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Too much cofffee man
July 13, 2010 12:22 PM   Subscribe

What Caffeine Actually Does to Your Brain
posted by Artw (136 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
makes it happy?
posted by The Whelk at 12:26 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't see any charts with unicorns in that explanation so I'm assuming it can't be complete.
posted by Babblesort at 12:34 PM on July 13, 2010 [17 favorites]


That's awesome, really interesting article. Anyone know if the book is worth the purchase?
posted by Carillon at 12:34 PM on July 13, 2010


all work and no caffeine makes backseatpilot something something
posted by backseatpilot at 12:35 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was never a big coffee drinker until the store got burgled. The other manager, having mixed his schedule up with mine again, showed up that morning and decided to stick out in case the cops needed any information. He got himself a cup at the bodega across the street and got me one too, not knowing that I didn't really drink coffee. Bored as I was (even the half-assed job the cops did that day took a while) I drank the thing and, eventually, opened the store for business. Except something was weird. I usually felt like a lump of crap until about two. That day, I was feeling fantastic and, checking the clock, realized it was 11 AM. Addicted to the morning-cup-at-work ever since. And I have to say that it is definitely more about the ritual than the science. Sure, I can get my gears going without joe, but no matter how long I quit it for, things don't really get moving upstairs until much, much later.

Ten cups a day, though? That's fucking insane.
posted by griphus at 12:36 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Makes it work?

FTFY.
posted by barrett caulk at 12:36 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I spent a couple of years doing, um..., ill-advised stimulants. When I quit those, I found that I became sensitized to all stimulants in general. Two cups of coffee in a morning will give me the horrid jitters and a vaguely uneasy speedy feeling. I love the flavor, but I save it for one cup on a Saturday morning and nothing more. My life is, in general, better for it.

(I can't count how many people I know who take over an hour to boot-up in the morning, as in even being functional enough to interact or begin to prepare for the day. At this point, I can roll out of bed and be fully functional within 15-20 minutes, including getting dressed. I feel for the people who require coffee or caffeine to function. I used to be that way, and am happy that I'm not anymore.)
posted by hippybear at 12:36 PM on July 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Lifehacker post seems a bit Pepsi Blue-ish WRT the book.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:37 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I recently cut coffee out of my daily routine, and really did feel a boost whenever I had something caffeinated. But I slowly came back to drinking a morning cup because it just tastes so damned good.
posted by codacorolla at 12:37 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Raw video of the research.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 12:37 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Oatmeal comic is worth emphasising on its own, for those who haven't actually clicked through.

15 Things Worth Knowing About Coffee. ("It's concise.")
posted by WalterMitty at 12:38 PM on July 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


hippybear: "I feel for the people who require coffee or caffeine to function."

For me, at least, it's less that and being totally unable to function during the morning, period. No matter how much sleep I get. I used to bawl my eyes out every day on the way to kindergarten because I just wanted to be back asleep. Slept through every one of my morning classes in high school, even though I got a good nine, ten hours beforehand. My brain, for some reason, was not meant to be used before 10 AM.
posted by griphus at 12:40 PM on July 13, 2010 [12 favorites]



(I can't count how many people I know who take over an hour to boot-up in the morning, as in even being functional enough to interact or begin to prepare for the day. At this point, I can roll out of bed and be fully functional within 15-20 minutes, including getting dressed. I feel for the people who require coffee or caffeine to function. I used to be that way, and am happy that I'm not anymore.)


I'm pretty much like this with or without coffee, probably due to some underlying sleep issues/lifelong Night Owlness. I've pretty much tried to structure my life so I can sleep in every day.

I like black coffee but I can't drink it if I'm doing any kind of serious inking, the slight shake messes up my line too much (plus I get cranky unless the coffee is on top a massive wad of food, which doesn't happen very foten.)
posted by The Whelk at 12:47 PM on July 13, 2010


I didn't drink coffee until I visited the US. I've spent the last four years trying to reproduce that nectar of the gods and failed miserably.

Even the Starbucks coffee was a thing of great beauty. I got someone to buy me American Starbucks coffee and spent some time researching the best coffee maker to make it in, never worked.

I need to spend £600 on a plane ticket to get that glorious feeling back, it's like the worst first-time-crack-high ever.
posted by shinybaum at 12:48 PM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Some of us were born three cups of coffee short. Griphus: I have a similarly vivid memory of my miraculous first caffeine experience, which came quite a few years earlier than yours. Oh General Foods International Coffees Suisse Mocha Powder, you made one special 15 year old very very happy.
posted by rusty at 12:52 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


hippybear: (I can't count how many people I know who take over an hour to boot-up in the morning, as in even being functional enough to interact or begin to prepare for the day. At this point, I can roll out of bed and be fully functional within 15-20 minutes, including getting dressed. I feel for the people who require coffee or caffeine to function. I used to be that way, and am happy that I'm not anymore.)

I know exactly what you mean, and I agree with you. I've been there, and once your body adjusts, it really is better in every way than the physical dependency of the morning jolt.

But some single origin, city-ish roast level beans, passed through a finest-end-of-coarse burr grinder and stepped in a pre-heated, double walled french press, it's one of the most fantastic sets of flavors and textures that I've ever encountered, and if morning grogginess is the price I have to pay for it, then so be it.
posted by paisley henosis at 12:52 PM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


I like coffee in the morning just because it tastes so good, but I don't need it. My main use for it is when I need to be up late working. My uneducated guess based on the article is that this actually maximizes its effectiveness. Coffee can't wake you up, but it can keep you from falling asleep. So I suspect the morning cup mainly staves off a headache and the evening cup keeps me alert until I finally get to bed.
posted by resiny at 12:53 PM on July 13, 2010


"I feel for the people who require coffee or caffeine to function."

Why? Are you blind? Dude, I'll buy you your own cup.
posted by hal9k at 12:53 PM on July 13, 2010 [13 favorites]


You can have my AeroPress when you pry it from my warm, jittery hands.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:54 PM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


shinybaum: Only someone from the UK could rave about American coffee. The sad truth is, Americans have the second worst coffee in the world. The UK has the worst. Get yourself to France or Italy, for the sake of your immortal soul.

(Also, the secret to Starbuck's "distinctive" flavor is to burn the living hell out of the beans. It has nothing to do with the coffee maker, or the variety, or anything. Get some regular roasted coffee beans, put them in a hot dry cast iron pan and swirl them around on high heat until they get sort of black and oily looking. They might smoke a bit. Cool in a metal colander, than make coffee. It'll taste like Starbuck's. but please, only do this once, ok? Then get some good coffee.)
posted by rusty at 12:56 PM on July 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


I didn't drink coffee until I visited the US. I've spent the last four years trying to reproduce that nectar of the gods and failed miserably.

God, that reminds me of the last time I was in the UK. I had just flown in from France, which has some pretty damn good coffee, and after about the third place I tried, I realized why the British coffee tasted oh so awful, yet oh so familiar...

You bastards were giving me instant coffee the whole time!

Now, I respect a good cup of tea, like the next gent, but please... if you're going to try to accomodate us yanks, at least give us a heads up that your pouring me the fake stuff.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 1:00 PM on July 13, 2010


The sad truth is, Americans have the second worst coffee in the world. The UK has the worst. Get yourself to France or Italy, for the sake of your immortal soul.

I went to France and tried the coffee! everyone told me it was the best ever, sadly I tried it after my US epiphany and it turns out that now I only want US coffee.

Sadly all the food I tried sucked monkey butts, so I'd have to starve and just drink coffee until I passed out.

It'll taste like Starbuck's. but please, only do this once, ok?

If it tastes like US starbucks coffee I will spend the airline ticket money on cast iron pans and die a happy and over-caffienated person. Thank you.
posted by shinybaum at 1:01 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is it really fair to say a country has the worst or best of something? I mean, consider that America has both Dogfish Head and Natural Ice beer for sale.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:04 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


To get the authentic Starbucks experience also make sure that you leave the burned beans in too hot water for too long so there is a film of leeched oil on the top of your coffee.
posted by Babblesort at 1:05 PM on July 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


I had many, many years of never feeling fully awake before noon, whether I got up at 7 or at 11. Coffee was not (only) an enjoyable beverage; it was the pivot about which my morning consciousness turned.

A little less than a year ago, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, and (thanks to medication and machinery) am gradually entering a world of ante-meridial awakeness that is new and strange. But, as it turns out, I still love coffee--maybe even more now that I don't need it like I used to.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 1:05 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The sad truth is, Americans have the second worst coffee in the world.

Oh, and the Turkish have the strongest, in my experience. Drank a couple with a Bulgarian friend of mine...

Her: Are you okay?
Me: I FEEL LIKE I'M TALKING TOO LOUD! AM I TALKING TOO LOUD?! IF I AM, DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT CROTCH-ROT MEANS ANYWAY?!

Thankfully, a smaller percentage of Turks speak English than I originally thought. Or they were scared of me.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 1:06 PM on July 13, 2010 [12 favorites]


At this point, I can roll out of bed and be fully functional within 15-20 minutes, including getting dressed.

That's not caffeine, that's sleep. Get enough sleep and you'll find your body does this automatically.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:06 PM on July 13, 2010


The authour of the book:(The amount of caffeine from the black tea isn't enough to wire a gnat.)

Mayo Clinic says that tea's got about half as much caffeine as brewed coffee, about as much as a red bull or rockstar.

Hyperbole much?
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:07 PM on July 13, 2010


Tea is something only people in Northern England and Scotland can make properly. I've tried tea in lots of places and it just makes me homesick. In America someone tried their hardest and microwaved me a cup, I was only saved from suicide by all the distractingly untouchable porn in the corner shop (another thing Americans do weirdly).
posted by shinybaum at 1:11 PM on July 13, 2010


Shinybaum, we do it for the children. The children!
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:13 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's interesting. The way that adenosine piles up like points and once it hits a threshold it's sleeping time. I used to be a BIG coffee drinker of several cups a day but since around 2006 we've had an off-and-on relationship. Especially because I would try having a cup of coffee to wake me up in the afternoon but I guess there was already too much adenosine piled up already and it just seemed to make me more tired. Or instead, many times I've had the unpleasant feeling of my body feeling tired without my brain being able to follow suit where it would normally concur with its own tired feeling, then shut down for sleep. So I guess that was the caffeine sticking a wood block under the break pedal. So we continued to slowly coast on and on until we slowly bumped into a tree and fell asleep. This is why I only drink coffee in the morning now.
posted by amethysts at 1:14 PM on July 13, 2010


If America has the second worst coffee in the world, how come there is such a huge market for our shit coffee in places like Istanbul, Greece, Italy, etc? There's a Starbucks pretty much everywhere and I can confirm it ain't American expats drinkin all of it. So, clearly we don't have a corner on the 'shitty taste in coffee' genes.
posted by spicynuts at 1:18 PM on July 13, 2010


American branding is worth a lot more than American quality, spicynuts.
posted by griphus at 1:20 PM on July 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


I love me coffee but the withdrawals if for some reason I don't have it? Makes my non-caffeine migraines look tame.
posted by angrycat at 1:20 PM on July 13, 2010


I didn't drink coffee until I visited the US. I've spent the last four years trying to reproduce that nectar of the gods and failed miserably.

shinybaum: Only someone from the UK could rave about American coffee. The sad truth is, Americans have the second worst coffee in the world. The UK has the worst.

I never realized how atrocious American coffee was until I visited Rwanda. I didn't know that coffee was supposed to taste like that. Here, I take my coffee with milk and Splenda; there, it was stronger, and more bitter, but drinking it black, in all its richness, was lovely.
posted by quadrilaterals at 1:24 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love me coffee but the withdrawals if for some reason I don't have it? Makes my non-caffeine migraines look tame.

Before I got Actual Science applied to the problem, my standard migraine abortive was "shotgun five cups of coffee, pop two Tylenol," occasionally modified to "two Vivarin and two Tylenol.

My coworkers... found this alarming if they happened to run across the process in action.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 1:25 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


At this point, I can roll out of bed and be fully functional within 15-20 minutes, including getting dressed.

That's not caffeine, that's sleep. Get enough sleep and you'll find your body does this automatically.


Not really. I'm pretty much able to function that way on 4 hours of sleep or 9 hours. I've just found that I've somehow rewired to not have to spend all this time groggy in the morning. I attribute it to dropping stimulants including caffeine. Maybe I'm wrong, as correlation doesn't equal causality. But I know what coffee does to me (despite loving it), and so I just don't have it often anymore. And when I stopped having it, I started being able to be a person quickly in the morning, rather than a human-shaped slug dragging through for 60-90 minutes.
posted by hippybear at 1:27 PM on July 13, 2010


Absolutely loved this metaphor:
More important than just fitting in, though, caffeine actually binds to those receptors in efficient fashion, but doesn't activate them—they're plugged up by caffeine's unique shape and chemical makeup. With those receptors blocked, the brain's own stimulants, dopamine and glutamate, can do their work more freely—"Like taking the chaperones out of a high school dance," Braun writes in an email.
I'm imagining caffeine now as a zany 80s high school movie: the cool kids decide to prank the prom by tricking all the chaperones into the halls and then chaining the gym doors shut, resulting in the DJ playing something really crazy, like Killing Joke, and those badasses Dopamine and Glutamate dancing on tables and kicking over the punchbowl.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:28 PM on July 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


We were in England for a couple of weeks in the spring and I was both delighted and relieved to discover that the coffee was not nearly as bad as I remembered. In fact, it was pretty good.

I like coffee. I need it to become fully human in the morning, but I also just plain like the taste.
posted by rtha at 1:28 PM on July 13, 2010


Coffee doesn't wake me up, or keep me awake, really (if I have at least 4 espressos at night, then I am awake late, but it takes that many), but it does give me a headache when I don't have a cup a day. I keep thinking I need to quit drinking coffee so I don't get the horrible withdrawal, but I cannot give up because it is so delicious. 10 days of no delicious coffee AND painful headaches? Give me my addiction. I managed to get from embarrassing levels of coffee intake to an appropriate 1 cup per day, but trying to cut that last cup is infinitely harder than the first 10.

I grant that maybe since I've been drinking coffee since I was inappropriately young (though it, very briefly, impressed a lot of 13 year olds that I drank coffee without sugar) I forgot what it's like not to have a high level of tolerance.
posted by jeather at 1:30 PM on July 13, 2010


I used to keep a list of all of the similarities between living in the UK and living in Japan, and number one on the list was the terrible, awful coffee. I would go into places advertising hand-roasted this and blue mountain that, but it all tasted like burnt dishwater. Or, in regular restaurants, it would be Nescafe.

I never appreciated Starbucks until it wasn't there.

(Best coffee? Vietnam or Italy.)
posted by betweenthebars at 1:31 PM on July 13, 2010


American branding is worth a lot more than American quality, spicynuts.

Yeah, and not just to Americans. If bad coffee sells because of brand, it follows that most HUMANS, regardless of country of residence, don't give a shit about taste or quality. So let's stop with the America is a bunch of rubes trope.
posted by spicynuts at 1:31 PM on July 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, there's an awful lot of coffee in this thread. Coffee, pah.

Are you a bad enough dude to drink a bowl of matcha?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:36 PM on July 13, 2010


shinybaum: The cast iron pan is the "cooking hot dogs on a stick over an open fire" approach to roasting coffee beans. If you really can't live without it, get yourself a decent home roaster and find someplace you can order green beans online (Sweet Maria's shipping cost might be prohibitive to the UK, I don't know), and roast your own. Starbucks roast is somewhere around the end of second crack. And while you're at it, try some lighter roasts (end of first crack through the first few seconds of second crack) of some good single-origin beans, and I'm sure you will come to see the light on this issue. :-)

(By the way, you may be cursed with bad real coffee, but the UK does have surprisingly decent instant coffee. I get British friends to send me Clipper for camping, which is, while not "good" exactly, at least drinkable.)
posted by rusty at 1:40 PM on July 13, 2010


What's wrong with matcha? It's not something horrible like yerba mate.
posted by GuyZero at 1:40 PM on July 13, 2010


Tea is something only people in Northern England and Scotland can make properly.

I think there are folks from south Asia to Russia to China to Japan who would take *major* exception to this dismissal. And, you know, your tea experience is, um... incomplete, if you've never had pö-cha (Tibetan salty butter tea). Though, speaking as an American, I would say the only worthwhile tea most Americans make is iced.
posted by aught at 1:41 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


rusty Some of us were born three cups of coffee short.

Yeah, this is me, although the focus and wakefulness I get from caffeine has always been minimal. I didn't have that life-altering experience until I tried other stimulants. Heating water is still the first thing I do almost every morning, but it's mostly just for the sake of the hot beverage. I don't experience withdrawal on days when I don't have caffeine.

rusty Only someone from the UK could rave about American coffee. The sad truth is, Americans have the second worst coffee in the world. The UK has the worst. Get yourself to France or Italy, for the sake of your immortal soul.

This is like saying that Americans have the worst beer in the world — kind of true, but not at all true once you make any effort to seek out something other than lowest common denominator.

I'm not much of a coffee connoisseur, but I've read Corby Kummer say a number of times that French coffee has a less than stellar reputation: 1, 2, 3.
posted by hat at 1:41 PM on July 13, 2010


What's wrong with matcha?

Absolutely nothing. It's like a bowl of hot liquid cocaine.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:42 PM on July 13, 2010


I think there are folks from south Asia to Russia to China to Japan who would take *major* exception to this dismissal.

I know. By 'properly' I meant 'in the manner people in the North of England make it', which is the only way I can drink it. I'm sure people around the world love their tea as much as I love mine, and good on them.

Starbucks roast is somewhere around the end of second crack.

I knew it was crack. I'm googling happily as I type, thanks for the advice.
posted by shinybaum at 1:46 PM on July 13, 2010


Hey, I like Yerba Mate. It combines the taste of hay with the jitters of caffeine!
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:46 PM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Italy, I can see, but France? Are you kidding me? Anyway, most of the coffee in the US by volume is really awful, but all of our major cities are full to the brim with people making and selling very high-quality coffee. Unfortunately you'll be paying $3-6 for your cup of joe rather than the quarter we charged at the diner I worked at as a kid.

I'm willing to pay it no more than a couple times a week, but fortunately they sell their beans, and it's hard to screw up french press (ok, the French do know at least something about coffee) or one of those pour-over filter cones. It all comes down to fresh roast, fresh grind, and consistency consistency consistency!

I will concede that it is a full-on American bummer that you have to find a shop run by coffee enthusiasts to get a decent cup though, I remember when I was in Italy it seemed like any corner store could pull you a great espresso for €1.
posted by thedaniel at 1:46 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Get yourself to France or Italy, for the sake of your immortal soul.

I can't be the only one here who's underwhelmed by French coffee, can I? It's like the bastard child of espresso and American coffee -- too much water to have the intensity and depth of a great espresso, not enough to be the easier-drinking tonic that good American coffee (which, yes, exists) can be. I am 100% on board re:Italy, though.

Maybe the problem is that I don't know how to ask for a "short" coffee in French.
posted by chalkbored at 1:46 PM on July 13, 2010


hat: yeah, I should probably qualify that blanket dismissal. It is entirely possible to get the best coffee on earth in the US, and actually it's not even that hard. But our non-specialty stuff is generally crappy, and most Americans don't appear have any sense of what coffee is supposed to taste like (though, from the comments above, maybe that's true of most of the world). I was making a comparison between, like, supermarket ground coffee in France and supermarket ground coffee in the US. Or what you get if you ask for a cup of coffee in a restaurant. In France, Germany or Italy you'll probably get a decent cup of coffee after a meal. In the US you will get something slightly brownish and bitterish that tastes almost, but not quite, entirely unlike coffee.
posted by rusty at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2010


I defend my failure-to-preview by noting that I have not yet had my afternoon coffee.
posted by chalkbored at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2010


I wasn't super-impressed with France's coffee in terms of taste but I was impressed with the strength. A cup of it in the morning is a shocking and bitter reminder about the cruelties of the waking world.
posted by The Whelk at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, hat, everything in Paris kind of sucks. I don't have any experience with Parisian coffee, but it wouldn't surprise me if it's not very good. Outside of Paris, French coffee is generally very good.
posted by rusty at 1:53 PM on July 13, 2010


Coffee doesn't wake me up, or keep me awake. Neither does a couple of cans of red bull or 6 cans of pepsi (but I drink all of them anyway because they are delicious. Sometimes in the same day). I've considered trying caffeine pills to definitively test my lack of reaction, but it seems like too much effort. I tend not to drink any caffeine over the weekend and I'm just as jittery Sunday night as I would be any other day. I've never managed to correlate headaches or any other withdrawal like symptoms with presence or lack of caffeine (if it isn't to hand, I can go weeks without touching any caffeine and not even think about it). I've never liked mornings or waking up, and always had trouble sleeping. I wonder if the weird sleep habits are related to the lack of caffeine effect on me, perhaps symptoms of an underlying cause.
posted by jacalata at 1:53 PM on July 13, 2010


I literally dream about the coffee they served while I was in Stockholm (that's in Sweden). Yes, even the stuff served in a big carafe that had been sitting out for a few hours. Heaven.
posted by muddgirl at 1:57 PM on July 13, 2010


There is no such thing as "Too much cofffee man".

My personal toxicology studies have proven that it is impossible to consume enough coffee (in aqueous solution) to die. You might explode from too much -water- of course. Or suffer the embarrassment of excess micturation. (A word my Windoze spell-checker doesn't even know, haw-haw.)

I drank 12 ounces while composing this message.
posted by Twang at 1:58 PM on July 13, 2010


mccarty.tim: Is it really fair to say a country has the worst or best of something? I mean, consider that America has both Dogfish Head and Natural Ice beer for sale.

Hey, hey, hey. We have good beer here, too.
posted by paisley henosis at 1:58 PM on July 13, 2010


everything in Paris kind of sucks

wait, what?
posted by everichon at 2:02 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would like to put a plug in for Trader Joe's Café Pajaro.

It's less than $7 for a big can and better than the beans you can get for twice the money at Starbucks. Granted, I've had better drip coffee here and there over the years, but for a daily hom made brew at a great price this cannot be beat.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 2:06 PM on July 13, 2010


Also, I was in Paris for two weeks recently. Yes, I had some good espresso... but it was the same quality of "good" espresso I've had in the states and in other countries. I had some drip coffee there as well which was good but not great. I drank a lot of coffee from different places in Paris for two weeks, and while I thought it was OK to good, I do not think it was better overall than in the US.

And I loved Paris, not bashing it at all. Just think its coffee reputation is overhyped.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 2:10 PM on July 13, 2010


Stumptown. That is all.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:10 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ok, not everything in Paris sucks. But it is easier to find superb examples of the things France is famous for outside of Paris. Or, conversely, it is easier to find disappointing examples of the things France is famous for in Paris, even if superb examples are also to be found.

Also, people in the rest of France think Parisians are assholes. :-)
posted by rusty at 2:11 PM on July 13, 2010


"Tea is something only people in Northern England and Scotland can make properly. I've tried tea in lots of places and it just makes me homesick."

America knows nothing about tea. Restaurants will typically open a box and -leave it open until the bags are all gone-. SHITE! For a comparison: grind some coffee and let it sit open on the cupboard for a month or two before drinking. Philistines!! (Sorry Philistines, what I really meant was ...) The best thing to do with American tea is ... toss it in the Harbor!!

I learned how-to-brew from my English/Scottish GP's. It is HARD-to-IMPOSSIBLE to get quality pekoe tea (let alone others) in the US these days, since the quality of the Red Rose fallback went all-to-hell about a decade ago. I swear the Bigelow (wherefore art thou, Wagner?) quality's way off as well. (E.g. English Breakfast ... the more the tea quality drops off, the more bergemot they slip in.)

In dire emergency you can get US Tetley's off-the-shelf, it's nearly shite too. It's like Canada: they keep the good stuff up there, and ship the piss down here. Anyone who ever had Labatt's Velvet Creme knows.

Wanting good tea you must find a trustworthy source. And then NEVER tell anyone else about it. Sorry!
posted by Twang at 2:13 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


PG Tips seems fairly easy to get hold of, Safeways often has it in their little ethnic foods for British people section, along with the custard and hobnobs.

No Twiglets though...

Mmm... twiglets.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on July 13, 2010


The problem is you can buy the bags but the US seems to have a terrible drought of kettles, and you can't make tea without a kettle. Something to do with the oxygen in water at a rolling boil. Pans of water don't work for some reason, every time my kettle explodes I just sit and cry until someone lends me one.

I did consider setting up a charitable foundation, but apparently not having a kettle is a choice for many people.
posted by shinybaum at 2:19 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The kettle thing is weird. And they try using microwaves.... oh god, it's horrible.
posted by Artw at 2:21 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


US seems to have a terrible drought of kettles

Hmmm? They sell them in the larger grocery stores. Absolutely you should be able to find one at Target.

Guess what? They sell loose-leaf tea here, too. I make it in my french press (I bought that at William and Sonoma, though).
posted by muddgirl at 2:27 PM on July 13, 2010


The best Coffee I ever had was this dive Colombian diner in Miami, that listed it as Cafe Cubano. I must have drank about 10 of the tiny cups one morning, (then went down the street to the mall and got trashed drinking hurricanes the rest of the day).

But anyway -- Cafe Cubano, so, so good. Is that just Espresso or is it something different? I've never been able to get it anywhere else in the country.
posted by empath at 2:28 PM on July 13, 2010


Hmmm? They sell them in the larger grocery stores.

Unfortunately not to anyone I've stayed with. I could have bought one but I discovered the glory that is US coffee and didn't look back.

Two things America does well, coffee and music. I pretty much forgot anything I had against the govt. there once I tasted the coffee and now I have a really hard time in anti-American threads. George Bush? but... the COFFEE.
posted by shinybaum at 2:31 PM on July 13, 2010


I can't count how many people I know who take over an hour to boot-up in the morning, as in even being functional enough to interact or begin to prepare for the day.

In my case, this comes from being a night owl living in an early bird's world. I'm most alert during the hours before I go asleep.
posted by kersplunk at 2:34 PM on July 13, 2010


I like how this thread has gone into a derail of coffee quality by country, tea preparation, and whatnot.

But one thing I wanted to bring up is soft drinks. Considering most adults get their caffeine fix from coffee, I'm pretty certain most kids 18 and under get their fix from soda and energy drinks. What sort of long term or short term effects does this have on children as opposed to adults.

Oh, by the way, the country that has the highest caffeine consumption... believe it or not is Finland.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 2:35 PM on July 13, 2010


Why are we still fumbling through our lives with coffee's weak-ass indirect-tiredness-prevention bullshit when we could be drinking coca tea and crushing it, in which it is whatever the fuck we want to crush e.g. work enemies etc., is what I want to know.
posted by clockzero at 2:36 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!
posted by Artw at 2:39 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why are we still fumbling through our lives with coffee's weak-ass indirect-tiredness-prevention bullshit when we could be drinking coca tea and crushing it, in which it is whatever the fuck we want to crush e.g. work enemies etc., is what I want to know.

I think the answer to caffeine tolerance is to implement something like crop rotation - One week, coffee, the next week, ritalin, the next week cocaine, and so on.
posted by empath at 2:40 PM on July 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


It soothes my brain, makes it not want to use its power for evil so much as for mere unpleasantness...
posted by Mister_A at 2:41 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like how this thread has gone into a derail of coffee quality by country, tea preparation, and whatnot.

That's junkies for you.
posted by Artw at 2:42 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately not to anyone I've stayed with.

No one you've stayed with drinks tea on a regular basis, then. I wouldn't expect tea drinkers to own a Mr. Coffee.
posted by muddgirl at 2:42 PM on July 13, 2010


I think the answer to caffeine tolerance is to implement something like crop rotation - One week, coffee, the next week, ritalin, the next week cocaine, and so on.

I pound tea throughout the day at work. On weekends, though, I have one cup in the morning, and that's it. Those two days are enough for my tolerance to decrease significantly. So Mondays are always pretty pinbally.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:43 PM on July 13, 2010


I'll just throw a bomb by saying that Chicago's Intelligencia brew-to-order coffee is bad. Sour tasting and too strong. It's right down the street from me and I've tried to like it. But it's just bad.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 2:45 PM on July 13, 2010


Condition Red: A super-secret chemical compound designed by scientists.
posted by Artw at 2:45 PM on July 13, 2010


I realized the nirvana that could be reached by consuming the subtle combination of French cafe au lait and croissants sitting on the balcony of the Hotel des Olivettes in Ville Franche overlooking the Mediterranean on a sunny morning. That is all.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:05 PM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


I gave up coffee (and caffeinated soda and tea) for Adderall and rarely drink it anymore, but I still like chai sometimes.

If America has the second worst coffee in the world, how come there is such a huge market for our shit coffee in places like Istanbul, Greece, Italy, etc? There's a Starbucks pretty much everywhere and I can confirm it ain't American expats drinkin all of it. So, clearly we don't have a corner on the 'shitty taste in coffee' genes.

You could say the same about McDonald's or KFC.

We are good at marketing.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:14 PM on July 13, 2010


I've only been drinking coffee for about 10 years but I still fondly remember the very day I got hooked.

I never understood why everyone made such a big deal out of needing/wanting coffee in the morning until I had my first job in IT. Normal support hours began at 7:30AM which was (not coincidentally) my usual ETA at the office. But every Tuesday the sysadmins had to be in the office by 6AM for server patches and reboots. You see, Microsoft didn't always issue patches only once a month...

Anyway, on the eve of my first 6AM server party, I asked one of the sysadmins if I needed to do anything to prepare before meeting him at o'dark-thirty on Tuesday (I was in college, it seemed hella early at the time). He said, "Bring a coffee mug if you don't already have one. You'll need it."

So I brought in this Coca-Cola-glass-shaped thermal mug (like so) from home that I had recently received as a gift from my mom (thanks Mom!). I distinctly remember watching everyone else pour and prepare their coffee while I waited with mug-in-hand, not sure if I should add some sugar or some half-and-half or just drink it black or what. One of the other sysadmins noticed my timid approach to the coffee pot and recommended that I start with training wheels - two sugars and some cream. So I did.

And I took that first sip and I thought, "Hey, that's not bad. Actually, that tastes pretty good." And I continued to sip as we patched and rebooted servers for the next hour or so and I could feel my eyes opening wider and my energy level quickly rising and I was getting warm on the inside and wow I could get used to this whole coffee in the morning thing and hey guys are we done yet? what are we doing next? am I talking fast? it feels like I'm talking fast OMG this stuff is great I gotta get some more!!! And so on. The training wheels came off within a few weeks and soon I was wasn't just drinking coffee to wake up, I was in full-blown love with coffee.

I still work in IT and I still drink my coffee from that same mug everyday. Ever since that fateful morning, my work day cannot and does not begin without my mug being filled to the top with hot, delicious, steamy, beautiful, black coffee.
posted by theBigKahuna at 3:15 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


America has both Dogfish Head

Hi-5. Awesome beer.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:16 PM on July 13, 2010


THE CAFFEINE MAKE HIM BRAIN WORKING
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:21 PM on July 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


Gather round, kids, I want to show you this amazing caffeine delivery vehicle, don't mind the color, no uranium in there, shhhh, don't let anyone see this magic elixir...

Diet Mountain Dew.

I was visiting my buddy John W. in Austin a few years ago, and his best buddy Gary W. turned me onto the DMD, and it was all over. That shit doesn't have sugar, but fuck me if I can tell, it tastes like frikkin sugar. WTF, I know that shit glows, but damn if it isn't the best single caffeine jolt since, well, Jolt - which I have waaay too many stories about from over the years as a guerilla multimedia producer. Me and my old partner Bert Monroy, staying at David's Hotel on Geary, with the six pack of Jolt sitting outside on the chilly window ledge, first thing waking up, I reach out the window, grab a couple of cans of that nightmarish brew, give one to Bert, we'd both chug them and HOLY SHIT WE'RE AWAKE, TIME TO FINISH THAT DIRECTOR THING FOR PAUL BRAINARD.

It might be due to the fact that I don't touch coffee, worship tea, despise Liptons and am quite happy with loose-leaf passionfruit tea brewed in a teaball. With Stevia and lemon. Nectar of the gods. Coffee smells good, though, I'll give ya that.
posted by dbiedny at 3:23 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Diet Mountain Dew.

NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:25 PM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dude, the Circle K down the street from my office makes fresh coffee every half hour or so. It's surprisingly good. Even the House Blend ain't bad. I usually go with their Kona Blend (yeah right, I know) or French Roast.

I bought one of those plastic 32 ounce insulated mugs - they had them on sale for $1.99. Refills are 89 cents. For thirty-two ounces. I can't make coffee that cheaply at home. About half the time I don't finish the thing, and I love coffee.
posted by Xoebe at 3:26 PM on July 13, 2010


Oh, yeah, then there was the Testicle Festival road trip, when Chuck dumped a couple of packets of Kool Aid into a 64 oz. cup of regular Mountain Dew, that stuff could be used instead of gas in a pinch, and Farnham drops the whole damn thing on the floor of the spankin' new Lincoln rental. Looked like that scene in Pulp Fiction, with alien blood instead of bits of brain. But according to Chuck, that combo is the ultimate caffeine MIRV. Not that I've ever been brave enough to try it, mind you.
posted by dbiedny at 3:29 PM on July 13, 2010


at some point this year, I realized I was addicted to coffee. So I cut back. Then I started drinking a lot suddenly. I figure if you're going to be addict, you might as well enjoy those hills and valleys.
posted by new brand day at 3:35 PM on July 13, 2010


This post was worth the price of admission just for the article about caffeine naps. I had one of those this afternoon without even knowing it; I was asleep for ten minutes, tops (and probably not even fully asleep) and woke up feeling great. And now I know why!
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:37 PM on July 13, 2010


> And I loved Paris, not bashing it at all. Just think its coffee reputation is overhyped.

I just got back from Paris yesterday, and I'm seconding that. I mean, the coffee was good but not amazingly so. That said, I'm one of those people who likes the taste but mostly drinks coffee for the medicinal effect, so I'm not exactly an authority on the subject.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:41 PM on July 13, 2010


I like caffeine. Yes.

Damndest thing, though. I regularly drink way too many diet sodas and sugar-free energy drinks throughout my day, but a small cup of coffee will get me jittery like nothing. "Caffiendishly jittery", I think to myself. Breakfast tea does me the same way.

Still, I like caffeine. Yes.
posted by owtytrof at 3:55 PM on July 13, 2010


Hmm... yeah, coffee in France sucks. Speaking as an American, I need 20 oz. of coffee to start my day. That's my standard dosage. In France, I just couldn't get access to that kind of coffee - at least, not all at once. I'd have to get two or three, pour them into a nalgene bottle like some kind of freak, and only then would I start to feel awake. Need big coffee. French coffees were teeny little coffee vitamins.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:05 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've been trying to wean myself off caffeine lately. My husband (who admittedly masses 1 1/2x to 2x what I do) was drinking somewhere close to a six-pack of diet Dr. Pepper a day, and I was drinking 2-3. We both went cold turkey; he was fine with it but OMG it was killing me. I never drank coffee, and despite growing up in the western end of the South, don't care for iced tea. I'm going to have to learn to drink flavored ice tea, which will probably be sun tea, to get caffeine when I need it, because the Red Bull I'm using to taper off is only tolerable in small quantities.

I don't miss the soda, but dayum I could live without having a caffeine headache for weeks on end.
posted by immlass at 4:07 PM on July 13, 2010


I was expecting the link to be something like this.
posted by Evilspork at 4:15 PM on July 13, 2010


I find that article extremely suspect, since most of its conclusions don't match my experiences. For me, caffeine is the most dangerous thing you can put in the body. (Other than, you know, actual poisons.) The only thing I've tried that even comes close is conjugated linoleic acid, which screws up your insulin sensitivity, and that took about a month to turn me into a rage monster. A caffeine overdose can do it in a single day.

The university years were the darkest time of my life, because I felt like I was completely out of control, falling down a hole into red tinged oblivion, and nothing I could do, no amount of mad effort, would change that trajectory by one iota. My hair started to fall out and I began to get nightmares. (I still get the occasional nightmare that I'm back there, and it's such a relief to wake up and remember that it's all over.) What I didn't realize at the time was that my coffee habit was one of the major factors that led to constant emotional overload. I'd get to HUB mall at 5:00 AM and study for an hour or two, then the coffee shop would open and I'd chug down two expressos, with maybe one or two regular coffees after that. (Get three stamps on your card and the fourth cup is free! Hey why not?) Then I felt wired and ready to face the day, except that I really wasn't.

Too much caffeine, especially in coffee form, would amplify my emotions to an absurd degree, and tilt everything towards the negative. It was like having a three hundred pound drill sergeant constantly screaming in my ear. YOU'RE TOO SLOW! EVERYONE HATES YOU AND YOU'RE GOING TO FAIL! SPEED UP! SPEED UP! So I'd go faster and faster, but I couldn't concentrate. I'd read the same page in the textbook over and over, but it never made sense. I couldn't remember anything. I had to piss all the time, and I was so conscious of everyone staring at me. It felt like I was constantly being judged, and that made me furious. Paranoia, terror and rage, all the time.

After graduation I stopped drinking coffee and my emotions went back to normal. Once in awhile, though, my friend and I would go to the coffee shop and hang out. Nursing a single cup for three hours and playing chess was fun. Then one day we did a tour of a bunch of shops and I think I had about four cups of dark coffee at places like Starbucks, where the caffeine quotient is quite high. Then on the way home, I experienced caffeine intoxication. It was a terrifying and humiliating experience to have in public, but after it was over a lot of things about my life finally made sense. Now I knew why those university years were so manic and angry. Coffee had taken a bad situation and heightened everything!

Today I still drink caffeine, because the energy boost and wakefulness it gives is so seductive, but I've learned to use it in moderation. Energy drinks are better than coffee because the synthetic caffeine in them seems to have fewer side effects, and maybe most importantly, they partner caffeine with it's magic oppositional twin: Taurine. Caffeine provides the energy, and Taurine calms things down. So one energy drink in the morning (no caffeine after noon), seems to work quite well, taming the monster, while still allowing for maximum productivity.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:26 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Evil Starbucks and your crappy coffee redolent of dirty feet and rubber tires....

I enjoy a well brewed mug or two of diner coffee on the weekend, and get my caffeine fix from chai tea the rest of the week. Or chai rooibos, whatever. It's all about the flavour and the ritual for me, not the caffeine.
posted by Go Banana at 4:35 PM on July 13, 2010


Speaking of too much caffeine... my friend and I decided to try some heavy no-doz tripping.

It was mint flavored (all we could find).

I had 14 no-doz, he had 12. I was so so so very sick. I wanted to sleep off the horrible pain and stiffness and nausea, but... I couldn't cuz I was fucking caffeinated!

He, on the other hand was high as a kite, said he felt like he was floating, wrote abstract poetry and was excited.

I tend to get sleepy after ephedrine, ritalin and too much caffeine. Do I have ADD?

Also, some of you guys who just can't seem to get awake in the morning, I'd highly reiterate some of the recommends to get checked out for sleep apnea. Not only can it help you feel better, but it can save your fucking life (I was tested once, and they said I didn't have it, though my girlfriend at the time insisted I had it -- got tested a couple years later, and they said it was pretty severe). I know a guy who died from it, so please, if you have insurance and can get it taken care of, do get it checked out. My boss had it, and before he got his CPAP, he was an angry horrible terrible bear of a man. Now he's only cranky sometimes. But the difference was amazing. You may find a massive change in your own life if you do get tested.

/end PSA for sleep apnea and not OD'in on nodoz
posted by symbioid at 4:37 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


If America has the second worst coffee in the world, how come there is such a huge market for our shit coffee in places like Istanbul, Greece, Italy, etc?

There is no Starbucks in Italy. Maybe some trendy knock-off shit in Milan, but the bar culture (aka café) is too ingrained for Starbucks to be viable. Even a lousy cappuccino at the airport bar beats the everliving pants off of a freaking "venti" whatever.

Protip for Starbucks: an inch of foam is about 7/8's too much. And keep your frigging cacao to yourselves unless asked.
posted by romakimmy at 4:40 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I forgot to mention that I absolutely love coffee. I was just thinking it but I was thinking it so loud I assumed everyone could hear me.
posted by clockzero at 4:46 PM on July 13, 2010


All that said, I have an excellent reason to drink Starbucks coffee: I like it.
posted by found missing at 4:49 PM on July 13, 2010


When I read the post title I thought the article would say something like "causes explosive brain tumors" and I'd have to switch to caffeine-free Mr. Pibb. So thanks for that, I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:31 PM on July 13, 2010


They call me MR. PIBBS
posted by The Whelk at 5:34 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


mccarty.tim: "Is it really fair to say a country has the worst or best of something? I mean, consider that America has both Dogfish Head and Natural Ice beer for sale."

You've just explained American education in two sentences.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 5:48 PM on July 13, 2010


Starbucks raised the standards of general coffee drinking in Canada by about 1000%, starting about 1989, with the first stores that opened in Vancouver. If they are not up to snuff now (for some folks), they are a victim of their own success. This is one reason that I wish the policemen wearing black balaclavas and anarchy symbols would pick some other targets at WTO meetings.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 6:30 PM on July 13, 2010


In the US you will get something slightly brownish and bitterish that tastes almost, but not quite, entirely unlike coffee.

Huh. I rarely have this problem. Go to better restaurants?
posted by desuetude at 6:47 PM on July 13, 2010


If you think that the United States has bad coffee, please come to Portland and get a nice cup of Stumptown or something. We love it out here, and life is just too short for bad coffee.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 6:52 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


It seems like, given that the technology to make coffee and all manner of coffee beans are available pretty much independent of where you live, the onerous to make a good cup of coffee is on the consumer.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:06 PM on July 13, 2010


At one time in my youth I was up to 12 cups of coffee a day, a horrendous habit.

When I began to cut back I of course experienced the inevitable withdrawal headaches, but I persisted. Eventually I quit for a while altogether.

So how did I wake up in the morning? With a huge glass of unsweetened grapefruit juice. For me at least that tart flavour really forced my eyes open.
posted by bwg at 7:07 PM on July 13, 2010


Yeah, in England you can just get your own grinder and machine/ press and do it yourself with a bit of help from the Internet. There are cheaper options available to those on a budget as well, and you can probably get set up for a good few years with £60-80.
posted by WalterMitty at 8:08 PM on July 13, 2010


Dude, the Circle K down the street from my office makes fresh coffee every half hour or so.

Drip coffee does not count.
posted by Wantok at 8:13 PM on July 13, 2010


I think one of the best things I loved about Italy when I went on vacation there was the easy availability of pretty good coffee no matter where you were - you could just pop down to the nearest dingy little cafe and they'd get you an espresso easy, no questions asked, just straight-up caffeine juice, pretty well-made too. Bliss. And for really cheap too - never more than €1.

The trains, not so much.

In the UK it was usually at least £1.20-£2 and it was usually pretty mediocre. I ended up getting a cheap grinder and a Bialetti stovetop. I never figured out how to make it well, but if I was going to have to drink bad coffee I'D DO IT MYSELF THANK YOU.
posted by WalterMitty at 8:13 PM on July 13, 2010


Shit works, that's all I care about.
posted by PuppyCat at 8:22 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Lifehacker post seems a bit Pepsi Blue-ish WRT the book.
That book was pretty great when I read it twelve years ago. Not all public praise has a marketroid behind it.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 8:53 PM on July 13, 2010


loard, if starbucks is your standard for what's good in coffee, oy! not to be nationalistic or anything but some of the best coffee in the world comes from Puerto Rico.

we still have a very strong café culture although some of the best are just "dos deditos de café" at your local panadería. seriously.

just walk into any panadería in Puerto Rico and as for café con leche or café puya (espresso, no sugar). even better, go to a Plaza de Mercado so you can get certified local grown coffee not just to drink but to brew at home.
posted by liza at 9:23 PM on July 13, 2010


I think one of the best things I loved about Italy when I went on vacation there was the easy availability of pretty good coffee no matter where you were

Exactly. Im my experience at least 90% of coffee in every country I've visited is undrinkable swill. In Italy you could get a pretty reasonable espresso pretty much anywhere, maybe not all superb, but at least decent. The 90% of the rest of the world needs to improve a lot of things, but just the utter basics of espresso extraction would be a decent start, we'll work on bean quality and roast from there.
posted by markr at 9:51 PM on July 13, 2010


You can walk into almost any shop in Italy or Portugal and get a decent espresso. Mainly because those are two strong espresso cultures where espressos are the norm. In fact, if you ask for a "cafe", you will get what the rest of the world calls a shot of espresso.

Those are the only reliable Western countries I have visited. The French and the Spaniards are too in love with their au laits and cafe con leches which makes it easier to hide a bad shot.

The UK and the US are equally horrendous - in terms of your average place. That is not to say that there aren't regional exceptions. Yes, you can get great coffee in San Francisco or Portland for example, but that is a tiny part of the country. And in the UK, there is great coffee to be found in London. But you have to have done your research beforehand.
posted by vacapinta at 2:59 AM on July 14, 2010


I wish I liked coffee. It would make life so much easier! No more having to respond to 'YOU DON'T DRINK COFFEE?!' from everyone I've ever met, no more awkward answers to 'Hey, do you wanna grab a coffee?' Every now and then I think, 'OK, self, time to be an adult, try some coffee, maybe this time you'll like it.' But I just can't make myself like the taste. (I am kind of a picky eater as well.)

Tea, however.. It never really occurred to me that people drink tea like they drink coffee until I went to England. I had the whole (totally incorrect) stereotype of tea being something old ladies drink in my head. When I first got to the UK, people kept offering me cups of tea and I didn't like tea, but I didn't want to be rude so I always accepted. Eventually I had drank so much of it that it just grew on me or something and now I love it.

That said, I never got really into drinking tea until I was served Yorkshire Tea by a friend one time. Yorkshire Tea is AWESOME. After that I started buying tea and making it on my own. A while after that I moved in with Yorkshire Tea boy and got used to drinking 8-10 cups a day.

Nowadays I drink maybe 3-4 cups a day but I absolutely need a cup in the morning or I am dead. When I'm working, though, I drink tea almost constantly throughout the day. Like chain smoking, but with cups of tea.

And it makes me sad that almost no one in this country (the US) has electric kettles, and also that I have to search for my Yorkshire Tea. I found a place that had it, but recently they stopped stocking Yorkshire Gold, and now they only have boxes of 20 teabags. Yeah, very useful, I'll use that up in 2 or 3 days. Grr.

Oh, also, the best tea I've ever tasted is Fortnum and Mason's tea, but it's damn expensive, and I've never seen it for sale in the US at all, sadly.
posted by Put the kettle on at 12:17 PM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a British grocery store on Greenwich Ave here in NYC that sales (super marked up!) F&M tea, but every farmer's market Ive been too has had at least one person selling loose tea or spices.
posted by The Whelk at 12:22 PM on July 14, 2010


Or, vacapinta, you could just go to Cafe Nero.

In London anyway, it's pretty variable everywhere else.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 2:07 PM on July 14, 2010


Cafe Nero, where people who bitch about Starbucks should go if they want something real to complain about.
posted by Artw at 2:09 PM on July 14, 2010


And it makes me sad that almost no one in this country (the US) has electric kettles

Oddly, everyone in Canada has one even though we have the same anemic 1800W maximum as Americans do versus the 3000W or whatever that the British get in theirs.
posted by GuyZero at 2:24 PM on July 14, 2010


Man, I should get some kind of kettle that plugs into the big chunky appliance plug the dishwasher plugs into.
posted by Artw at 2:27 PM on July 14, 2010


Unless you have a special dishwasher, most US dishwashers plug into a standard outlet.

Now, a kettle on your dryer outlet gets like 20A at 240V which would fix your tea up right fast assuming the whole thing didn't melt.
posted by GuyZero at 2:30 PM on July 14, 2010


Oddly, everyone in Canada has one even though we have the same anemic 1800W maximum as Americans do versus the 3000W or whatever that the British get in theirs.

Canada has gay marriage, state health care, and kettles?! Man, those guys get everything.
posted by Put the kettle on at 2:30 PM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kettles, like dry humour, are something any American could get but they all choose not to.
posted by GuyZero at 2:32 PM on July 14, 2010


and also that I have to search for my Yorkshire Tea. I found a place that had it, but recently they stopped stocking Yorkshire Gold, and now they only have boxes of 20 teabags.

If you can buy Lancashire tea it's a damn fine replacement, just brew it for a half minute longer. Google says they export it to North America but I can't find where might sell it.
posted by shinybaum at 2:37 PM on July 14, 2010


I not only am one of the poor souls that can take an hour to boot up in the morning, but I'm also unable to drink/eat heavy doses of caffeine. A cup of black tea, with milk, is pleasant. Regular coffee causes my heart to start beating rapidly, sweating followed by running to the bathroom and making unpleasant noises. Also, if I'm fatigued to begin with, my hands will hurt. Boo.
posted by Phalene at 3:39 PM on July 14, 2010


Put the kettle on And it makes me sad that almost no one in this country (the US) has electric kettles, and also that I have to search for my Yorkshire Tea. I found a place that had it, but recently they stopped stocking Yorkshire Gold, and now they only have boxes of 20 teabags. Yeah, very useful, I'll use that up in 2 or 3 days. Grr.

Amazon has it in pretty much any quantity you could want. I don't have any trouble finding it locally, but I'm around the Bay Area.

Electric kettles seem to be pretty common in American households where the residents are descended from immigrant tea drinkers. I've never lived in a house without a kettle. Although, a gas stove produces better results.

Also, for some reason, there are a lot of physicists and mathematicians who prefer tea to coffee and keep little electric kettles in the office. At least four times, I've shown up to a new office I'm sharing, brandishing my kettle like a blazon and saying "if either of you drink tea—" only to see both of the others proudly fish up their own from behind a monitor.
posted by hat at 3:50 PM on July 14, 2010


I live with a dyed in the yorkshire wool Brit and we have a kettle and teapot, but usually end up drinking coffee at home cause it's Easier. Although he's got some strange electric kettle-tea-ball setup in the office and is slowly turning all his office into tea fiends by hording the supply of *good* leaves.
posted by The Whelk at 5:16 PM on July 14, 2010


Seriously, Artw? I've converted one Austrian nurse, who takes her coffee extremely seriously and a couple of Starbucks addicts to Cafe Nero. The London ones are always full of Italians too, who probably know what they're talking about.

As I say this doesn't apply to branches outside of London, which are generally comparable to Costa, neither does it compare to many wonderful independent places.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 7:09 PM on July 14, 2010


My parents used to take me out to Perkins with their friends now and again, and invariably after dinner all the adults would order mugs of coffee. My pre-teen self, still in the stage where parents are awesome, wanted in on this sophisticated grown-up ritual, so they'd furnish me with a mug with one part coffee and like twenty parts milk. I don't remember the caffeine having a profound effect on me, but some twenty years later and I'm a short man whose brain won't boot properly without at least 50mg of sweet caffeine.
posted by maus at 11:39 AM on July 15, 2010


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