Ah, coffee, the social worker’s best friend. From the enchanting aroma of roasted coffee beans to the warm velvety titillation the first sip leaves on your palette, coffee in the workplace is almost a necessity. At Westhab’s main office on 8 Bashford Street in Yonkers, we are thankful to have a Keurig machine that is always stocked to the brim with Bronx-born Café Bustello. As Westhab employees, we are tasked with building communities and changing lives—so we need to be operating on all cylinders. While some days may be harder than others, and sometimes the daily office grind begins taking its toll, the safe retreat offered by a hot cup of liquid gold can help to relax the soul and reinvigorate the mind.
Coffee is the world’s seventh largest legal agricultural export, and it is estimated that more than 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide every day. You see gourmet coffee shops on every other corner throughout New York City. Clearly, the influence of this little brown bean has become embedded in the fabric of the everyday for many cultures. And it might even be good for you. Robert H. Shmerling, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, writes in the Harvard Health Blog that the news on coffee is “mostly good”—including a recent study that found coffee drinkers live longer. Other potential benefits include lower risk of liver cancer (and perhaps colon cancer as well), liver failure due to cirrhosis, dementia, type 2 diabetes (which accounts for more than 90% of all diabetes), and gout.
So why not stock up on one of my favorites, the counter-intuitive “Death Wish Coffee,” in the break room? While the delicious, ultra-strong “Death Cups” might be a bit too much for some, many of my colleagues do share my love of coffee. Westhab Retention Specialist Lisa Bonet appreciates the feeling of coming to work early in the morning knowing there is a Keurig machine waiting for her with top-notch (and free) coffee inside. For Assistant Housing Specialist Jayme Neder, coffee marks the beginning of the workday, setting the tone and equipping her to address the ever-changing demands of supervisors, co-workers, and clients. Human Resources Coordinator Roxane Peters thinks that coffee is a necessity in the workplace because it keeps the office climate cordial. Let’s be honest, we’re human beings— imperfect, and irritable—so any custom that heightens civility is certainly welcome.
I’m a coffee connoisseur. I treat coffee like I’d treat wine. There is such a variety of coffee beans worldwide, much in the same way there are with grapes. You should take time to find what most agrees with your pallet. You should discern whether you like your coffee black or with milk, honey, sugar, cinnamon, or nutmeg. There are so many ways to define your coffee experience to suit your preferred taste.
So what is the moral of my National Coffee Day story? A simple cup of coffee may have enough influence to shape your day. So I encourage everybody to make that first cup of coffee your own. Get fancy. Get creative. Think outside the box. The more time and effort you take to make something meaningful, the more you tend to appreciate it. Imagine applying the same logic to your life. Whether it be at home, with work, or for your own personal endeavors, the more time you take to choose the right ingredients so that it’s “just right,” the more you appreciate it. So may each of our lives be like our preferred cups of coffee—personal, meaningful, and much appreciated.