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Coffee: good in small doses

Coffee is one of the most actively traded commodities, and in the US it is a multibillion-dollar global industry. Starbucks Corporation, a coffeehouse chain based in Seattle, Washington, and the largest in the world, reached a record US$3 billion in total net revenue in fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of 7 per cent from 2010.

Cambodia is becoming a developing nation, with high-rise buildings, clothing boutiques, fast food chains and coffee shops. You can find coffee shops on every street corner in the country, primarily in Phnom Penh. The Cambodian coffee industry has tripled in the past year and the business is eyeing the export market.

Cambodian coffee is grown in the hills of Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri provinces. This is a great location because the climate is cooler and the orchards are irrigated by natural streams. Cambodian coffee is roasted till almost black with the help of vegetable and pork fat. Once the beans are roasted, it is ground into a fine powder, creating a perfect cup of coffee with a lasting aroma and flavour.

But there are problems affecting Cambodian coffee production. In addition to the general lack of infrastructure and poor road conditions, coffee beans from other countries are grown on Cambodian soil.

Vietnamese coffee beans are produced in Cambodia, and later sold to Vietnam for a nominal amount.

As a result, many local coffee bean farmers are in danger of shutting down their production because they do not have enough revenue to pay for their coffee business.

Every week, my friends and colleagues would ask “Want to meet for coffee?” Meeting at a coffee shop is a good way to bond with people. The majority of the clientele are businessmen and students. It’s also the new culture for the young generation, as they hang out with friends, play internet games and go on Facebook, as coffee shops provide a place for socialising and networking.

It’s easy to become a fan of coffee. Coffee is caffeine, and caffeine is a central nervous stimulant which can have positive effects on the body. Caffeine can improve your sporting performance, increase your alertness and reduce fatigue. Also, caffeine prevents crystallisation of cholesterol and reduces the risk of developing gallstones.

Coffee can also be an addiction, and you can become dependent on caffeine and develop something called “caffeinism”. The more coffee you drink, the shakier you will become.

Consuming too much caffeine can give you an upset stomach, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, birth defects and even high blood pressure. Tolerance increases and you become more reliant on it and require more doses to get the same effect. But caffeine must be taken in low dosages.

Whether you prefer hot, black coffee or iced coffee with milk, the recommendation for safe drinking levels is 500mg.

If you want to cut back on the caffeine, start by drinking coffee that’s half real coffee and half decaffeinated. You can still get the flavour you want, while decreasing your caffeine intake. Eventually you can switch to decaffeinated or herb coffee which has no caffeine at all and experience a natural and new energy.

The Social Agenda with Princess Soma Norodom
The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by
The Phnom Penh Post.

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