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Frequently Asked Questions about Coffee and Caffeine
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URL: http://www.cs.unb.ca/~alopez-o/caffaq.html

Alejandro Lopez-Ortiz

alopez-o@unb.ca


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This FAQ is dedicated to all beverages and products that contain caffeine;
including tea, coffee, chocolate, mate, caffeinated soft drinks,
caffeinated pills, coffee beans, etc.

There are several newsgroups in which these topics may be of relevance,
including alt.drugs.caffeine, rec.food.drink.coffee, rec.food.drink.tea,
and alt.food.chocolate.

Rec.food.drink.coffee is preferred over alt.coffee and alt.food.coffee.

[Image]

  1. The Chemistry of Caffeine and related products
       1. How much caffeine is there in [drink/food/pill]?
       2. How much caffeine there is in blend X?
       3. Chemically speaking, what is caffeine?
       4. Is it true that tea has no caffeine/What is theine, theobromine,
          etc?
       5. Where can I find a gif of the caffeine molecule?
       6. Is it true that espresso has less caffeine than regular coffee?
       7. How does caffeine taste?
       8. How much theobromine/theophylline there is in ...?
  2. How to brew the ultimate caffeine drink?
       1. What is the best temperature for drip coffee?
       2. Quality of coffee
       3. Why you should never use percolators
  3. Peripherals and Secondary Storage
       1. Proper care of Coffee makers...
       2. How to store coffee?
       3. Equipment reviews?
       4. What is a French Press/Cafetiere/Bodum?
  4. Caffeine and your Health
       1. Caffeine Withdrawal
       2. What happens when you overdose?
       3. Effects of caffeine on pregnant women.
       4. Caffeine and Osteoporosis (Calcium loss)
       5. Studies on the side-effects of caffeine...
       6. Caffeine and depression.
       7. Caffeine and your metabolism.
  5. Miscellaneous
       1. How do you pronounce mate?
       2. How do you spell Colombia/Colombian?
       3. How do you spell Espresso?
       4. Where did the term "cup of joe" come from?
  6. Coffee Recipes and other beverages
       1. Espresso
       2. Chocolate covered espresso beans
       3. Cappuccino
       4. Frappe
       5. How to make your own chocolate
       6. How to make the best cup of coffee
       7. Turkish Coffee
       8. Irish Coffee
       9. Thai Iced Coffee
      10. Vietnamese Iced Coffee
      11. Melya
  7. Electronic Resources
  8. Administrivia
       1. List of Contributors
       2. Copyright

  1. The Chemistry of Caffeine and related products

       1. How much caffeine is there in [drink/food/pill]?

          According to the National Soft Drink Association, the following
          is the caffeine content in mgs per 12 oz can of soda:

             Afri-Cola            100.0  (?)
             Jolt                    71.2
             Sugar-Free Mr. Pibb     58.8
             Mountain Dew            55.0  (no caffeine in Canada)
             Diet Mountain Dew       55.0
             Kick citrus             54    (36mg per 8oz can, caffeine from guarana)
             Mello Yellow            52.8
             Surge                   51.0
             Tab                     46.8
             Battery  energy drink -- 140mg/l = 46.7mg/can
             Coca-Cola               45.6
             Diet Cola               45.6
             Shasta Cola             44.4
             Shasta Cherry Cola      44.4
             Shasta Diet Cola        44.4
             Mr. Pibb                40.8
             OK Soda                 40.5
             Dr. Pepper              39.6
             Pepsi Cola              37.2
             Aspen                   36.0
             Diet Pepsi              35.4
             RC Cola                 36.0
             Diet RC                 36.0
             Diet Rite               36.0
             Canada Dry Cola         30.0
             Canada Dry Diet Cola    1.2
             7 Up                    0

          Krank2o     sample 1     97.7mg/500ml sample 2    101.6mg/500ml
          Lab: Ameritech Labs, College Pt, NY; tested Sep 03, 96

          Krank2o    middle          96.4mg/500ml
          Lab: Ameritech Labs, tested Aug 29, 96




          By means of comparison, a 7 oz cup of coffee has the following
          caffeine (mg) amounts, according to Bunker and McWilliams in J.
          Am. Diet. 74:28-32, 1979:

             Drip                    115-175
             Espresso                100mg of caffeine
             1 serving (1.5-2oz)

             Brewed                  80-135
             Instant                 65-100
             Decaf, brewed           3-4
             Decaf, instant          2-3
             Tea, iced (12 ozs.)     70
             Tea, brewed, imported   60
             Tea, brewed, U.S.       40
             Tea, instant            30
             Mate                    25-150mg


          The variability in the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee or
          tea is relatively large even if prepared by the same person using
          the same equipment and ingredients day after day.

          Reference Variability in caffeine consumption from coffee and
          tea: Possible significance for epidemiological studies by B.
          Stavric, R. Klassen, B. Watkinson, K. Karpinski, R. Stapley, and
          P. Fried in "Foundations of Chemical Toxicology", Volume 26,
          number 2, pp. 111-118, 1988 and an easy to read overview, Looking
          for the Perfect Brew by S. Eisenberg, "Science News", Volume 133,
          April 16, 1988, pp. 252-253.

          Quote from the lab manual:

               Caffeine is present in tea leaves and in coffee to the
               extent of about 4%. Tea also contains two other
               alkaloids, theobromine and theophylline. These last two
               relax the smooth muscles where caffeine stimulates the
               heart and respiratory systems.

          The effects of theobromine are, compared to caffeine and
          theophylline, relatively moderate. However, cocoa contains eight
          times more theophylline than caffeine. As well, caffeine has been
          shown to combine with other substances for added potency. Thus
          the effects of theobromine might be enhanced by the caffeine in
          chocolate.

          Theobromine is highly toxic to dogs and kills many canids/year
          via chocolate poisoning. It takes quite a dose to reach fatal
          levels (more than 200 mg/kg bodyweight) but some dogs have a bad
          habit of eating out of garbage cans and some owners have a bad
          habit of feeding dogs candy. A few oreos won't hurt a dog, but a
          pound of chocolate can do considerable damage.

          Clinical signs of theobromine toxicity in canids usually manifest
          8 hours after ingestion and can include: thirst, vomiting,
          diarrhea, urinary incontinence, nervousness, clonic muscle
          spasms, seizures and coma. Any dog thought to have ingested a
          large quantity of chocolate should be brought to an emergency
          clinic asap, where treatment usually includes the use of emetics
          and activated charcoal. The dog will thus need to be monitored to
          maintain proper fluid and electrolyte balance.

          Pathogenesis of theobromine toxicity: evidently large quantities
          of theobromine have a diuretic effect, relax smooth muscles, and
          stimulate the heart and cns.

          Reference:

          Fraser, Clarence M., et al, eds. The Merck Veterinary Manual, 7th
          ed. Rahway, NJ: Merck & Co., Inc. 1991. pp. 1643-44.

          On humans caffeine acts particularly on the brain and skeletal
          muscles while theophylline targets heart, bronchia, and kidneys.

     Other data on caffeine:

     Cup of coffee    90-150mg
     Instant coffee   60-80mg
     Tea              30-70mg
     Mate             25-150mg
     Cola             30-45mg
     Chocolate bar    30mg
     Stay-awake pill  100mg
     Vivarin          200mg
     Cold relief tablet  30mg

     The following information is from Bowes and Church's Food values of
     portions commonly used, by Anna De Planter Bowes. Lippincott, Phila.
     1989. Pages 261-2: Caffeine.

     Candy:

     Chocolate                               mg caffeine
       baking choc, unsweetened, Bakers--1 oz(28 g) 25
       german sweet, Bakers -- 1 oz (28 g)           8
       semi-sweet, Bakers -- 1 oz (28 g)            13

     Choc chips
       Bakers -- 1/4 cup (43 g)                     13
       german sweet, Bakers -- 1/4 cup (43 g)       15

     Chocolate bar, Cadbury  -- 1 oz (28 g)         15
     Chocolate milk  8oz                             8

     Desserts:
     Jello Pudding Pops, Choc (47 g)                 2
     Choc mousse from Jell-O mix (95 g)              6
     Jello choc fudge mousse (86 g)                 12

     Beverages
     3 heaping teaspoons of choc powder mix          8
     2 tablespoons choc syrup                        5
     1 envelope hot cocoa mix                        5

     Dietary formulas
     ensure, plus, choc, Ross Labs -- 8 oz (259 g)  10
     Cadbury Milk Chocolate Bar

     More stuff:

     Guarana "Magic Power" (quite common in Germany),
     15 ml alcohol with
     5g Guarana Seeds        250.0 mg
     Guarana capsules with
     500 mg G. seeds          25.0 mg / capsule

     (assuming 5% caffeine in seeds as stated in literature)

     Guarana soda pop is ubiquitous in Brazil and often available at
     tropical groceries here. It's really tasty and packs a wallop. Guarana
     wakes you up like crazy, but it doesn't cause coffee jitters.

     It is possible that in addition to caffeine, there is some other
     substance in guarana that also produces an effect, since it 'feels'
     different than coffee. Same goes for mate.

  2. How much caffeine there is in blend X?

     Caffeine Content in beans and blends

     (Source: Newsletter--Mountanos Bros. Coffee Co., San Francisco)

     VARIETALS/STRAIGHTS
     Brazil Bourbons  1.20%
     Celebes Kalossi  1.22
     Colombia Excelso  1.37
     Colombia Supremo  1.37
     Costa Rica Tarrazu  1.35
     Ethiopian Harrar-Moka  1.13
     Guatemala Antigua  1.32
     Indian Mysore  1.37
     Jamaican Blue Mtn/Wallensford Estate  1.24
     Java Estate Kuyumas  1.20
     Kenya AA  1.36
     Kona Extra Prime  1.32
     Mexico Pluma Altura  1.17
     Mocha Mattari (Yemen)  1.01
     New Guinea  1.30
     Panama Organic  1.34
     Sumatra Mandheling-Lintong  1.30
     Tanzania Peaberry  1.42
     Zimbabwe  1.10

     BLENDS & DARK ROASTS
     Colombia Supremo Dark  1.37%
     Espresso Roast  1.32
     French Roast  1.22
     Vienna Roast  1.27
     Mocha-Java  1.17

     DECAFS--all @ .02% with Swiss Water Process

  3. Chemically speaking, what is caffeine?

     Caffeine is an alkaloid. There are numerous compounds called
     alkaloids, among them we have the methylxanthines, with three
     distinguished compounds: caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine,
     found in cola nuts, coffee, tea, cacao beans, mate and other plants.
     These compounds have different biochemical effects, and are present in
     different ratios in the different plant sources. These compounds are
     very similar and differ only by the presence of methyl groups in two
     positions of the chemical structure. They are easily oxidized to uric
     acid and other methyluric acids which are also similar in chemical
     structure.

     Caffeine:
     Sources: Coffee, tea, cola nuts, mate, guarana.
     Effects: Stimulant of central nervous system, cardiac muscle, and
     respiratory system, diuretic Delays fatigue.

     Theophylline:
     Sources: Tea
     Effects: Cariac stimulant, smooth muscle relaxant, diuretic,
     vasodilator

     Theobromine:
     Sources: Principle alkaloid of the cocoa bean (1.5-3%) Cola nuts and
     tea
     Effects: Diuretic, smooth muscle relaxant, cardiac stimulant,
     vasodilator.

     (Info from Merck Index)

     The presence of the other alkaloids in colas and tea may explain why
     these sometimes have a stronger kick than coffee. Colas, which have
     lower caffeine contents than coffee are, reportedly, sometimes more
     active. Tea seems the strongest for some. Coffee seems more lasting
     for mental alertness and offers fewer jitters than the others.

     A search in CAS and produced these names and synonyms:

     RN   58-08-2  REGISTRY
     CN   1H-Purine-2,6-dione, 3,7-dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl- (9CI)  (CA INDEX NAME)
     OTHER CA INDEX NAMES:
     CN   Caffeine (8CI)
     OTHER NAMES:
     CN   1,3,7-Trimethyl-2,6-dioxopurine
     CN   1,3,7-Trimethylxanthine
     CN   7-Methyltheophylline
     CN   Alert-Pep
     CN   Cafeina
     CN   Caffein
     CN   Cafipel
     CN   Guaranine
     CN   Koffein
     CN   Mateina
     CN   Methyltheobromine
     CN   No-Doz
     CN   Refresh'n
     CN   Stim
     CN   Thein
     CN   Theine
     CN   Tri-Aqua

     MF   C8 H10 N4 O2

     The correct name is the first one,
     1H-Purine-2,6-diione,3,7-dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl- (This is the
     "inverted name") The "uninverted name" is
     3,7-Dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6-dione

     Merck Index excerpt...

          Caffeine: 3,7-dihydro- 1,3,7-trimethyl- 1H-purine-
          2,6-dione; 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine; 1,3,7-trimethyl-
          2,6-dioxopurine; coffeine; thein; guaranine;
          methyltheobromine; No-Doz.

          C8H10N4O2; mol wt 194.19. C 49.48%, H 5.19%, N 28.85%, O
          16.48%.

          Occurs in tea, coffee, mate leaves; also in guarana paste
          and cola nuts: Shuman, U.S. pat. 2,508,545 (1950 to General
          Foods). Obtained as a by-product from the manuf of
          caffeine-free coffee: Barch, U.S. pat. 2,817,588 (1957 to
          Standard Brands); Nutting, U.S. pat. 2,802,739 (1957 to Hill
          Bros. Coffee); Adler, Earle, U.S. pat. 2,933,395 (1960 to
          General Foods).

          Crystal structure: Sutor, Acta Cryst. 11, 453, (1958).
          Synthesis: Fischer, Ach, Ber. 28, 2473, 3135 (1895); Gepner,
          Kreps, J. Gen. Chem. USSR 16, 179 (1946); Bredereck et al.,
          Ber. 83, 201 (1950); Crippa, Crippa, Farmaco Ed. Sci. 10,
          616 (1955); Swidinsky, Baizer, U.S. pats. 2,785,162 and
          2,785,163 (1957 to Quinine Chem. Works); Bredereck,
          Gotsmann, Ber. 95, 1902 (1962).

          Hexagonal prisms by sublimation, mp 238 C. Sublimes 178 C.
          Fast sublimation is obtained at 160-165 C under 1mm press.
          at 5 mm distance. d 1.23. Kb at 19 C: 0.7 x 10^(-14). Ka at
          25 C: <1.0 x 10^(-14). pH of 1% soln 6.9. Aq solns of
          caffeine salts dissociate quickly. Absorption spectrum:
          Hartley, J. Chem. Soc. 87, 1802 (1905). One gram dissolves
          in 46 ml water, 5.5 ml water at 80 C, 1.5 ml boiling water,
          66 ml alcohol, 22 ml alcohol at 60 C, 50 ml acetone, 5.5 ml
          chloroform, 530 ml ether, 100 ml benzene, 22 ml boiling
          benzene. Freely sol in pyrrole; in tetrahydrofuran contg
          about 4% water; also sol in ethyl acetate; slightly in petr
          ether. Soly in water is increased by alkali benzoates,
          cinnamates, citrates, or salicylates.

          Monohydrate, felted needles, contg 8.5% H2O. Efflorescent in
          air; complete dehydration takes place at 80 C. LD50 orally
          in rats: 200 mg/kg.

          Acetate, C8H10N4O2.(CH3COOH)2, granules or powder; acetic
          acid odor; acid reaction. Loses acetic acid on exposure to
          air. Soluble in water or alcohol with hydrolysis into
          caffeine and acetic acid. Keep well stoppered.

          Hydrochloride dihydrate, C8H10N4O2.HCl.2H2O, crystals, dec
          80-100 C with loss of water and HCl. Sol in water and in
          alcohol with dec.

          Therap Cat: Central stimulant.

          Therap Cat (Vet): Has been used as a cardiac and respiratory
          stimulant and as a diuretic.

  4. Is it true that tea has no caffeine/What is theine, theobromine, etc?

     From "Principles of biochemistry", Horton and al, 1993.

          Caffeine is sometimes called "theine" when it's in tea. This
          is probably due to an ancient misconception that the active
          constituent is different. Theophylline is present only in
          trace amounts. It is more diuretic, more toxic and less
          speedy.

          Caffeine
               1,3,7-trimethylxanthine
          Theophylline
               1,3-dimethylxanthine
          Theobromine
               3,7-dimethylxanthine

          Coffee and tea contain caffeine and theophylline,
          respectively, which are methylated purine derivatives that
          inhibit cAMP phosphodiesterase. In the presence of these
          inhibitors, the effects of cAMP, and thus the stimulatory
          effects of the hormones that lead to its production, are
          prolonged and intensified.

     Theobromine and theophylline are two dimethylxanthines that have two
     rather than three methyl groups. Theobromine is considerably weaker
     than caffeine and theophylline, having about one tenth the stimulating
     effect of either.

     Theobromine is found in cocoa products, tea (only in very small
     amounts) and kola nuts, but is not found in coffee. In cocoa, its
     concentration is generally about 7 times as great as caffeine.
     Although, caffeine is relatively scarce in cocoa, its mainly because
     of theobromine that cocoa is "stimulating".

     Theophylline is found in very small amounts in tea, but has a stronger
     effect on the heart and breathing than caffeine. For this reason it is
     often the drug of choice in home remedies for treating asthma
     bronchitis and emphysema. The theophylline found in medicine is made
     from extracts from coffee or tea.

  5. Where can I find a gif of the caffeine molecule?

     Caffeine = 1,3,7-Trimethylxanthine

     A different view of the caffeine molecule.

     The Department of Chemistry at Jamaica of the University of Western
     Indies has made available an avi and an mpeg of a rotation of the
     caffeine molecule, among other molecules and chemical processes. The
     index page contains more information and the links to the clips.

                      CH3
                       |
                       N
                      / \
                N----C   C==O
               ||   ||   |
               ||   ||   |
               CH    C   N--CH3
                 \  / \ /
                  N    C
                  |   ||
                 CH3   O

     There is a gif picture at the wuarchive.wustl.edu ftp site or any of
     its mirror sites under

                multimedia/images/gif/c

                caffeine

     Theobromine is also a common component of coffee, tea, chocolate, and
     mate (particularly in these last two).



                 Theobromine

                      CH3
                       |
                       N
                      / \
                N----C   C==O
               ||   ||   |
               ||   ||   |
               CH    C   N--H
                 \  / \ /
                  N    C
                  |   ||
                 CH3   O

     Theophylline was once thought to be a major component of tea. This is
     not correct. Tea contains significantly more amounts of caffeine than
     of theophylline.

                 Theophylline

                      CH3
                       |
                       N
                      / \
                N----C   C==O
               ||   ||   |
               ||   ||   |
               CH    C   N--CH3
                 \  / \ /
                  N    C
                  |   ||
                  H    O

  6. Is it true that espresso has less caffeine than regular coffee?

     Yes and no. An espresso cup has about as much caffeine as a cup of
     dark brew. But servings for espresso are much smaller. Which means
     that the content of caffeine per millilitre are much higher than with
     a regular brew. Moreover, caffeine is more quickly assimilated when
     taken in concentrated dosages, such as an espresso cup.

     The myth of lower caffeine espresso comes comes from the fact that the
     darker roast beans used for espresso do have less caffeine than
     regularly roasted beans as roasting is supposed to break up or
     sublimate the caffeine in the beans (I have read this quote on
     research articles, but found no scientific studies supporting it.
     Anybody out there?). But espresso is prepared using pressurized water
     through significantly more ground (twice as much?) than regular drip
     coffee, resulting in a higher percentage of caffeine per millilitre.

     Here's the caffeine content of Drip/Espresso/Brewed Coffee:

     Drip            115-175
     Espresso        100         1 serving (1.5-2oz)
     Brewed          80-135

  7. How does caffeine taste?

     Caffeine is very bitter. Barq's Root Beer contains caffeine and the
     company says that it has "12.78mg per 6oz" and that they "add it as a
     flavouring agent for the sharp bitterness"

  8. How much theobromine/theophylline there is in ...?

     Sources: Physicians Desk Reference and Institute of Food Technologies
     from Pafai and Jankiewicz (1991) DRUGS AND HUMAN BEHAVIOUR

     cocoa                      250mg theobromine
     bittersweet choc. bar      130mg theobromine
     5 oz cup brewed coffee     no theobromine
     tea 5oz cup brewed 3min
     with teabag                3-4 mg theophylline
     Diet Coke                  no theobromine or theophylline

* How to brew the ultimate caffeine drink?

  1. What is the best temperature for drip coffee?

     According to chemical studies, the optimal water temperature for drip
     coffee is 95-98C. According to my notes, colder water doesn't extract
     enough caffeine/essential oils from the beans, and above such
     temperature the acidity increases wildly.

  2. Quality of coffee

     The quality of a brew depend on the following factors (in no
     particular order):

       1. Time since grinding the beans.
       2. Time since roasting.
       3. Cleanliness with brewing equipment.
       4. Bean quality (what crop etc).
       5. Water quality.

     Fact: Unless you are buying some major debris, bean quality is not
     very important, as compared to 1-3 and 5.

     Fact: A coffee can in the supermarket often contains major debris, so
     be careful when you choose. (See note below).

     Fact: Once you have freshly roasted and ground coffee, filtered water
     and equipment free of oil residues from the last brew, quality of
     beans makes a huge difference.

     NOTE: A coffee can in the supermarket often contains a blend of
     Arabica and robusta beans while most coffee houses sell only arabica
     beans. Arabica beans are usually flavour rich, while robusta beans
     have more caffeine, less flavour and are cheaper to produce.

     When you buy coffee, whether in a coffee house or in a supermarket,
     you want to get 100% arabica, except for espresso blends, which are a
     combination of both.

     For freshness, in a coffee house it is better to buy popular blends
     that move fast, while in a supermarket vacuum packaged containers with
     expiry date are your best bet.

  3. Why you should never use percolators.

     Percolators violate most of the natural laws about brewing coffee.

        o Don't overextract the oils and flavour. Percolators work by
          taking coffee and reheating it and throwing it over the grounds
          over and over and over again.
        o Never reheat/boil coffee. This destroys the flavour. For best
          flavour, boil the water, pass it over the grounds and retain the
          heat. Don't reheat it.

     Violating these rules may not sound like much, but these are about the
     only rules there are. The effect of a percolator is to keep passing
     boiling water/coffee over the grounds until there is no flavour left
     and the flavour in the coffee is so dead that it's a worthless waste.

* Peripherals and Secondary Storage

  1. Proper care of coffee makers...

     It is very important that you wash your coffee maker pot and filter
     container thoroughly at least once a week. Bitter oils stick to the
     glass container and plastic filter holder.

     I used to wash the plastic filter container and rinse the glass pot.
     Coffee started to taste bad. When I was told to wash both thoroughly
     with plenty of soap the flavour improved instantly. Note: To the naked
     eye rinsed and soap washed pots look the same (clean that is).

     Some drip coffee makers require periodic cleansing with a solution of
     water and vinegar.

     If you have a coffee/teapot, the inside of which is stained with oily
     brown residues - also plastic/metal coffee filters, tea strainers, and
     stainless steel sinks in caffeine-o-phile houses - they can be
     restored to a shining, brand-spanking-new state by washing in hot
     washing powder (detergent).

     Get a large plastic jug, add 2..3 heaped tablespoons of Daz Automatic
     or Bold or whatever, and about a pint of hot water - just off the boil
     is the best.

     Swill the jug around until the detergent is dissolved, and then pour
     into tea/coffeepot, and let it stand for 5 minutes, swilling the pot
     around occasionally, just to keep the detergent moving. Put the lid on
     and shake it a few times (care: slippery + hot)

     Repeat as necessary. Keep it hot with a little boiling water if
     needed. If you have a cafetiere, dissemble it, and soak the parts in
     the mixture for a few minutes, agitating occasionally.

     In both cases, the residue just falls off with almost no scrubbing. It
     does great things with over-used filter machine filters, too.

     Important: Rinse off all detergent afterwards, use lots of fresh
     water.

  2. How to store coffee?

     One should always store coffee beans in a glass, air tight container.
     Air is coffee's principle enemy. Glass is best because it doesn't
     retain the odors of the beans or the oils, which could contaminate
     future beans stored in the same container. However, if you use glass,
     make sure the container is not exposed to light, as sunlight is
     believed to reduce freshness.

     For consumption within:

     1 week
          room temperature is fine
     2 weeks to a month
          refrigerate
          freeze them

     This prevents the chemical reactions that produce stale beans and
     lifeless coffee.

  3. Equipment reviews?

  4. What is a French Press/Cafetiere/Bodum

     French presses are usually glass containers with a wire mesh attached
     to a plunger. To make coffee, you first boil water, then pour water
     into the container which should contain one or two spoons of coffee
     per cup. You let it rest for 2-3 minutes and then plunge the wire
     mesh. This filters the coffee.

* Caffeine and your Health

Important: This information was excerpted from several sources, no claims
are made to its accuracy. The FAQ mantainer is not a medical doctor and
cannot vouch for the accuracy of this information.

  1. Caffeine Withdrawal: Procedures and Symptoms.

     How to cut caffeine intake?

     Most people report a very good success ratio by cutting down caffeine
     intake at the rate of 1/2 cup of coffee a day. This is known as
     Caffeine Fading. Alternatively you might try reducing coffee intake in
     discrete steps of two-five cups of coffee less per week (depending on
     how high is your initial intake). If you are drinking more than 10
     cups of coffee a day, you should seriously consider cutting down.

     The best way to proceed is to consume caffeine regularly for a week,
     while keeping a precise log of the times and amounts of caffeine
     intake (remember that chocolate, tea, soda beverages and many headache
     pills contain caffeine as well as coffee). At the end of the week
     proceed to reduce your coffee intake at the rate recommended above.
     Remember to have substitutes available for drinking: if you are not
     going to have a hot cup of coffee at your 10 minute break, you might
     consider having hot chocolate or herbal tea, but NOT decaff, since
     decaff has also been shown to be addictive. This should take you
     through the works without much problem.

     Some other people quit cold turkey. Withdrawal symptoms are quite
     nasty this way (see section below) but they can usually be countered
     with lots of sleep and exercise. Many people report being able to stop
     drinking caffeine almost cold-turkey while on holidays on the beach.
     If quitting cold turkey is proving too hard even in the beach,
     drinking a coke might help.

     What are the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal?

     Regular caffeine consumption reduces sensitivity to caffeine. When
     caffeine intake is reduced, the body becomes oversensitive to
     adenosine. In response to this oversensitiveness, blood pressure drops
     dramatically, causing an excess of blood in the head (though not
     necessarily on the brain), leading to a headache.

     This headache, well known among coffee drinkers, usually lasts from
     one to five days, and can be alleviated with analgesics such as
     aspirin. It is also alleviated with caffeine intake (in fact several
     analgesics contain caffeine dosages).

     Often, people who are reducing caffeine intake report being irritable,
     unable to work, nervous, restless, and feeling sleepy, as well as
     having a headache. In extreme cases, nausea and vomiting has also been
     reported.

     References.

     Caffeine and Health. J. E. James, Academic Press, 1991. Progress in
     Clinical and Biological Research Volume 158. G. A. Spiller, Ed. Alan
     R. Liss Inc, 1984.

  2. What happens when you overdose?

     From Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-3-R (American
     Psychiatric Association, 1987):

          Caffeine-Induced Organic Mental Disorder 305.90 Caffeine
          Intoxication

            1. Recent consumption of caffeine, usually in excess of
               250 mg.
            2. At least five of the following signs:

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