Coffee gives you an energy boost, help clear cluttered minds and lift the mood. It can fight cancer too. Image Credit: Pexels/Eyad Tariq

I love coffee, but I can’t drink it. My stomach acidity doesn’t tolerate coffee. Chocolates too. Yet, I indulge occasionally. Sometimes, it has severe consequences in the form of a bloated stomach or acid reflux.

Coffee has always been part of my daily life. I’ve been drinking black coffee since my school days. That’s the first brew my mother made every day, although breakfast is always accompanied by milky tea.

For a long time, coffee remained a morning drink until I moved to Bengaluru and discovered filter coffee, which remains a favourite. Moving abroad, I came across espresso and Americano, a close relative of my black coffee.

My favourite coffee beans

In Doha and Dubai, espresso remained a favourite before stomach acidity kicked in, ruining my food habits. I turned to Americano in the hope that the effect would be diluted. It worked for a while until my gastroenterologist banned it along with chocolates, wheat, legumes and fizzy drinks.

The French press, filter coffee decoction maker and moka pot are gathering dust in my kitchen. So is the coffee grinder. Along the way, I sought advice on coffee preparation from friends obsessed with coffee. I also read up on coffee beans; Ethiopian Sidamo single origin was my favourite.

How I make coffee
Here’s how I brew coffee; it’s a recipe from the internet.
■ Coarsely grind three tablespoons of beans and put it in a French press.
■ Heat 1.5 cup of water until bubbles start appearing at the base of the saucepan.
■ Pour a little water into the French press to wet the coffee powder for 30 seconds, and pour the rest of the water. Place the plunger on top, but do not plunge.
■ Let it steep for four minutes before slowly pushing the plunger all the way down.
■ Pour and enjoy your morning cup of Joe.

My friends and I used to spend evenings in Dubai coffee shops. Shakespeare and Co was a favourite, and we occasionally dropped in at Tonino Lamborghini in Times Square and other coffee shops in the malls.

I learned from John Grisham’s novel The Broker that Italians drink cappuccino only in the mornings. If Italians did that, so could I. Despite my love affair with coffee, I avoided Turkish coffee, although one Syrian colleague used to wax eloquent about its flavour. During a recent visit to Istanbul, I tried Turkish coffee and loved it. It was so good that I wondered why I had never tried it in Dubai.

I drank coffee because I loved it. The aroma and flavour were heady, and it perked me up. It was my go-to drink every time I needed an energy boost. It also helps rev up my thought process. Certainly, not for its health benefits.

What are the health benefits?

Occasionally, I would come across surveys about the health benefits of drinking coffee if consumed in moderation. Here’s a list of benefits from the Johns Hopkins Medicine website.

1. Coffee drinkers could live longer, as they are less likely to die from coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

2. The body may process glucose or sugar better. Some studies say coffee drinkers are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

3. Less chance of developing heart failure.

4. Less likely to get Parkinson’s disease. Coffee may help Parkinson’s patients to better control their movements.

5. Good for the liver. Research shows that coffee drinkers are more likely to have liver enzyme levels within a healthy range.

6. Stronger DNA. Dark roast coffee decreases breakage in DNA strands.

7. Reduces the risk of colon cancer. Researchers found that coffee drinkers were 26 per cent less likely to develop colorectal cancer.

8. Decreases risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

9. Lowers stroke risk, a leading cause of death in women.

An impressive list! Makes me want to resume coffee drinking. But I will pass. Stomach acidity is a beast; it ruins my mood and appetite. I will stick to black tea and have an occasional filter coffee.

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As for the coffee-making utensils at home, it won’t lie idle. My son has taken up coffee drinking. He loves good coffee but doesn’t have the patience to grind the beans and brew a good coffee. I'm sure, in time, he will learn the difference. When that happens, he will ditch the instant powder and brew his coffee.

Maybe he will make one for me too, occasionally!