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Millennials' Love of Coffee Could Contribute to a Global Shortage

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Whether it’s the rise of hookup culture or the death of the napkin industry, Millennials are used to taking the blame. Now, it looks like a global coffee shortage could be the latest problem traced back to 19- to 34-year-olds. As Bloomberg reports, young people’s coffee-drinking habits are driving up global demand to record heights

Outlets have been reporting a looming coffee bean shortage all year, and the situation is growing increasingly dire. Since dry weather in Brazil has slowed the country’s crop of Robusta beans used for instant coffee, more companies have turned to Arabica beans as an alternative. But suppliers are struggling to keep up with the demand: During the last week in October, Arabica coffee prices in New York surged to their highest point in 20 months.

Demand for coffee in the U.S. is on its way to reaching record-breaking numbers, and Millennials’ taste for the beverage is contributing to the problem. The generation accounts for roughly 44 percent of the country’s total coffee consumption. According to the National Coffee Association, 48 percent of people aged 18 to 24 and 60 percent aged 25 to 39 drink coffee on a daily basis. Coffee drinkers are also developing the habit earlier in life, with Millennials born after 1995 starting up before age 15 (for comparison, average Millennials on the older end of the spectrum started drinking coffee at age 17).

The pressure Millennials are putting on the industry isn’t limited to the coffee-loving U.S. Markets like Brazil and China are also feeling the effects of their younger populations’ java cravings. Fortunately, stockpiles of unroasted coffee beans can provide coffee companies with a temporary cushion in case demand doesn’t slow down—which it doesn’t appear to be doing any time soon. In the meantime, Millennials might consider cutting down their coffee consumption with some alternative caffeine sources.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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Just Smelling Coffee Can Give You a Brain Boost
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Coffee’s pleasures have long been proven to go beyond its function as a social and mental stimulant. For instance, its anti-inflammatory properties may contribute to greater longevity and it might lower your risk of type-2 diabetes. Most of these benefits are typically attributed to ingestion. But what if the smell of coffee led to a boost in your productivity? And what if that scent didn’t have to come from coffee at all?

The results of a new study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology lend a lot of credence to the idea, as Newsweek reports. The paper describes 114 undergraduate business students who were asked to take a Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT). One group was led into a room filled with the scent of coffee (which was generated by an electric diffuser) to take the 10-question algebra exam; another was taken into a room that didn’t carry the aroma. Participants who were in the Starbucks-esque environment scored significantly higher than students deprived of the scent.

The subjects later disclosed that they felt emboldened by the coffee smell as soon as they walked into the room, believing they would be more cognitively focused and better equipped to deal with the pending math problems. Since these students had higher expectations of themselves, it’s clear the smell created a placebo effect. It’s also possible that their past experience with coffee boosting their alertness created an olfactory association with its benefits. Even without actual caffeine, the students were still able to improve their mental functioning. Previously, scientists have discovered that sleep-deprived rats who smell coffee were able to ease their fatigue-related stress.

Still, while it’s perfectly fine to huff the aroma coming from your cup, you should stop short of actually snorting it. Powdered caffeine can easily facilitate an overdose of the drug that can lead to heart failure.

[h/t Newsweek]

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Drinking Up to Eight Cups of Coffee a Day Could Help You Live Longer
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Good news for coffee fiends: That extra cup of joe in the afternoon could help you live longer, according to a new UK-based study spotted by Newsweek. Researchers determined that people who drink between one and eight cups of coffee per day may have a lower chance of death, regardless of whether their bodies are able to metabolize caffeine well.

To reach these conclusions, the team of researchers analyzed data from the UK Biobank pertaining to the lifestyle choices, demographics, and genetic information of 500,000 people, 87 percent of whom were coffee drinkers. More than 14,000 participants died during the course of the study from 2006 to 2010, and an inverse relationship between coffee drinking and the risk of death was recorded.

These findings were published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, but scientists say more research is needed to determine the link between coffee and other health outcomes. A similar study last year by the European Society of Cardiology suggested that people who drink up to four cups of coffee a day are 64 percent less likely to die early than those who hardly drank coffee. Every two additional cups of coffee improved one’s odds of an extended life span by 22 percent, researchers determined.

However reassuring these results may be to latte lovers, public health specialist Robin Poole of the University of Southampton told Newsweek that this doesn’t necessarily mean non-coffee drinkers should suddenly start caffeinating. (Poole was not involved in the study.)

"We know that some people metabolize caffeine quite slowly and are less tolerant of the apparent physical affects of caffeine, which of course comes from many sources other than coffee,” Poole said. “Such people would be better to avoid too much coffee, or move toward decaffeinated choices, [which] this study has shown still have beneficial associations.”

[h/t Newsweek]

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