This Might Be The Reason You Drink So Much Coffee

When there's only 24 hours in a day and you have 30 hours of work, studying, carpools, soccer practices, or laundry to cram into it, there's a magic elixir that will increase your energy, attention span, and production levels: coffee.

According to the National Coffee Association, people have been enjoying coffee since a goat herder in modern day Ethiopia uncovered "ancient coffee forests" and began processing coffee beans into a drink. By the 15th century, the beverage had made its way to Arabia, where it was savored in "public coffee houses" — establishments akin to the coffee shops we frequent today. With such a rich history and a pervasiveness that has lasted for centuries, it's interesting to take a look at why we love coffee and drink so much of it.

One theory says it's really all about caffeine. Smithsonian Magazine points out that caffeine is, in fact, a drug with addictive properties. Caffeine imitates a receptor-blocking process in our brains that leaves us energized and alert, albeit for just a few hours. This "high" not only allows us to accomplish more, it also has withdrawal effects when you come down from it, including fatigue, muscle aches, and headaches. Therefore, we keep "using."

Caffeinated people are happy people ... or are they?

As reported by Medical News Today, A group of scientists from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute were both perplexed and fascinated by way coffee continues to be one of the most popular drinks in the world, despite its bitter taste. They suspected it may have something to do with genetics, and so set out to conduct a study. They found that the more sensitive an individual was to the bitter taste of a cup of coffee, the more they drank. This fact may seem contradictory, but, as the study's authors claim, the reasoning all comes back to caffeine, stating that the "stimulating effects of caffeine on the brain" really "acts as a kind of positive reinforcement." Therefore, people who drink a lot of coffee simply develop a liking of its bitter taste.

Perhaps many of us are addicted to caffeine, as we're unlikely to give up our morning (or afternoon) cup of Joe no matter how bitter it might taste. After all, there's always cream and sugar.