It was Napoleon who described us as a nation of shopkeepers.
Were he around today, the little guy would probably amend his view ever so slightly to coffee-shop keepers because where we once had butchers, bakers, grocers and fruiterers, we now have cafes.
Actually, he’d probably just call us a bunch of baristas – for whom there is exciting information that will surely boost business; drinking coffee could add years to your life.
A scientific study, covering 10 European countries and more than half a million people, showed that men who drank at least three cups of coffee daily were 18% less likely to die “from any cause” than non-coffee drinkers.
What peace of mind to know that if you’re having a cappuccino – is there actual coffee among the froth? – with your pals and a double-decker bus hurtles through the front door of the cafe, you’ll likely live to tell the tale.
The news for the women in the coffee shop, however, isn’t so good, even if they, too, are on three-a-day.
Sad to say, the survey concludes that they experienced only an 8% mortality drop.
Even in death there’s inequality.
Caffeine is now the world’s most widely-used drug with more than 90% of us consuming it every day.
Does that mean that coffee shops are akin to the shooting galleries deployed in some countries where heroin addicts are allowed to take their daily fix in a controlled and safe environment?
Of course not; heroin can kill – coffee keeps you alive.
At least until the next survey.
In the meantime, have another Americano.
It will at least keep you wired while you’re still breathing.