Coffee is culture. It is usually part of every get-together and coffee offers us most likely a moment of wellbeing. What is the deal about the assumption of coffee as leading drug in our Society? How is Coffee and Ayurveda connected?
Coffee a moment of joy
One thing first, I love coffee. The unmistakable smell that rises to your nose, when you open a new package of coffee. I love the aromatic smell of freshly grinded beans spreading out in my kitchen in the morning. The moment when I am looking forward drinking this warm, black beverage before starting your day. Or in the afternoon while sitting in a nice coffee place and treating yourself with a cappuccino and a home made cake. For me a personal moments of joy.
For me it makes a difference if I celebrate my coffee moment or if I just pour the black brew automatically into my organism because of a habit or because I am tired and I want to wake up my body and brain.
A drug that connects people
Coffee brings us together. There is rarely a gathering without a cup of coffee. Coffee belongs to good company and coffee is good company. A life without coffee in our society is hard to imagine. We need the black brew in the morning to start our engines and to function at work. In the last years coffee became more visible. As Coffee to go caffeine is our steady companion.
A bit exaggerated with the words of comedian Bill Hicks we can say:
„If you want to understand a society, take a good look at the drugs it uses. And what can this tell you about American culture? Well, look at the drugs we use. Except for pharmaceutical poison, there are essentially only two drugs that Western civilization tolerates: Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in.“
We can all decide for ourselves, if we find some value in this quote or not. Do we function in our daily life without coffee?
Coffee and Ayurveda
Coffee tastes bitter. Those qualities are related to the elements air and room. Because of the roasting process the ayurvedic characteristics for coffee are light, dry, stimulating, heating. Looking at the doshas coffee makes Vata and Pitta rise. However Kapha gets reduced. Our digestion is stimulated by coffee because it activates our inner fire (agni). But on the long run coffee is dehydrating and that leads from the ayurvedic point of view to congestion. Caffeine activates our nervous system. Adrinaline kicks in, our respiration increases as well as our pulse. Coffee leads to higher blood pressure and better concentration. With coffee we feel more awake and we get the necessary kick. Caffeine works because it causes stress to our brain. And what follows stress? Tiredness. We are tired and without motivation so we trink more coffee. The circle of addiction begins.
By now I am quite sensible towards the effect of coffee. For reasons of health I had to stop drinking coffee for half a year. I felt very limited by that. Not that I drank coffee excessively, I had 2 cups a day, but because I like coffee. At that moment I felt like there was no satisfying alternative to coffee. The abstinence came along with withdrawal symptoms like headache, brain fog and strong tiredness. When I got used to the detox I felt better.
Ayurveda and the effect off coffee
My dosha is strongly vata oriented and from the ayurvedic point of view I should generally avoid drinking coffee. Coffee has a lot of Vata characteristics. So drinking coffee pushes my already strong and my system gets out of balance. I notice this influence when I drink too strong or too much coffee. I cannot drink coffee after 2pm because I sleep unwell. Since I am aware of it I consume coffee as luxury Food. I cherish myself with coffee from time to time.
In the Ayurveda tradition it’s only the kapha type that is licensed to drink coffee. Kapha is slow and leisurely. They need the kick and that’s why coffee is doing them good.
What dosha type are you and what experiences did you make with the influence of coffee on you?