pay attention to the feeling of the warm liquid and then savor the taste - as you swallow, focus on how this feels.
By doing this, you can’t focus on the dishes in the sink, what you didn’t accomplish last night or mentally add to your grocery list. It forces you to unplug and be in the present moment giving you all the benefits of mindfulness meditation listed above.
3. Coffee improves our mood and improves our mental health
Some interesting research has found that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of depression by one-third. Professor Dr. Alan Leviton of Harvard Medical wrote a white paper entitled Coffee Consumers Less Likely Than Others To Be Depressed. In this paper, he reviewed research on depression and coffee and found coffee drinkers were significantly less likely to be depressed than people who did not drink coffee. The review looked at over 100 meta-analyses and peer-reviewed studies covering more than 300,000 individuals.
Dr. Leviton concluded, “Coffee’s positive impact on mental health appears to be related to its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and microbiome-promoting properties, which are also associated with coffee drinkers’ reduced risk of developing certain cancers and chronic diseases.” Some of the studies in this review found that the caffeine in coffee blocked mood-depressing chemicals in the brain. Of course, caffeine also improves mental function, alertness, and concentration, which can make it easier to tackle your day. Further, its ability to create a sense of community and connection positively affects our mood.
Not all coffee is created equal, and you don’t need to be a self-proclaimed coffee aficionado to know the difference between an amazing cup of coffee and one that’s not-so-good. Enjoying a cup of delicious, fresh roasted coffee in the morning is one of the easiest ways to start your day off right and connect with others.
We know coffee, and we understand how important it is. This is why we have prioritized quality every step of the way, from handpicked beans from small, family-owned farmers, to roasting in small batches. Our beans are packaged and shipped with care so that we can all connect through our shared love of coffee.
Have that second cup, get that freshly roasted blend, or invite your new neighbor over for a coffee. Because it’s not just coffee…. it’s connection, and it improves our mental wellness.