Coffee addiction

BBC Learning English 6 Minute English

Coffee addiction

22 May 2014

Coffee addiction

NB: This is not a word-for-word transcript

6 Minute English ?British Broadcasting Corporation 2014

(Slurp of coffee)

Rob: Mmm! A quick sip of my coffee to get me in the mood for today’s

programme! Welcome to 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Rob.

Finn: And I’m Finn. Rob, you seem to be enjoying that cup of coffee…

Rob: Yes, indeed. I love all styles of coffee – that’s coffee made in different

ways – you could say I am a coffee addict .

Finn : An addict. That’s someone who likes doing a particular activity very much

and they can’t stop doing it. And if you have a strong need to keep drinking coffee then we could say you have an addiction.

Rob : That’s me! And that’s what we're talking about today – coffee addiction –

and we’ll be talking about the dangers of drinking too much.

Finn: Another word for drinking here is consuming . We'll look at some other

coffee-related language in today’s programme, too. But first, Rob, how about a question?

Rob : Yes, of course. I have a coffee-related question to ask you. Do you know

which country drinks the most coffee per person? Is it:

a) Egypt b) Finland c) Italy

Finn : I think they're all coffee-drinking countries but I’ll say b) Finland.

Rob : OK. As always, I will let you know the answer at the end of the

programme. OK Finn, I haven’t asked you yet if you drink coffee. So do you?

Finn : I do Rob, yes, but only in moderation – so that means not too much. I

love the taste and the smell especially – we could call that the aroma – but it's the caffeine contained in the drink that can have a bad effect. If I drink too much it can give me headaches.

Rob : Right. Well, for me, it's the caffeine that keeps me awake. It stimulates

my brain – it makes me more alert – that's why we call caffeine a

stimulant . Caffeine can also be found in energy and cola drinks and even in tea.

Finn: The New Scientist magazine says caffeine is a ‘psychoactive drug’ and that 90% of people in the United States consume it every day.

Rob: Psychoactive drug – so what does that mean?

Finn: It's a drug that affects how a person feels and sometimes how they behave. The drug can be found in food like waffles and chewing gum,

surprisingly – not just in drinks.

Rob: That’s why scientists who study public health are worried people don’t know how much caffeine they are taking.

Finn: Indeed. Too much caffeine can lead to insomnia.

Rob: So that’s when you can’t sleep.

Finn: And indigestion.

Rob:So that’s a pain in your stomach when it can’t process the food that you've just eaten.

Finn:And finally, high blood pressure.

Rob: So blood flowing around your body at a higher pressure than is normal.

That's dangerous. Well, sometimes drinking coffee does stop me sleeping

and sometimes I feel very alert and then very lethargic – you know,

that's not having any energy. But I still can’t give up!

Finn: And Rob, you're not alone. We asked people on our BBC Learning English Facebook page how they felt about coffee, and we had a lot of responses. Rob: Yumiko says: “My happiest time is smelling coffee beans just after

grinding it. Fresh roasted coffee has a really good fragrance!” Fragrance is

a word usually associated with perfume – but I think she just means the

good smell.

Finn:Samuele says: “One cup of good espresso is the daily energy for my body and mind”.

Rob:And Rasha claims: “A cup of coffee every day is useful for our health”. Finn:Ahmed loves coffee too, but he says: “Be aware that too much coffee is not good for your health”. So there seem to be some good effects and

some bad – or negative – effects of drinking coffee, Rob.

Rob:Well, I find that if I try to give up drinking coffee, I’ll also get headaches and feel tired.

Finn:And these are what we call withdrawal symptoms – the nasty physical and mental effects of stopping.

6 Minute English?British Broadcasting Corporation 2014

Rob: Well, I may drink lots of coffee but not as much as people in another country. Finn, earlier I asked you if you knew the people of which country

drink the most coffee?

Finn:And I said b) Finland.

Rob:And guess what – you were right! Yes, the people of Finland consume an incredible 12 kilograms of coffee per person every year. That compares

with the average consumption of 1.3 kilograms per person.

OK Finn, before we go, there’s just time for you to remind us of some of

the words that we heard today.

Finn:We heard:



in moderation




psychoactive drug



high blood pressure


withdrawal symptoms

Rob:Thanks, Finn.

Finn: Thank you, Rob.

Rob: Do join us again for another edition of 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. Bye for now!


6 Minute English?British Broadcasting Corporation 2014

Vocabulary and definitions

addict someone who likes doing a particular activity very

much and they can't stop doing it

consuming eating or drinking something

in moderation (here) not drinking too much

aroma pleasant smell

caffeine natural substance found in tea and coffee that makes

you feel awake

stimulant substance that makes you feel more awake when you

eat or drink it

psychoactive drug a drug that affects how a person feels and sometimes

how they behave

insomnia medical condition where you are unable to sleep

indigestion a pain in your stomach when it can't process the food

you have just eaten

high blood pressure blood flowing around your body at a higher pressure

than is normal

lethargic having little energy

withdrawal symptoms physical and mental effects of stopping doing a regular


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6 Minute English?British Broadcasting Corporation 2014