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Coffee and Caffeine's Frequently Asked Questions

Archive-Name: caffeine-faq Last-modified: December 16, 1995 Version: 2.95

Frequently Asked Questions about Coffee and Caffeine


Alejandro Lopez-Ortiz

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 reelevance, including but not limited to alt.drugs.caffeine,,,, etc. is preferred over and


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,
     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?
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.  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
           Mello Yellow            52.8
           Tab                     46.8
           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
        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.
        According to Maxwell House at 1-800-432-6333 (USA only), the cappio
        caffeine content per 8oz bottle is as follows:
        Coffee     100mg
        Mocha       90mg
        Cinnamon    85mg
        Vanilla     90mg
        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
        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.
        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.
   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
   Jello Pudding Pops, Choc (47 g)                 2
   Choc mousse from Jell-O mix (95 g)              6
   Jello choc fudge mousse (86 g)                 12
   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)
   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
   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.
   Sources: Coffee, tea, cola nuts, mate, guarana.
   Effects: Stimulant of central nervous system, cardiac muscle, and
   respiratory system, diuretic Delays fatigue.
   Sources: Tea
   Effects: Cariac stimulant, smooth muscle relaxant, diuretic, vasodilator
   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)
   CN   Caffeine (8CI)
   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
   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.
   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.
        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
   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.
                    / \
              N----C   C==O
             ||   ||   |
             ||   ||   |
             CH    C   N--CH3
               \  / \ /
                N    C
                |   ||
               CH3   O
   There is a gif picture at the ftp site or any of its
   mirror sites under
   Theobromine is also a common component of coffee, tea, chocolate, and mate
   (particularly in these last two).
                    / \
              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
                    / \
              N----C   C==O
             ||   ||   |
             ||   ||   |
             CH    C   N--CH3
               \  / \ /
                N    C
                |   ||
                H    O
   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 significant twice as
   much grounds as 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
   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"
   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
     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: The prepackaged stuff you buy in supermarkets is major debris, (in
   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.
   Many times "inferior beans" are due to (a) adultered beans, either with
   the skin of the coffee bean or with peanut derivatives, or (b) old grounds
   and roast.
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
   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
   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.
   For consumption within:
   1 week
        room temperature is fine
   2 weeks to a month
        freeze them
   This prevents the chemical reactions that produce stale beans and lifeless
3.  Equipment reviews?
4.  What is a French Press/Cafetiere/Bodum

* 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 been shown to also 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
   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 which are reducing caffeine intake report being irritable,
   unable to work, nervous, restless, amd feeling sleepy, as well as having a
   headache. In extreme cases, nausea and vomiting has also been reported.
   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
          1.  Recent consumption of caffeine, usually in excess of 250
          2.  At least five of the following signs:
               1.  restlessness
               2.  nervousness
               3.  excitement
               4.  insomnia
               5.  flushed face
               6.  diuresis
               7.  gastrointestinal disturbance
               8.  muscle twitching
               9.  rambling flow of thought and speech
              10.  tachycardia or cardiac arrhythmia
              11.  periods of inexhaustibility
              12.  psychomotor agitation
          3.  Not due to any physical or other mental disorder, such as
             an Anxiety Disorder.
   Basically, overdosing on caffeine will probably be very very unpleasant
   but not kill or deliver permanent damage. However, People do die from it.
   Toxic dose
        The LD_50 of caffeine (that is the lethal dosage reported to kill 50%
        of the population) is estimated at 10 grams for oral administration.
        As it is usually the case, lethal dosage varies from individual to
        individual according to weight. Ingestion of 150mg/kg of caffeine
        seems to be the LD_50 for all people. That is, people weighting 50
        kilos have an LD_50 of approx. 7.5 grams, people weighting 80 kilos
        have an LD_50 of about 12 grams.
        In cups of coffee the LD_50 varies from 50 to 200 cups of coffee or
        about 50 vivarins (200mg each).
        One exceptional case documents survival after ingesting 24 grams. The
        minimum lethal dose ever reported was 3.2 grams intravenously, this
        does not represent the oral MLD (minimum lethal dose).
        In small children ingestion of 35 mg/kg can lead to moderate
        toxicity. The amount of caffeine in an average cup of coffee is 50 -
        200 mg. Infants metabolize caffeine very slowly.
           +  Acute caffeine poisoning gives early symptoms of anorexia,
             tremor, and restlessness. Followed by nausea, vomiting,
             tachycardia, and confusion. Serious intoxication may cause
             delirium, seizures, supraventricular and ventricular
             tachyarrhythmias, hypokalemia, and hyperglycemia.
           +  Chronic high-dose caffeine intake can lead to nervousness,
             irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, muscle twitching,
             insomnia, palpitations and hyperreflexia. For blood testing,
             cross-reaction with theophylline assays will detect toxic
             amounts. (Method IA) Blood concentration of 1-10 mg/L is normal
             in coffee drinkers, while 80 mg/L has been associated with
           +  Emergency Measures
                +  Maintain the airway and assist ventilation. (See Appendix
                +  Treat seizures & hypotension if they occur.
                +  Hypokalemia usually goes away by itself.
                +  Monitor Vital Signs.
           +  Specific drugs & antidotes. Beta blockers effectively reverse
             cardiotoxic effects mediated by excessive beta-adrenergic
             stimulation. Treat hypotension or tachyarrhythmias with
             intravenous propanolol, .01 - .02 mg/kg. , or esmolol, .05 mg/kg
             , carefully titrated with low doses. Esmolol is preferred
             because of its short half life and low cardioselectivity.
           +  Decontamination
                +  Induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage.
                +  Administer activated charcoal and cathartic.
                +  Gut emptying is probably not needed if 1 2 are performed
   Appendix A
        Performing airway assistance.
          1.  If no neck injury is suspected, place in the "Sniffing"
             position by tilting the head back and extending the front of the
          2.  Apply the "Jaw Thrust" to move the tongue out of the way
             without flexing the neck: Place thumb fingers from both hands
             under the back of the jaw and thrust the jaw forward so that the
             chin sticks out. This should also hurt the patient, allowing you
             to judge depth of coma. :)
          3.  Tilt the head to the side to allow vomit and snot to drain out.
   From conversations on alt.drugs.caffeine:
   The toxic dose is going to vary from person to person, depending primarily
   on built-up tolerance. A couple people report swallowing 10 to 13 vivarin
   and ending up in the hospital with their stomaches pumped, while a few say
   they've taken that many and barely stayed awake.
   A symptom lacking in the clinical manual but reported by at least two
   people on the net is a loss of motor ability: inability to move, speak, or
   even blink. The experience is consistently described as very unpleasant
   and not fun at all, even by those very familiar with caffeine nausea and
3. Effects of caffeine on pregnant women.
   Caffeine has long been suspect of causing mal-formations in fetus, and
   that it may reduce fertility rates.
   These reports have proved controversial. What is known is that caffeine
   does causes malformations in rats, when ingested at rates comparable to 70
   cups a day for humans. Many other species respond equally to such large
   amounts of caffeine.
   Data is scant, as experimentation on humans is not feasible. In any case
   moderation in caffeine ingestion seems to be a prudent course for pregnant
   women. Recent references are Pastore and Savitz, Case-control study of
   caffeinated beverages and preterm delivery. American Journal of
   Epidemiology, Jan 1995.
   On men, it has been shown that caffeine reduces rates of sperm motility
   which may account for some findings of reduced fertility.
4. Caffeine and Osteoporosis (Calcium loss)
   From the Journal of AMA: (JAMA, 26 Jan. 1994, p. 280-3.)
   "There was a significant association between (drinking more) caffeinated
   coffee and decreasing bone mineral density at both the hip and the spine,
   independent of age, obesity, years since menopause, and the use of
   tobacco, estrogen, alcohol, thiazides, and calcium supplements [in
   Except when:
   "Bone density did not vary [...] in women who reported drinking at least
   one glass of milk per day during most of their adult lives."
   That is, if you drink a glass of milk a day, there is no need to worry
   about the caffeine related loss of calcium.
5.  Studies on the side-effects of caffeine.
   OAKLAND, California (UPI) -- Coffee may be good for life. A major study
   has found fewer suicides among coffee drinkers than those who abstained
   from the hot black brew.
   The study of nearly 130,000 Northern California residents and the records
   of 4,500 who have died looked at the effects of coffee and tea on
   Cardiologist Arthur Klatsky said of the surprising results, ``This is not
   a fluke finding because our study was very large, involved a multiracial
   population, men, women, and examined closely numerous factors related to
   mortality such as alcohol consumption and smoking.''
   The unique survey also found no link between coffee consumption and death
   risk. And it confirmed a ``weak'' connection of coffee or tea to heart
   attack risk -- but not to other cardiovascular conditions such as stroke.
   The study was conducted by the health maintenance organization Kaiser
   Permanente and was reported Wednesday in the Annals of Epidemiology.
6.  Caffeine and depression.
7.  Caffeine and your metabolism.
   Caffeine increases the level of circulating fatty acids. This has been
   shown to increase the oxidation of these fuels, hence enhancing fat
   oxidation. Caffeine has been used for years by runners and endurance
   people to enhance fatty acid metabolism. It's particularly effective in
   those who are not habitual users.
   Caffeine is not an appetite suppressant. It does affect metabolism, though
   it is a good question whether its use truly makes any difference during a
   diet. The questionable rationale for its original inclusion in diet pills
   was to make a poor man's amphetamine-like preparation from the
   non-stimulant sympathomimetic phenylpropanolamine and the stimulant
   caffeine. (That you end up with something very non-amphetamine like is
   neither here nor there.) The combination drugs were called "Dexatrim" or
   Dexa-whosis (as in Dexedrine) for a reason, namely, to assert its
   similarity in the minds of prospective buyers. However, caffeine has not
   been in OTC diet pills for many years per order of the FDA, which stated
   that there was no evidence of efficacy for such a combination.
   From Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics:
        Caffeine in combination with an analgesic, such as aspirin, is
        widely used in the treatment of ordinary types of headache.
        There are few data to substantiate its efficacy for this
        purpose. Caffeine is also used in combination with an ergot
        alkaloid in the treatment of migrane (Chapter 39).
        Ergotamine is usually administered orally (in combination with
        caffeine) or sublingually [...] If a patient cannot tolerate
        ergotamine orally, rectal administration of a mixture of
        caffeine and ergotamine tartarate may be attempted.
        The bioavailability [of ergotamine] after sublingual
        administration is also poor and is often inadequate for
        therapeutic purposes [...] the concurrent administration of
        caffeine (50-100 mg per mg of ergotamine) improves both the rate
        and extent of absorption [...] However, there is little
        correspondence between the concentration of ergotamine in plasma
        and the intensity or duration of therapeutic or toxic effects.
        Caffeine enhances the action of the ergot alkaloids in the
        treatment of migrane, a discovery that must be credited to the
        sufferers from the disease who observed that strong coffee gave
        symptomatic relief, especially when combined with the ergot
        alkaloids. As mentioned, caffeine increases the oral and rectal
        absorption of ergotamine, and it is widely believed that this
        accounts for its enhancement of therapeutic effects.
   Nowadays most of researchers believe that the stimulatory actions are
   attributable to the antagonism of the adenosine. Agonists at the adenosine
   receptors produce sedation while antagonists at these sites, like caffeine
   and theophylline induce stimulation, and what is even more important, the
   latter substance also reverse agonists-induced symptoms of sedation, thus
   indicating that this effects go through these receptors.
   Another possibility, however, is that methylxanthines enhance release of
   excitatory aminoacids, like glutamate and aspartate, which are the main
   stimulatory neurotransmitters in the brain.
   As to the side effects: methylxanthines inhibit protective activity of
   common antiepileptic drugs in exptl. animals in doses comparable to those
   used in humans when correction to the surface area is made. It should be
   underlined, that although tolerance develop to the stimulatory effects of
   theo or caffeine when administered on a chronic base, we found no
   tolerance to the above effects . This hazardous influence was even
   enhanced over time. Therefore, it should be emphasized that individuals
   suffering from epilepsy should avoid, or at least reduce consumption of
   coffee and other caffeine-containing beverages.

* Miscellaneous

1.  How do you pronounce mate?
   MAH-teh. MAH like in malt, and -teh like in Gral. Patten.
2.  How do you spell Colombia/Colombian?
3.  How do you spell Espresso?
   By far, the most common spelling used throughout the world today is
   "espresso". This is a shortened form of the original Italian name for the
   drink "caffe espresso" (accent marks omitted). This spelling is considered
   to be the correct spelling by the vast majority of of coffee consumers,
   vendors, retailers, and producers.
   Some English language dictionaries also list "expresso" as a variant
   spelling. However, this does not mean the spelling is 'equally valid'.
   (see the post by Jesse Sheidlower included below)
   It was pointed out during the great "espresso vs. expresso" debate (spring
   94) that the Italian alphabet does not even contain the letter "X", which
   is incorrect.
   Further, it was discovered that at least three dictionaries contained
   incorrect definitions of the word "espresso". The American Heritage
   Dictionary gave the following definition:
        "A strong coffee brewed by forcing steam under pressure through
        darkly roasted, powdered coffee beans."
   The Oxford English Dictionary said:
        "Coffee brewed by forcing steam through powdered coffee beans"
   The Webster New World Dictionary gives:
        "coffee prepared in a special machine from finely ground coffee
        beans, through which steam under high pressure is forced."
   All three of these are wrong. In fact, espresso is a strong coffee brewed
   by quickly forcing hot water through darkly roasted, finely ground coffee
   (Some espresso makers do use steam, but only to force the hot water
   through the ground coffee. The steam NEVER touches the coffee. Many
   espresso makers use no steam at all. Instead, they use either a pump or a
   piston to quickly force hot water through the ground coffee.)
   Once these errors and the origins of the word "espresso" had been pointed
   out, the argument "but expresso is in the dictionary" quickly began to
   crumble. The final death blow to this position came in a post by
   dictionary editor Jesse Sheidlower. This post is reproduced in its
   entirety below:
        Jesse Sheidlower writes
        I find this thread fascinating. I regret that it demonstrates an
        unfamiliarity with dictionaries and how to use them, but no
        matter. I believe that I am the only dictionary editor to
        participate in this discussion, so let me waste a bit more
        bandwidth addressing some of the points made so far, and
        introducing a few others:
           o  The OED, Second Edition, does include _espresso_ and
             _expresso_, the latter being a variant of the former. It
             correctly derives it from Italian _caffe espresso_.
             [Accents left off here.] Whoever claimed it derives the
             term from a would-be Italian _caffe expresso_ was in error.
           o  There _is_ an "x" in Latin and Italian.
           o  There are four major American dictionaries (published by
             Merriam Webster, Webster's New World, Random House, and
             American Heritage). The most recent edition of each gives
             _espresso_ as the main form, and _expresso_ as a variant
             only. The fact that _expresso_ is listed in the dictionary
             does not mean that it is equally common: the front matter
             for each dictionary explains this. The person who claimed
             that three dictionaries including OED give _expresso_ as
             "equally valid" was in error.
           o  Dictionaries, in general, do not dictate usage: they
             reflect the usage that exists in the language. If a
             dictionary says that _espresso_ is the main spelling, it
             means that in the experience of its editors (based on an
             examination of the language), _espresso_ is notably more
             common. It does not mean that the editors have a vendetta
             against _expresso_.
           o  To the linguist who rejects the authority of dictionaries:
             I agree that language is constantly changing; I'm sure that
             every dictionary editor in the country does as well.
             Dictionaries are outdated before they go to press. But I
             think they remain accurate to a large extent. Also, if you
             are going to disagree with the conclusions of a dictionary,
             you should be prepared to back yourself up. I can defend,
             with extensive written evidence, our decision to give
             _espresso_ as the preferred form.
           o  The spelling _espresso_ is the form used by the copy desks
             of the _New York Times,_ _Gourmet,_ _Bon Appetit,_ The
             _Wine Spectator,_ the _Wall St. Journal,_ the _L.A. Times,_
             _Time,_ _Newsweek,_ and to my knowledge every other major
             or minor newspaper or magazine, general or food-related, in
             the English-speaking world. The fact that a handwritten
             menu on an Italian restaurant door spells it "expresso" is
             trivial by comparison.
           o  In sum: though both _espresso_ and _expresso_ are found,
             the former is by far the more common. It is also to be
             favored on immediate etymological evidence, since the
             Italian word from which it is directly borrowed is spelled
             _espresso_. The form _espresso_ is clearly preferred by all
             mainstream sources.

* Coffee Recipes and other beverages.

1.  Espresso
   After living in Italy (Rome) for two years and living off espresso, Mr. X
   have found American espresso doesn't cut it. Heres how to do it.
      o  Get good dark roasted espresso beans, imported Italian brand if you
        can find it.
      o  Pack your strainer real full. Pack it hard. your instructions will
        say NOT to pack it, but don't listen.
      o  Don't use too much water. Espresso in Italy is as thick as syrup.
        Very thick.
      o  Add two spoons of sugar, it's a sweet, thick liquid in Italy.
   Drink fast.
   If using a stove top espresso machine, clean after each use, paying
   attention to the seal and strainer.
     1.  For best results, get arabica beans that have been roasted dark
        ("Italian Roast" is darkest) and are oily-looking. Other roasts are
        for other types of brewing: espresso machines won't draw the earthy
        flavour of Sumatran out, for example. A small amount of other beans
        might add a nice note to the flavour, though (I've had surprising
        success adding a few of Thanksgiving Coffee's "High-Caffeine Pony
        Express" beans, which are actually robusta beans from Thailand).
     2.  Grind those beans until they're very fine, but not quite a powder.
        Put them into the appropriate piece of your machine and tamp it down
        (but don't pack all the grounds in tight).
     3.  Watch the espresso as it drips down. Does a nice layer of foam form
        on the top? If it does, all is well; that foam is made from the
        flavourful oils, and it is called crema. If not, go to the coffee
        roaster and demand quadruple your money back.
     4.  Never make more than 2oz at a time. If you're making two cups of
        espresso, make two separate shots. This is important. The idea is
        that the water rushes through and draws out only the most flavourful
        part of the grounds. More than 2oz and you're drawing out less
        flavourful stuff and diluting your espresso. If you're really
        hardcore, make only 1oz at a time; this is called caffe ristretto.
2. Chocolate covered espresso beans
   You won't get single, glossy beans, but the taste is there!
     1. Put dark roast coffee beans on a waxpaper-covered baking sheet.
     2.  Melt some chocolate by puting a container with the chocolate in a
        pan of boiling water, stir the chocolate when it is getting hot. Some
        experimentation regarding what chocolate to use is in place. I used
        chocolate chips of from Girardelli. One should probably aim for dark
        and not too sweet chocolate.
     3.  Pour the chocolate over the beans and smear it so that each bean is
        covered - you should have a single layer of covered beans not too far
     4.  When the beans have cooled off a little bit, put the sheet in the
     5.  When solid, break off a piece and enjoy.
3.  Cappuccino
   Disclaimer: People prepare cappuccino in many different ways, and in their
   very own way each one of them is correct. The following recipe, which is
   commonly used in Latin countries, has been tasted by several of my
   North-American friends and they unanimously agreed that cappuccino
   prepared using this recipe tastes much better than the standard fare in
   Start with cold milk (it doesn't really need to be ice-cold), use homo
   milk or carnation. 2% or skim is just not thick enough (admittedly, it is
   easier to produce foam with skim milk).
   Place the milk on a special cappuccino glass with a cappuccino basket.
   (Cappuccino glasses have a thinner bottom).
   Aerate the milk near the top, within 2cm (1 in) of the top. Move the glass
   down as the milk aerates. It is a good idea to have an oscillating motion
   while aerating the milk.
   Aerating the milk in another container, then pouring in a glass and adding
   the foam with a spoon is sacrilege.
   Anybody who has done so should make a pilgrimage to San Francisco's
   Girardelli's. Otherwise entry to heaven will be denied (god, is after all,
   Italian. At least the catholic one).
   If you need to aerate the milk on a separate container, aerate exactly the
   amount of milk required for one cup, so no need to add foam with a spoon.
   Once the milk has been aerated, promptly clean the aerator with a wet rag.
   Failure to do so will quickly result in rotten milk flavour coming from
   the aerator.
   Another warning on similar lines applies to restaurant type coffee
   machines: leave the aerator valve open when powering the machine up and
   down. When the machine is off a partial vacuum is formed in the boiler
   that will suck milk residue into the boiler. This then coats the inside of
   the boiler and can cause bad smelling steam until the boiler is flushed.
   Some machines have a vacuum bleed valve to prevent this problem but many
   Wait for the steam pressure to build up again (for some cappuccino makers
   wait time is near zero, for others it maybe as long as 60 secs).
   Prepare the espresso coffee, you may add it directly on to the glass if
   possible or use a cup and then pour it from the cup on the milk.
   According to Jym Dyer: In Italy, the milk is added TO the espresso, not
   the other way around, that way the milk is floating; on top, where you
   then add the sugar, and stir it up.
   Cappuccino tastes better when is really hot, and has two teaspoons of
   sugar. (small teaspoons, like the ones in expensive silverware).
   Then accompany said cappuccino with a warm tea bisquet or english muffin
   with marmalade, or alternatively with a baguette sandwich or panini.
4.  Frappe
   Frappe coffee is widely consumed in parts of Europe and LatinAmerica
   especially in summer. Originally was made with cold espresso. Nowadays is
   prepared in most places by shaking into a shaker 1-2 teaspoons of instant
   coffee with sugar, water and ice-cubes and it is served in a long glass
   with ice, milk to taste and a straw. The important thing is the thick
   froth on top of the glass.
5.  How to make your own chocolate
   Here's the recipe for making a real chocolate beverage. Important steps
   are in boldface.
      o  1-2kg (2-4pounds) of cocoa beans.
      o  A manually operated grinder.
      o  Sift through the beans removing any impurities (pieces of grass,
        leaves, etc).
      o  Place the beans in a pan (no teflon) and roast them. Stir
        frequently. As the beans roast they start making "pop" sounds like
        popcorn. Beans are ready when you estimate that approx 50-75% of the
        beans have popped. Do not let the beans burn, though a bit of black
        on each bean is ok.
      o  Peel the beans. Peeling roasted cocoa beans is like peeling baked
        potatoes: The hotter they are the easier it is to peel the darn
        things, at the expense of third degree burns on your fingers. (Tip:
        Use kitchen mittens and brush the beans in your hands). If the beans
        are too hard to peel roast them a bit longer.
      o  Grind the beans into a pan. They produce a dark oily paste called
        "cocoa paste".
      o  The oil in the cocoa has a bitter taste that you have to get used
        to. I like it this way, but not all people do. Here are the
        With oil, which gives you a richer flavour:
        Spread aluminum foil on a table and make small pies of chocolate,
        about 1/4 of an inch high, and 6 inches in diameter. Let them rest
        overnight. The morning after they are hard tablets. Remove them from
        the aluminum foil and rap them in it. Store in the freezer.
        Without oil, some flavour is gone, less bitter, weaker (whimper)
        Put the paste inside a thin cloth (like linen), close the cloth and
        squeeze until the oil comes out. If you manage to get most of the oil
        out, what is left is high quality cocoa powder, like Droste's.
        What is left now is either bitter tablets or bitter cocoa powder.
   You can now make a nice beverage as follows:
      o Boil a liter of milk (or water, like in ancient Mexican style. Like
        water for chocolate, "Como agua para chocolate": you know).
      o  When the milk is warm (not hot) add a chocolate pie in pieces. Stir
        with a blender (but be careful! the blender's electric cord should
        NOT touch the pot or any other hot thing around it).
      o  When the chocolate has dissolved add 1/2-3/4 cups of sugar
        (depending how sweet you like your chocolate) and blend in fast. Make
        sure the sugar is completely dissolved in the chocolate otherwise it
        would be bitter no matter how much sugar you may add afterwards.
      o  Add a teaspoon of cinnamon or natural vanilla flavour (artificial
        vanilla flavour with chocolate results in an awful medicine like
        flavour) if you like, and blend again.
      o  Let the mixture boil, when it starts to get bubbly quickly remove
        the pan from the stove top, and rest the bottom against a soaked
        cloth. Put again on stove top, it should get bubbly almost
        immediately, remove once again and repeat one last time. This aerates
        the chocolate which enhances flavour.
      o  In a mug, put about 1/2-3/4 of the chocolate mixture, and add cold
        milk, until the temperature and/or the concentration of the flavour
        is right for your tastes. Accompany with French Pastries. Yum Yum!!
6.  How to make the best cup of coffee?
   The best coffee I ever tasted was while in the coffee growing regions of
   Mexico, in the state of Veracruz, in the town of Coatepec. The quality of
   the coffee was mostly due to the method of preparation than to the quality
   of the grains (which is at about the same level as an average colombian
   coffee). Here's how to make it:
      o  Grind the coffee grains from coarse to very coarse.
      o  Boil in a pan a litre of water (four cups).
      o  When the water is boiling, turn off the stove and add 8-12 table
        spoons of coffee (2-3 spoons per each cup).
      o  Add two-three teaspoons of sugar per cup (for a total of 8-12 spoons
        of sugar).
      o  Stir very slowly (the water is so hot that the sugar dissolves
        mostly on its own).
      o  Let the coffee rest for about 5 minutes.
      o  Strain the coffee using a metal strainer! Like the ones used for
        cooking. The strainer should be like the ones used by granny for
        making tea. The diameter is a bit smaller that a cup, with a
        semi-sphere shape.
      o  This coffee has grit in the bottom, even after being strained.
        Therefore do not stir the pot or the cup. If the coffee is shaked,
        let it rest for about five minutes. Needless to say, do not drink the
        last sip of coffee from the cup: it's all grit. If you want to add
        milk, add carnation.
   Warning: This coffee may fool you 'cause it has a very smooth taste but is
   extremely strong. Caffeine content per millilitre is right there with
   espresso, but you can't tell!
   Note: For some strange reason, when preparing this coffee I tend to have a
   success ratio of about one out of two attempts. I still don't know what
   I'm doing wrong, since, as far as I can tell, always repeat the same
   steps. Perhaps sometimes I don't let the coffee rest long enough.
   This type of coffee is similar in nature to the French press. And in
   principle, you could possibly add sugar to the ground coffee, then pour
   water, and lastly press with the strainer.
7.  Turkish Coffee
   Turkish coffee is prepared using a little copper pot called briki.
   Use a heaping teaspoon of very finely ground coffee and, optionally, one
   heaping teaspoon of sugar (to taste). Use about 3oz of coffee. [Add the
   sugar only just before boiling point.] Turkish coffee without sugar is
   called sade, with a little sugar is "orta s,ekerli" and with lots of sugar
   is "c,ok s,ekerli".
   The trick of it is to heat it until it froths pour the froth into the
   coffee dup and heat it a second time. When it froths again, pour the rest
   into the cup.
   The grounds will settle to the bottom of the cup as you drink the coffee
   and towards the end, it'll start to taste bitter and the texture will be
   more like wet coffee grounds than a drink. As soon as this happens stop or
   your next sip will taste really, really bitter. Instead, turn your cup
   upside down on the saucer, and let someone read your fortune!
8.  Irish Coffee
      o Sturdy wine glass or glass with stem
      o  1 teaspoon sugar
      o 1 or 2 tablespoon Irish whiskey
      o  black coffee
      o  cream, lightly whipped
     1.  Place spoon in glass. Heat glass by pouring in warm water. When
        glass is warm, pour out the water. Leave spoon in glass.
     2.  Put sugar, whiskey and coffee in glass. Stir to dissolve sugar.
        Still leave spoon in glass.
     3.  Now for the tricky bit: Put dollop of cream on top, allow the cream
        to slide down the back of spoon (the spoon which was in the coffee),
        the tip of the spoon should remain in the coffee.
   Be careful not to stir after the cream has been added. The cream should
   form a foamy layer about 1 cm (or half an inch) thick on top of the black
9.  Thai Iced Coffee
   Make very strong coffee (50-100% more coffee to water than usual), use
   something like Cafe Du Monde which has chicory in it. Pour 6-8 oz into cup
   and add about 1 Tbs sweetened condensed milk. Stir, then pour over ice.
   You'll have to experiment with the strength and milk so you get lots of
   taste after the ice/water dilutes it.
   Alternatively, this version which comes from a newspaper article of many
   years ago simply calls for grinding two or three fresh cardamom pods and
   putting them in with the coffee grounds. Make a strong coffee with a fresh
   dark roast, chill it, sweeten and add half-and-half to taste.
   Lastly, we have the following recipe:
   Makes 1 8-cup pot of coffee
      o  6 tablespoons whole rich coffee beans, ground fine
      o  1/4 teaspoon ground coriander powder
      o  4 or 5 whole green cardamom pods, ground
      o  Place the coffee and spices in the filter cone of your coffee maker.
        Brew coffee as usual; let it cool.
      o  In a tall glass, dissolve 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar in an ounce of
        the coffee (it's easier to dissolve than if you put it right over
        ice). Add 5-6 ice cubes and pour coffee to within about 1" of the top
        of the glass.
      o  Rest a spoon on top of the coffee and slowly pour whipping cream
        into the spoon. This will make the cream float on top of the coffee
        rather than dispersing into it right away.
      o  To be totally cool, serve with Flexi-Straws and paper umbrellas...
   One other fun note: I got a fresh vanilla bean recently and put it to good
   use by sealing it in an airtight container with my sugar. The sugar gets
   the faintest vanilla aroma and is incredible in Real Chocolate Milk (TM)
   and iced coffee.
   One final note: this would probably be even better with iced espresso,
   because the espresso is so much more powerful and loses its taste less
   when it's cold.
   Another recipe:
      o  Strong, black ground coffee
      o  Sugar
      o  Evaporated (not condensed) milk
      o  Cardamom pods
   Prepare a pot of coffee at a good European strength (Miriam Nadel suggests
   2 tablespoons per cup, which I'd say is about right). In the ground
   coffee, add 2 or 3 freshly ground cardamom pods. (I've used green ones, I
   imagine the brown ones would give a slightly different flavour.) Sweeten
   while hot, then cool quickly.
   Serve over ice, with unsweetened evaporated milk (or heavy cream if you're
   feeling extra indulgent). To get the layered effect, place a spoon atop
   the coffee and pour the milk carefully into the spoon so that it floats on
   the top of the coffee.
   The recipe I have calls for:
      o  1/4 cup strong French roasted coffee
      o  1/2 cup boiling water
      o  2 tsp sweetened condensed milk
      o  Mix the above and pour over ice.
   I'd probably use less water and more coffee and milk.
   There is also a stronger version of Thai coffee called "Oleng" which is
   very strong to me and to a lot of coffee lovers.
   6 to 8 tablespoons ground espresso or French roast coffee 4 to 6 green
   cardamom pods, crushed Sugar to taste Half-and-half or cream Ice cubes
   Put the cardamom pods and the ground dark-roast coffee into a coffee
   press, espresso maker, or the filter of a drip coffee maker (if using a
   drip-style coffee maker, use half the water). Brew coffee as for espresso,
   stir in sugar.
   Fill a large glass with ice and pour coffee over ice, leaving about 1/2
   inch at the top. Place a spoon at the surface of the coffee and slowly
   pour half-and-half or cream into the spoon, so that it spreads across the
   top of the coffee rather than sinking in. (You'll stir it in yourself
   anyway, but this is a much prettier presentation and it's as used in most
   Thai restaurants.)
   As with Vietnamese coffee, the struggle here is to keep from downing this
   all in ten seconds.

10. Vietnamese Iced Coffee

   Same coffee as above. Sweetened condensed (not evaporated) milk Ice
   Make even stronger coffee, preferably in a Vietnamese coffee maker. (This
   is a metal cylinder with tiny holes in the bottom and a perforated disc
   that fits into it; you put coffee in the bottom of the cylinder, place the
   disc atop it, then fill with boiling water and a very rich infusion of
   coffee drips slowly from the bottom.)
   If you are using a Vietnamese coffee maker, put two tablespoons of
   sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of a cup and put the coffee maker
   on top of the cup. If you are making espresso or cafe filter (the infusion
   method where you press the plunger down through the grounds after several
   minutes of infusion), mix the sweetened condensed milk and the coffee any
   way you like.
   When the milk is dissolved in the coffee (yes, dissolved *is* the right
   word here!), pour the combination over ice and sip.
   Thai and Vietnamese coffees are very different.
   Ca phe sua da (Vietnamese style iced coffee)
      o  2 to 4 tablespoons finely ground dark roast coffee (preferably with
      o  2 to 4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (e.g., Borden Eagle
        Brand, not evaporated milk!)
      o  Boiling water
      o  Vietnamese coffee press [see notes]
      o  Ice cubes
   Place ground coffee in Vietnamese coffee press and screw lid down on the
   grounds. Put the sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of a coffee cup
   and set the coffee maker on the rim. Pour boiling water over the screw lid
   of the press; adjust the tension on the screw lid just till bubbles appear
   through the water, and the coffee drips slowly out the bottom of the
   When all water has dripped through, stir the milk and coffee together. You
   can drink them like this, just warm, as ca phe sua neng, but I prefer it
   over ice, as ca phe sua da. To serve it that way, pour the milk-coffee
   mixture over ice, stir, and drink as slowly as you can manage. I always
   gulp mine too fast. :-)
   A Vietnamese coffee press looks like a stainless steel top hat. There's a
   "brim" that rests on the coffee cup; in the middle of that is a cylinder
   with tiny perforations in the bottom. Above that rises a threaded rod, to
   which you screw the top of the press, which is a disc with similar tiny
   perforations. Water trickles through these, extracts flavour from the
   coffee, and then trickles through the bottom perforations. It is
   excruciatingly slow. Loosening the top disc speeds the process, but also
   weakens the resulting coffee and adds sediment to the brew.
   If you can't find a Vietnamese coffee press, regular-strength espresso is
   an adequate substitute, particularly if made with French-roast beans or
   with a dark coffee with chicory. I've seen the commonly available Medaglia
   d'Oro brand coffee cans in Vietnamese restaurants, and it works, though
   you'll lose some of the subtle bitterness that the chicory offers. I think
   Luzianne brand coffee comes with chicory and is usable in Vietnamese
   coffee, though at home I generally get French roast from my normal coffee
   Of these two coffees, Vietnamese coffee should taste more or less like
   melted Haagen-Dasz coffee ice cream, while Thai iced coffee has a more
   fragrant and lighter flavour from the cardamom and half-and-half rather
   than the condensed milk. Both are exquisite, and not difficult to make
   once you've got the equipment.
   As a final tip, I often use my old-fashioned on-the-stove espresso maker
   (the one shaped like an hourglass, where you put water in the bottom,
   coffee in the middle, and as it boils the coffee comes out in the top) for
   Thai iced coffee. The simplest way is merely to put the cardamom and sugar
   right in with the coffee, so that what comes out the top is ready to pour
   over ice and add half and half. It makes a delicious and very passable
   version of restaurant-style Thai iced coffee.

11. Melya

      o  Espresso
      o  Honey
      o  Unsweetened cocoa
   Brew espresso; for this purpose, a Bialetti-style stovetop will work. In a
   coffee mug, place 1 teaspoon of unsweetened powdered cocoa; then cover a
   teaspoon with honey and drizzle it into the cup. Stir while the coffee
   brews; this is the fun part. The cocoa seems to coat the honey without
   mixing, so you get a dusty, sticky mass that looks as though it will never
   mix. Then all at once, presto! It looks like dark chocolate sauce. Pour
   hot espresso over the honey, stirring to dissolve. Serve with cream
   (optional). I have never served this cold but I imagine it would be
   interesting; I use it as a great hot drink for cold days, though, so all
   my memories are of grey skies, heavy sweaters, damp feet and big smiles.

* Administrivia

1.  List of Contributors
   This FAQ is a collective effort. Here's a list of most (all?) of the
      o  Oktay Ahiska (
      o  Marc Aurel (
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      o  Scott Fisher (
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      o  Tom F Karlsson (
      o  Bob Kummerfeld (
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      o  Alex Lopez-Ortiz (
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      o  David R. B. Walker ( Orion Wilson
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      o  Ted Young (theodric@MIT.EDU)
      o  Steven Zikopoulos (
2.  Copyright
   This FAQ is Copyright (C) 1994,1995 by Alex Lopez-Ortiz. This text, in
   whole or in part, may not be sold in any medium, including, but not
   limited to, electronic, CD-ROM, or published in print, without the
   explicit, written permission of Alex Lopez-Ortiz.

Copyright (C) 1994, Alex Lopez-Ortiz.

Please send comments to Alex Lopez-Ortiz ( – Alex Lopez-Ortiz FAX (519)-885-1208 Department of Computer Science University of Waterloo Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1 Canada

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