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Photo by Lance Cpl. Ryan M. Blaich

Morning madness is brewing on Lejeune

2 Mar 2006 | Lance Cpl. Ryan M. Blaich

Nineteenth century novelist and highly regarded poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., once said, “The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.” That can be interpreted to suggest, the morning is for coffee lovers and the rest of the day is just a remainder in the equation of life. So, how does a liquid with negative stereotypes and hard found evidence against it survive in a health-conscious environment such as the Marine Corps? Easy … it works.

Coffee is grown all over the world, in more than 50 countries, making it truly international. Two thirds of world’s coffee production comes from Central and South America. Brazil turns out 35 percent of the world’s coffee and leads the way in the coffee trade, according to 

Coffee originated in the plateaus of Ethiopia around 600 A.D. Ironically, coffee berries were first used for medicinal purposes and later drank for religious meditations, said the website.

Fast-forward a few thousand years to a line forming upstairs inside the H-1 building. The crowd is a mix of Marines, sailors and civilians, ranging from officers to lance corporals. All are waiting for coffee.

“What happened to the other machines?” asked a gunnery sergeant in the back of the line. Referring to the coffee makers taken from the store earlier this month, he asked, “How could you let them take your machines?”

“I didn’t let them take it,” explains Elizabeth Banks, operations assistant for the Marine Corps Community Services convenience store. She says that due to low sales of coffee, the owners of the machines, S&D coffee, removed them from the store. “They didn’t take into account the free coffee mugs,” she said while filling a coffee filter with fresh coffee grounds. “I’ve stood here and filled this one machine for a solid hour,” Banks reveals.

Banks noted some Marines are big on coffee, and keeping the coffee fountain flowing takes significant attention. She said that officers are the overwhelming consumers of coffee, but she has also noticed more and more lance corporals buying the mugs, which allows for an unlimited fortune in coffee for as long as the sturdy plastic mug lasts.

Coffee’s addictive personality, says, come from the main chemical, caffeine. And although coffee has never been linked to cancer, caffeine is an acknowledged carcinogen.

Caffeine, along with other chemicals found in coffee, interfere with the brain’s chemical, adenosine, which causes a calming effect, and in return creates stress in those who drink it on a daily basis, according to’s research. explains that coffee is generally not good for those who drink it. This is not a new idea and seems to beat a dead horse, but realize there are some hard facts: some coffee is sprayed heavily with pesticides. Coffee can stain your teeth. When drank after meals, coffee may cause problems with blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. It decreases the quality of sleep and is dire for those who are at risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots. But is there another side to the story?

There are scientific studies that refute most, if not all, the negative side effects of coffee, according to Many of the studies that put a negative spin on coffee are outdated. Studies show that boiled or percolated coffee is at a high risk of containing carcinogens because of the temperature and amount of time the water soaks in the coffee bean. Prior to 1975, coffee was regularly made without using filters, which removes much of the chemicals that elevate cholesterol levels.

Today’s coffee studies, according to, show that caffeine increases intellectual activity when fatigued or bored and that it speeds up the metabolism during exercise while reducing hunger. Coffee has a protective effect against cirrhosis of the liver and helps fight off and prevent colon cancer. There is belief that the theophylline in coffee protects in opposition to asthma. The Federal Drug Administration recognizes caffeine to be “Generally Recognized as Safe.” By reducing the release of histamines from mast cells, coffee can be considered to have anti-allergic properties.

With all these studies crossing paths, it seems clear that common sense must overcome. One thing that all the researches state however, is, no one who is pregnant or is believed to be pregnant should ever drink coffee or high levels of caffeine.  For everyone else, moderation should be the approach to coffee guzzling. says to drink plenty of water, which prevents dehydration, and take a vitamin/mineral supplement to replace lost electrolytes when coffee intake is greater than once a day. They mention that organic coffee does not use pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers, therefore, is better for you. So relax and enjoy you morning cup(s) of joe, evidently it is not the poison everyone once believed it to be.