On day 170 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I explored drinking coffee as an act of self-care.
Recently, hot beverages have come under fire.
In June, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced findings that “very hot beverages” (those over 149 degrees Fahrenheit) “probably cause cancer of the esophagus in humans.”
Now, I happen to prefer my coffee on the hot side. In fact, I visit my coffee pot frequently in the mornings for warm ups. But I wasn’t exactly sure what “very hot” tasted like, and I certainly had no idea just how hot my usual cup-o-joe was.
So, I did some research of my own.
I poured a cup of coffee from a freshly brewed carafe and tested the temperature. It registered at 160 degrees.
It turns out that “very hot” is quite hot indeed. I don’t know about you, but I find it nearly impossible to gulp–or even drink–coffee at this temperature. More often than not, I find myself sipping it or letting it sit for a few minutes before testing it again.
And that’s a natural response. Our bodies seem to know better than to drink very hot beverages. Similar to pulling our hand away from a hot dish, waiting for hot beverages to cool before drinking them is sort of a no-brainer.
What I also discovered is that the 160-degree cup of coffee cooled rather quickly. In just 5 minutes, it had cooled to 140 degrees – well below the so-called danger zone. And at 140 degrees, I still considered it hot and quite enjoyable.
In case you’re wondering, the infamous hot coffee lawsuit back in 1994 involved a 79-year-old woman who suffered 3rd degree burns after accidentally spilling a cup of coffee at McDonald’s. The coffee registered at 180 to 190 degrees – very, very hot indeed.
All of that aside, and perhaps even ironically, drinking coffee was my self-care practice for the day. It has become part of my daily routine–one that I look forward to each morning. As I sip on my hot (but not too hot) cup of coffee, I review my goals, vision board, and plan for the day. Coffee helps me ease into the morning.
How do you warm up for your day?