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The science of coffee

Eurest | Great food |  17 August 2017

A cup full of coffee beans

Caffeine through the ages

While tea is generally considered the quintessential British drink, coffee has been popular here for just as long. In fact, our love of the drink dates back as far as the 1600s, when it was introduced to the country by the East India Company.

The beverage soon took off as coffee shops popped up around the capital, giving people a place to meet up and ruminate over the top topics of the day.

Coffee today

Fast-forward a few hundred years, and we’re still meeting in coffee shops to chew the fat. In fact, coffee is more popular than ever, as we each (or at least most of us) get through gallons of the stuff to keep us energised for our hectic lifestyles.

Here’s the thing — we’ve only just figured out how the stuff works. Sure, we’ve known for a while that it’s the caffeine that keeps us alert. But what does it actually do to our bodies to create the miracle morning transformation from moping zombie to zippy multitasker?

Finally, we (as in humans) have the technology to find out. So some scientists did just that, and the results are fascinating. 

The science of (staving off) sleep

It turns out that caffeine works by blocking one of the body's sleep-inducing molecules — adenosine. Normally, your body produces adenosine in order to start the sleeping process. So by blocking the molecule, coffee essentially inhibits sleep.

It also aids the flow of dopamine, which — as you probably know — makes you happy.

So there you go; two chemical processes that together make you more awake, and happier. That’s what we call a win/win — and yet another reason to enjoy a hot (or iced) cup of coffee when you’re feeling low.

In the workplace

For us, coffee is about more than just keeping you awake (although it will do that too). Coffee is a chance for you to take a break, to meet with colleagues, recoup, and ready yourself for whatever the day might throw at you. It’s not just a great-tasting drink — it’s great for the workplace in general. 

Take a look at our website to find out more about how our foodservice (and coffee) enhances workplaces around the UK.

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