Food Writer's Diary

Coffee, more arousing than sex?

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I’m almost ashamed at how glad I am that we have free espresso here at Penton Media headquarters.

It’s a small perk, but it keeps me at my desk, except for the 78 paces (I just counted) it takes me to get to and from the machine. It probably keeps me alert, possibly helps prevent me from getting Parkinson’s Disease, definitely makes me feel better about my employer and saves me certainly hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars a year.

Also it gives me a reason to use my demitasse, pictured here. 

Of course I’m not alone in my appreciation of coffee, or in my appreciation of fancy coffee — “specialty coffee” is the term favored in the industry, and it now makes up half of all coffee sales in the United States.

But there are days, usually on weekends, when I don’t drink coffee. I don’t notice any ill effects from my abstinence. I don’t feel logey, I don’t get headaches, I’m not especially irritable.

That apparently makes me unusual.

That’s certainly the indication from the results of a survey recently conducted by Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts.

The Starwood Hotels subsidiary commissioned a study about coffee drinkers’ habits in six countries: The United States, the United Arab Emirates, China, France, Germany and India. Among the 7,455 respondents, more than half — 53 percent — said it was better to wake up to coffee than to sex. Even more — 78 percent, which is almost crazy — would rather give up alcohol, social media or sex with their spouse for a year rather than coffee. Just over half (51 percent), said they could go longer without sex than without coffee.

Most of the respondents — 55 percent — were women.

Studylogic, which conducted the surveys via telephone, asked 27 questions and spent on average 25 minutes per interview. That’s a long time. It found out things like 16 percent of respondents can’t speak to other people without coffee, 28 percent feel less creative and 22 percent can’t get out of bed.

I’m not sure how that last one would work. Do they sleep next to a coffee maker? Do they keep a thermos in bed?

But most coffee drinkers — 58 percent — said they drink coffee to relax.

Why did Le Méridien spend the considerable time and expense to conduct such research? Because they’re launching a new coffee initiative at their nearly 100 hotels.

Le Méridien hopes to have a “master barista” in place at each of its properties by the end of the year.

These coffee experts will be responsible for leading “coffee-related initiatives” at each property, according to a press release, and also act as “lead coffee cultural ambassador, maintaining knowledge of current coffee trends while raising the local community’s awareness of coffee.”

Since a majority of people apparently would already rather have coffee than sex in the morning, I’m not sure how much diplomacy is necessary to get people revved up about coffee, but considering what a great profit center it is for foodservice operations, it might prove to be a worthwhile investment.

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Food Writer's Diary is a blog written by Bret Thorn, senior food editor of Nation’s Restaurant News, which covers culinary trends and his adventures.

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Bret Thorn

Bret Thorn is responsible for reporting on culinary trends in foodservice for Nation's Restaurant News. He joined NRN in 1999, after spending about five years as a journalist in Thailand, where...
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