The Stimulating Experience
There is no argument. Coffee is stimulating. Some may argue that it's the caffeine that's stimulating, I respectfully disagree. It's coffee that is stimulating. The experience of enjoying a cup of coffee, and everything that surrounds it, is stimulating. Enjoying a good cup of coffee heightens all five senses.
Of course, there's the sense of smell; freshly ground coffee, or that aroma when you first open a bag. I am fortunate enough to also have opportunities to smell coffee in its green, pre-roasted, state as well as while it's being roasted at the Gimme! Coffee roastery. Each stage of the beans' life has a distinct aroma and each bean, from a variety of sources around the world, also has a distinct smell. This sense is again stimulated as the coffee is being made and, once again, as the cup is lifted to your mouth (getting ever-so-close to your nose). Whether you experience this over your morning read (which, I hope by now is this blog) or at the cafe with friends, there is no denying that the smell of coffee is up there with fresh cut grass, Classic Old Spice, bread baking and vanilla extract (although I wouldn't recommend smelling all of these at the same time).
Immediately after the sense of smell has been aroused, the taste buds are called to order. Splashing your coffee, whether it be black or loaded with sugar, across your tongue is what consuming this popular drink is all about. With the right coffee, roasted and prepared right, your tongue will take on a personality of its own as you sip every hot mouthful. It's also at this point that the true stimulant kicks in: caffeine. In humans, caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant, temporarily warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness. It is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive drug, but, unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is both legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world. With that said, it is at this point that your other three senses suddenly become more aware.
Your eyes. Your sense of sight. Your vision. How you detect every aspect of making your coffee or watching a skilled barista pulling a shot -- is as stimulating as anything. You look around your kitchen and take in the morning. You glance around the cafe and take in the artwork, hanging on the walls. This is all a part of your coffee experience and your eyes can taste the room as clearly as your mouth can taste that espresso. As the coffee kicks in, your eyes widen and focus and you begin to get motivated as you prepare yourself for your day.
You pour the cup of hot coffee after pressing down on the French press plunger. Your finger deftly inserted into the handle of your favorite (Gimme! Coffee) mug. You run your hand across the counter at Mott Street as you make your way to the other side to grab your cappuccino. You feel the softness inside your gloves as you prepare to step back out into the cold with your coffee. Your sense of touch has been stimulated. The world around you and everything you touch sends signals to your now-sharpened brain. Your every nerve ending has been stimulated by your coffee experience.
You step outside and hear the traffic. You sit at your kitchen table and hear the Gorillaz on your iPod. You listen to the sound of the espresso machine pushing out your Burundi shot. You hear the neighbors next door as they pull out of the driveway and head to work. You hear yourself breath in. And out. It's the start of another day and it has been stimulated. By coffee.