As far as made-up holidays go, today’s a pretty good one. Apparently, September 29 isn’t just Hilary Duff’s birthday but National Coffee Day in the U.S. — not to be confused with International Coffee Day, which is two days from now, October 1.
National Today, a website that dutifully keeps track of all the made-up holidays, believes National Coffee Day was established for late September “as a jolting reminder to get back to work following a long summer,” which is pretty damn depressing, but hey, at least you can get some free(ish), potentially mood-boosting coffee out of it whether you plan on being productive or not.
Here are some coffee deals for today: Starbucks will give you a free pour if you bring a reusable cup. Dunkin’ will give you a free medium cup if you join its rewards club and make a separate purchase. And both Wawa and Krispy Kreme will give you straight-up free coffee, cups and all. That’s fine and dandy, but an entire day dedicated to a drink so many of us are dependent upon may cause you to stop and once again ask yourself the health world’s favorite beverage-based question: Should you be drinking coffee, free or otherwise, at all?
Coffee is notoriously contentious — it’s good for you one day, slowly killing you the next. Back in 1991, the World Health Organization put it on a list of carcinogens, but by 2016, coffee was being lauded as a healthy beverage that could prevent certain forms of cancer. In 2018, it once again got slapped with cancer-warning labels in California, while Goop was willing to conveniently fill our butts with the cure-all.
So is coffee good for you? Yes. The good news is, as of last year, the general consensus stands that coffee isn’t bad for most people. That is, in moderation (three to five cups). And beginning your dosage after 9 a.m. may get you the most bang for your buck. Consider cutting back if you want to sleep soundly, and definitely drink considerably less coffee if you’re pregnant. Most important, rest assured that the extra pour you treat yourself to on a fake holiday — once a year to temporarily drown out some of your existential dread — probably won’t do any damage in the long run. Turns out it’s pretty hard to coffee yourself to death, so go ahead and savor those extra sips.