The world of Tzu Chi (Vol.107)

2019 • 02 50 ellness e Co ee Conundrum T here is a hawker centre next to my neighbourhood market. In the hawker centre, there is a traditional coffee stall, where a long queue of customers would be seen every morning. A few days ago when I passed by this coffee stall, one of the helpers raised his hands and shouted to me, “Kopi C Siu Dai?” In Singapore, this means coffee with evaporated milk and less sugar than the Kopi C. Thus, it has only a tinge of sweetness. Although I did not plan to get some coffee, I subconsciously replied with an “Okay” hand gesture. After paying and exchanging brief greetings, I continued to walk home with the Kopi C Siu Dai. A friend complained to me that her father brought her preschool child to a coffee shop and let the child have a sip of coffee. As one who fully heeds experts’ opinions on coffee, she said to her father, “Caffeine is not good for children. How could you let such a young kid taste it?” The father replied, “When you were kids, I would let you all taste it once in a while also. Didn’t you grow up well?” Despite disagreeing with her father, she did not argue further. After listening to her story, I shared with her my personal experience and thoughts. A relative of mine once sharedwithme that back in his lower primary school days, he would follow his grandfather to the coffee shop, and the latter would pour some coffee on the saucer for him For most 3-in-1 coffee, the first ingredient listed is either creamer or sugar. Creamer is not milk powder, but a source of trans fat. One way to add some protein or calcium to coffee is to add some fresh milk to it. to taste. Upon hearing that, I was so excited that I forgot my manners and interrupted, “I had a similar experience once when I followed my dad to the coffee shop!” That was in fact, the only time in my life. The elders who poured coffee on saucers for us to drink have long left us, but strangely, the memories have stayed with us even after a few decades. “Chocolate cakes, chocolate buns, chocolate drinks, dark chocolates, carbonated drinks and so on, are all sources of caffeine.” It was when I mentioned this to my friend that she realized her kid had consumed quite a lot of caffeine from chocolate products, whereas she had been so concerned about the coffee her kid ingested. When my dad was still around, he would have a cup of coffee prepared by my mum daily. My mum would stir and mix the coffee and condensed milk with a teaspoon, and despite the strong aroma of the coffee, she would not take even a sip. That was because she held her own opinion that coffee was bad for health. When I grew up, I followed my mother’s and father’s habits of making and drinking coffee. The only difference was I did not use condensed milk. As days passed, I used less and less sugar. Nowadays, sometimes I would even go without sugar. “Oh, you drink Kopi O.” Some people label Kopi O as a “healthy” choice of coffee and Translated by Tan Hooi Chien