Wednesday, June 10, 2009



Gerard Gotladera on his take on the Caffeine feud: why Coke never fueled his fancy and why Starbucks is one of today's most visited places in the world-not to mention coolest.
It's a coffee vs. Coke battle and we know it's bound to be one caffeinated (if there is such a word) read.
(Illustration by Kate*---Flickr user (click!))
I am currently perusing through Positively Coffee's page and I couldn't help but think, is there real substance in making an article for a fashion blog, talking about the health benefits of Coffee and some caffeine-filled soda? I mean, this blog is all about style and way-to-expensive leather goods that even I couldn't afford (yet). The answer is certainly yes. Our nation is a coffee fueled country where we have all sorts of coffee coming from all around the world. And that doesn't include our own brews of whatever that is Manila has to offer--whatever kapeng barako is.
Back then when our family lived in Bicol, after migrating from Chicago, kids small like yard gnomes and as dark as African Americans drank coffee with pan de sal like milk was to our breakfast cereal. Before, coffee ranked along with beer. They're both so senior and disgusting to me and mom had banned us from sipping coffee from our dad's cup. But now that I found the culture that is Starbucks (yes, it's that influential that even after so many shops shut down in more economically affected countries, I still think Starbucks is on top) and had successfully traded in fancy, schmancy frappuccinos for real, adult coffee, I do understand why adults love the stuff.
The closest I got to coffee when I was a kid, around forty pounds ago and maybe a few feet shorter, was Coke. Everybody knows how Coke tastes. Everybody knows how Coke is when it's all warm and entirely unattractive--certainly not the best drink in town if you asked me. Without any research whatsoever, I do know that the soft-drink has almost the same stuff Coffee has. Of course, Coke doesn't have beans. Coke doesn't come from beans. But they both have caffeine. Caffeine according to the ever credible Wikipedia is a drug that stimulates your Central Nervous System, replacing all your drowsiness with hyper activity. It's a psychoactive substance that's incredibly common because of its presence in soft-drinks, coffee and tea, to name a few. And when you look closely at it, coffee and sodas do match up quite well.
The difference though is that, according to most studies, Coke doesn't have any health benefits whatsoever while coffee boasts some.
Coffee has antioxidants which is of course good for your body because they slow down ugly oxidation reactions in the human system causing the damage of cells. Coffee is also rumored to protect against diseases...well it's still a rumor I think. WebMD says that coffee is the new defense against type 2 diabetes. Compared to any soda, coffee is a way better option.
Obviously before I wouldn't know what difference does it make if I drank Coke in the morning or coffee. I was only allowed to drink Coke and certainly not in the morning. So I couldn't put a finger on it if Coke provided a better pick up than coffee. I was sure though that with Coke, you couldn't avoid three things: bad teeth, palpitations and weight-gain (and other fairly unattractive stuff). That last one is of course a no-no on my list. I banished my average Coke habit after finding out-from some e-mail my mom made us read, that the drink can definitely clean your dirty toilet bowls. I don't want some drink messing up with my insides, alright. Reason why I am not a fan of the drink.
Now, I am a 19 year old kid who weighs just fine and stands taller than regular Filipino guys, living on coffee. My exposure to coffee is surely one thing I couldn't trace. First of all, I told you that back in Bicol, toddlers might've been sipping kapeng barako while rocking on their duyans. And then mom too was a strange coffee drinker. One time her lips might be tight around a cup's edge filled with coffee and then other times, she's all Coke here and Coke everywhere. And then came my grandfather who was the first person to have ever bought us drinks from Starbucks. And then you have house helpers who drink coffee and then all these other people you spot at the mall holding on to their energies-in-a-paper-cup.
So technically, coffee is everywhere. As I've said the Philippines is one coffee nation. And even if I choose to live in the states where my sister and I were born, it wouldn't change a bit. The fuel of New York city isn't the American dream---making it to the top, sitting pretty on those leather swivel chairs above Manhattan, it's coffee.
It's coffee for me. Hands down. Health benefits aside, coffee still is my pick. There are those days when you're incredibly down and just beat even when the sun is just rising and you couldn't help but fancy an iced whatever latte from Starbucks. It does pick you up and sort of kicks at your insides for an extra mile of energy. With Coke, all I could think about is having an acidic stomach and crashing down after some dose of kiddy sugar rush.
Sure, maybe the model's diet consists of cigarettes and ice cold Coke and they're all so thin. And the late and great Andy Warhol was a fan of the drink. But no way will I aspire to live on cans and cans of it plus boxes and boxes of cigarettes. Imagine the skin you'll be wearing on your face after a week of that. Not attractive.
With coffee it's a certified day enhancer, a drink that could be sweet with less calories and not to mention entitling you a visit to one of the world's most famous places of all time: Starbucks.

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