This past Thursday I read a story in ScienceNews (the June 30, 2012 issue) that said drinking several cups of coffee a day could increase lifespan and reduce the risk of death from heart disease, lung disease and even infections. And not just one cup of coffee a day - two or more is preferred.
What. The. Crap.
This is perhaps the best news to my life, as well as most college students and writers at-large. I love coffee. I love how it tastes; I love how it makes me feel. It picks me up when I'm down. It makes my world go round. Is this unhealthy? Probably. But according to this article - maybe not! Maybe I'll outlive everyone and be healthy and run around at age 95 in all my infection-fighting glory because I'm just SO FREAKIN' CAFFEINATED!
Except it's not the caffeine that apparently is linked to longevity - decaf coffee provides the same benefits, for those of you out there who drink that weird stuff. And, according to another article in ScienceNews from May 12, 2012, caffeine produced a negative effect on rodents - those that had previously worked hard for extra rewards took the easy way out for fewer rewards after ingesting caffeine.
But these scientifically-tested drawbacks weren't enough to bog me down. Sure, caffeine isn't the best for ya, but the coffee is still okay, right? Coffee is actually kind of healthy, right??
Well, later that Thursday, I ran into my friend Aki Goremezano (senior, soccer player, East Asian Studies major, smart kiddo) and had a conversation that went something like this:
Me: GUESS WHAT AKI!! I found out today that I have a 13% chance of living for longer than the average person because I drink at least two cups of coffee a day!! Woohooo best day ever!!
Aki: Really? Hmmm...I don't know if I buy that. I mean, people who drink a lot of coffee probably have more money, and higher socioeconomic status is linked with a longer lifespan, right? So maybe this study just shows that rich people live longer.
Me:...I'm going to choose to ignore that intelligent observation.
And so forth. Freakin' Oberlin kids, always considering every side of the picture.
But I wasn't lying when I said I'm going to choose to ignore these "valid" points and continue drinking coffee. I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU SAY PEOPLE cause by gum I really love my coffee and, of all the addictions to have in life, I feel like this isn't the worst one.
With all that preamble, I'd like to present to you my top seven favorite coffee shops IN THE WORLD. That's right. The whole world. Get excited (and please add yours to the comments section!).
1. Aro Café
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Here's the thing about New Zealand: They don't drink coffee. They drink espresso, and espresso only. At first it drove me nuts - that every time I ordered coffee it came in a tiny little cup and cost me a fortune - but I gradually adjusted to the taste and grew to really love it. This little coffee shop did espresso right - they roasted their beans right there in the shop (with a special Turkish roaster, pictured below) and boy, it was strong. Highly recommend if you're ever in the neighborhood (hah).
Location: Washington, DC (Adams Morgan)
Gotta love their complimentary animal crackers with your coffee order. And free wifi. And comfy couches. I primarily go there to a) use their wifi b) people watch, and c) drink their frozen cappucinos in the summer; they ACTUALLY taste like coffee, not like the ice-y milkshake crap at Starbucks (not to be pretentious or anything).
3. Quartermaine Coffee Roasters
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
I never hang out in this coffee shop (it's in Bethesda, after all) - but I put Quartermaine on here because they roast the strongest, boldest, zippiest coffee beans of any place in DC. Buy them in bulk to make yourself at home.
4. The Blind Dog Café
Location: Washington, DC (U Street area)
Although this place is kind of overpriced and obnoxiously trendy, I unfortunately am a sucker for the half-bar half-cafés that are intimate and comfy and have nice artwork. Perhaps I'm too easily impressed. Anyways, this place features cozy armchairs, mason jars, bacon and goat cheese croissant sandwiches, and homemade sodas. YUM
I have no idea who these trendy people are, but these are the kinds of folks you'll run into at the Blind Dog Café. Photo from the Washington Post.
5. Mysterious Coffee shop in Boston because I forgot the name
Location: Somewhere in the north end of Boston, next to the cannoli bakery?
I know, it's lame that I can't remember the name of one of my favorite coffee shops in the world (I'm clearly getting paid by these people, right?), but they definitely made one of the best mochas I've had, by far, ever.
6. Addington Coffee Co-Op
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
I know, again with the shmancy New Zealand coffee shops, but this place is worth it. First of all, it's a co-op, so it's all fair-trade coffee - PLUS they roast the beans right there in the shop. Then, they have fantastic food - croissant sandwiches, artisan breads, etc. And the best part is the little store that's attached to it, that sells fair-trade earrings, books, clothes etc. Actually, the bicycle earrings in my cover photo of this blog are from this place! And - even more fun fact - they had the Urban Biking Handbook in their store, written by Chris Haine, an Oberlin grad.
7. The Slow Train Café
Location: Oberlin, Ohio
The last one seems kind of anti-climactic - I mean, it's the ONE coffee shop in Oberlin basically - but I really do love Slow Train. Their drip coffee is sometimes mediocre, and sometimes it takes forever, and sometimes you can't find a seat to do your homework and it's really annoying - but overall, it's fairly priced, it's convenient, and I've spent far more of my time and money at this coffee shop than anywhere else in the world. Besides, for every nine drinks you buy at Slow Train you get one free. Not a bad deal, especially when the coffee is one dollar. Gotta love Ohio!