I love coffee. Luckily for me, it not only tastes like choco-late but is also a wonderful healthy beverage as well as a mood altering energy booster.
Not only does coffee improve short-term memory (anything helps!), but apparently now they are finding out it can reverse some of the effects of Alzheimers disease in the elderly. It can also help protect the brain against the dopamine-deficiency related Parkinsons disease. Contrary to popular belief it does not raise blood pressure. Most recently, coffee drinking has been found to be protective of the liver, helping keep cirrhosis at bay.
It goes on and on having more anti-oxidants than tea apparently. It also halves the risk for gallstones, reduces the risk of colon cancer by 25%, manages asthma, boosts mood, reduces headaches and has antibacterial qualities which keep cavities at bay (if you don't put in sugar I assume).
Of course, the dark side is the cultivation of coffee beans in countries in the global 'South', for export purposes. Like environmental destruction by plantations and scandalously low pay to local farmers given the value of the product.
Some have said that coffee is the second largest $$ commodity traded internationally, second only to oil. Perhaps buying fair trade coffee is a baby step in the right direction here? Although fair trade is far from perfect, and corruption gets in everywhere... it certainly has its critics.