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Coffee, said the Napoleon-era French diplomat Talleyrand, should be hot as hell, black as the devil, pure as an angel, sweet as love.
Bach wrote a cantata in its honor, writers rely on it, and, according to legend, a pope blessed it. Lady Astor once reportedly remarked that if she were Winston Churchill’s wife, she’d poison his coffee, to which Churchill acerbically replied: “If I were married to you, I’d drink it.”
Coffee is everywhere, through history and across the world. And increasingly, science is demonstrating that its popularity is a good thing.
Harvard scientists have for years put coffee under the microscope. Last year, researchers announced they had discovered six new human genes related to coffee and reconfirmed the existence of two others. The long-running Nurses’ Health Study has found that coffee protects against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Researchers are continuing to follow up on 2001 findings that it protects against Parkinson’s disease.