Saturday, April 7, 2012

French Coffee Spreads Happiness in Our Brains

While living in Paris, an idea stretched a spark of imagination in my mind: French coffee really does spread happiness to our brains

Japy Freres & Cie of France knew how to brew coffee just right. This grinder was manufactured at around 1920. The handle is connected to the grinder via a decorative iron collar, as if to wind the hands of time that honored this superb delicacy.  22cm high and 7.12 cm wide, this box of varnished beech wood with its wooden internal hopper and metal hopper blades is a beauty to behold. 

There's a growing body of research that shows coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers are: 

  • less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and dementia
  • have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes

    Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health said that "there is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health." 

    The average American downs 416 8-ounce cups of coffee a year (World Resources Institute, 2009). What's all this java doing for YOU

    It's connecting you to the Renaissance that occurred in French thinking.  French intellectuals ridiculed all who did not defend the rights and freedoms of mankind. Voltaire said that it was "difficult to free fools from the chains they revere" and that "those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." 

    Of course, that defense of personhood is nuanced in the same way our neurons debate our principles in accordance with our biological comfort, concepts mirrored in themselves. 

    Coffee creates beautiful statistics. Even the words are charming, delightful, and appealing. Coffee engages our imagination, ravishes warmth inside our hearts and stomachs, and feeds us an exquisitely decorated cup of joe to show us that what's happening around us is not exclusively the stuff of French flying monks...

    It's the knowledge that happiness can be achieved by thinking about the things we commonly enjoy. Sponsored by the imagination, French idealism on everything from coffee, cheese, the baguette, the Eifel Tower, wine, fashion, etcetera, etcetera... affects our choices

    Looking into the mirror of our minds always reveals pleasant surprises and quickly leads to a tasteful metaanalysis of the seemingly superoutrageous. This analysis is an example of an intense need for creativity to bring us to life again. 

    In reconsidering our world, we naturally look back to the basics in a nostalgic celebration of our global common heritage as well as our continued experimental approach to living and learning in a healthy, extremely connected way. 

    Just as sugar is the compliment to coffee, so to is our brain's ability to find happiness in yesterday's self - a self that surprises us the more we introduce ourselves to its details. Whether its a buttery croissant with brie cheese and fresh berries served with a cup of coffee that's brewed just right, products that make us feel good are the true ecological choice of a world experimenting with creativity

    Coffee is art.   Happiness is a continuous journey from one pleasurable moment to the next. While nostalgia or curiosity about an object is a partial divergence from a purely pleasurable moment, its aroma lingers on in the memories of its warmth and recognition that we have a choice to say something, even if it reveals our deepest desires... to be happy ... drinking French coffee ... mysteriously delighting our brains.

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