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It's the Coffee-est Time of the Year

December 12, 2010

Down the lane, snow is glistenin’… we’re walking in a winter wonderland…..straight to the local coffee shop. Among coffee shop owners, it’s commonly agreed that the winter chill brings more customers into their shops for hot drinks. Stephen Pytak reported in the Republican Herald that he had visited several shops – a tough job, but someone had to do it – and all the proprietors reported a similar trend.

The second part of the article relayed the statements of a nutritionist. She confirmed many of the findings previously reported in this space, such as the research showing moderate coffee drinking helps prevent diabetes, Parkinson's disease, dementia and certain types of cancer. She also stated that coffee helps the heart and for women non-smokers, it helps prevent strokes. She left out one important factor: if you add more than a teaspoon or two of sugar, these benefits might be overshadowed by the negative effects of too much sugar. Sweetener usage also has to be in moderation.

Pytak did not talk about the reasons that hot coffee drink consumption increases in cold weather. Also, he was only writing about this phenomenon as it occurred in coffee shops. He didn’t investigate whether or not people increased their hot coffee consumption at home in cold weather. At least one of the customers stated that she didn’t drink coffee except in the winter, so she is proof that the cold brings on more coffee drinking, whether at home or in the shops.

Though he didn’t address it, there could be good reasons for the increased patronage of coffee shops in winter. People might be home alone more and feel the need for the social atmosphere of a coffee shop. One diner waitress commented that the place was like “Cheers” and the customers and workers were “like family”. Then there’s the aspect that people out walking in the cold might use coffee as an excuse to get out of the cold and sit in a warm place. Or maybe the stress of driving on ice or snow causes some drivers to feel the need to take more breaks from the car in the winter.

We can all think of many reasons why we might visit coffee shops more in cold weather. But with all the nice efficient coffeemakers we can have in our kitchens and the varieties of coffee, it doesn’t take many excuses to opt for one or two extra coffee drinks in the winter, even at home. Cheers!



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