I rely on coffee. I get into college and have a double espresso: black, two sugars. Perhaps I started my reliance on it too early in the year - it is now impossible for me to function without it. But why is it such a big thing? Is it the addictive properties of caffeine, or is it inbuilt into society?

There are a few theories about when and where it was found – the main one is that the plant was discovered in Ethiopia in the 11th Century, and the leaves were boiled – the resulting liquid was thought to have medicinal properties. It is alleged to have been spread to Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) in 1555 where, in the Ottoman palace, a new method of drinking and brewing coffee was created. It soon became a vital part of palace cuisine and was very popular in court, demonstrated by the position of Chief Coffee Maker being added to the roster of court functionaries. From here, coffee spread to mansions, and from there to the public. Thanks to the efforts of merchants and travelers who passed through the city, Turkish coffee soon spread to Europe and the rest of the world, arriving in England during the 17th Century.

Back to present-day, 95 million cups of coffee are drunk every day in Britain, according to the British Coffee Association, while the average British person drinks 2 cups per day…but is this a good thing? When the caffeine travels to the brain, it ‘fires up’ certain neurons that can improve memory, mood, energy and cognitive function, provided it is consumed in moderation. There is also some evidence to suggest it may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Although drinking it excessively can cause agitation and anxiety in some people – isn’t this the rule for most things? Having anything in excess is generally considered not too good for you, so I suppose you can’t really say it’s the fault of the coffee.

I know for me, caffeine helps me calm down – maybe it’s the routine, that I HAVE to sit still and focus on this one thing for a while, or the fact that caffeine does stimulate dopamine production, which my brain is sorely lacking. Caffeine can also boost concentration for people with ADHD as it mimics some of the effects of stronger stimulants used to treat ADHD, like amphetamine medications. For me, I am simply grateful for the creation of the drink. So, grab a coffee and let’s raise those consumer stats – cheers!