The Coffea Plant By: Angela Davis Clark, HR Director I had a meeting earlier this week, after a three (3) day weekend which included an extra vacation day. On my first day back to work, Microsoft Outlook reminded me that I had a 9:00 AM meeting. It is my usual routine to get a cup of coffee shortly after reporting to work. But, on this morning, I was so focused on getting a few things done prior to the meeting, I ended up grabbing a cup right before the meeting. As I sipped on the (hot) cup of coffee while conducting the meeting, I could feel my energy level rising with every sip. What I didn’t know was that my low energy level was noticeable to the participants of the meeting, who commented that I was more “perky” toward the end of the meeting compared to the beginning. I attributed it to my cup of coffee. As I thought about what to write for this edition, I wondered how many other employees depend on that cup of “java” to give them a “lift” or “boost” in the morning. I don’t know whether it’s the aroma or the caffeine that attracts me the most to this particular beverage. It’s obvious that I need the caffeine in the morning, but I think the aroma is a strong attraction as well. The smell of coffee always arouses my nostrils. One cup usually gives me the boost that I need to make it through the day; and, on exceptional days, two cups is usually the maximum. Coffee comes from the seeds of berries from the Coffea plant. The genus coffea is native to tropical Africa, and Madagascar, the Comoros, Mauritius, and Reunion in the Indian Ocean. Once ripe, the coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. Dried coffee seeds, referred to as beans, are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. Coffee is one of the most valuable commodities exported by developing countries. It is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, equivalent to 146 billion cups of coffee per year, making the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world. Coffee represents 75 percent of all caffeine consumed in the United States. Even that small cup of coffee can make a difference at the office. Nearly half the U.S. workforce agrees, with 46 percent noting that they are less productive at work if they go without coffee. The caffeine in coffee stops the main compound in your brain that makes you sleepy, called adenosine. Adenosine builds up throughout the day and lowers the body’s energy levels, which in turn causes sleepiness. The caffeine in coffee blocks those adenosine receptors. There are work productivity advantages associated with drinking coffee; it is said to “fuel the brain.” The caffeine also ramps up your brain’s energy levels. The fuel gives you more energy and helps your brain to learn faster and improves retention. More energy equals enhanced memory, an ability to focus, an ability to solve problems, and improved cognitive functions, which are all functions that need to be exercised daily at the JCCO. When you add a touch of cocoa to your coffee it gives it a chocolate creamy taste, which helps to boost your mood. There may be health benefits associated with drinking coffee. Some findings are contradictory as to whether coffee has specific benefits. It is recommended that we consume no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. An 8-ounce cup of coffee usually equates to 100 milligrams of caffeine. There are side effects to drinking coffee (or any caffeinated drink) if you intake more than the daily average. The Mayor Clinic notes that side effects from drinking too much coffee include irritability, upset stomach, rapid heartbeat, muscle tremors, and restlessness. There is something special about a coffee break. Coffee breaks are a way to get to know your colleagues better and bond with them. Coffee breaks also allow employees to relieve tension, step away from the computer screen and stretch their legs, and move around which helps blood flow. A coffee break may help an employee to de-stress and rejuvenate. It almost sounds like you can’t go wrong with a small cup of coffee in the morning. Frisch, Suzy (June 5, 2015), 3 Scientific Links Between Coffee And Productivity at Work, productivity-at-work, retrieved 06/06/2017. Baptiste, Denise (October 10, 2015), 7 Benefits of Coffee Break At Work, http://www.boldsky. com/insync/pulse/2014/seven-benefits-of-coffee- break-at-work, retrieved 06/06/2017. Wikipedia, Coffee, Coffee, retrieved 06/06/2017. 3