Mmmm, coffee
October 6, 2009 4:23 PM   Subscribe

Time for the morning jolt delivered by the dark nectar of the gods? Ok fine, but shouldn't you know what's in that cup of coffee?
posted by Brandon Blatcher (57 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I already know what's in that cup: Pure satisfaction.
posted by lekvar at 4:25 PM on October 6, 2009


I've been looking for some natural coffee soap with grounds in the bar for exfoliation if anyone ventures in here knowing where to look...
posted by sunshinesky at 4:30 PM on October 6, 2009


The very existence of something called putrescine makes me happy.
posted by darksasami at 4:34 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah this article... it makes it seem like a coffee is a bad thing.
posted by lyam at 4:35 PM on October 6, 2009


I've been looking for some natural coffee soap with grounds in the bar for exfoliation if anyone ventures in here knowing where to look...

I made a batch of exactly that last year to give to friends/relatives. It's really not too hard to make your own. The only real difficulty I had was the smell from rendering 2-3 lbs of beef fat.
posted by logicpunk at 4:36 PM on October 6, 2009


I call it "liquid consciousness."
posted by entropicamericana at 4:36 PM on October 6, 2009


The elixir of life is what's in that cup.




And I'm not at all surprised that the elixir of life contains a flammable yellow liquid.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:37 PM on October 6, 2009


It could be 90% orphan tears and I would still drink it.
posted by diocletian at 4:39 PM on October 6, 2009 [26 favorites]


I've been looking for some natural coffee soap with grounds in the bar for exfoliation if anyone ventures in here knowing where to look...

Etsy.
posted by hindmost at 4:39 PM on October 6, 2009


Into every life a little putrescine must fall...
posted by Artw at 4:40 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't find a source, but I'm quite sure caffeine can't be absorbed in meaningful quantities through the skin. Otherwise we'd have a patch by now.
posted by phrontist at 4:46 PM on October 6, 2009


I'm SHOCKED there's goat piss in my 'go juice'.



No really, I am.
posted by mazola at 4:50 PM on October 6, 2009


The wikipedia article for 'putrescine' links to an even more hilariously titled compound called cadaverine.
posted by invitapriore at 4:56 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia is silent on whether this one smells like spooge.
posted by Artw at 5:05 PM on October 6, 2009


(Unless "Stimulates T4 polynucleotide kinase activity" is scientist for "smells like spooge")
posted by Artw at 5:05 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ptomaines like putrescine are produced when E. coli bacteria in the meat break down amino acids.

There is so much wrong with this statement, that I'm now questioning whether coffee contains water or caffeine.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:18 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Believe it or not, all food is made out of chemicals. Chemicals!!
posted by exogenous at 5:22 PM on October 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


To recap. Coffee:

Pros:
All the awesome of caffeine.
Helps prevent flu.
Provides antioxidants.
Fights cavities.
Has tons of Vitamin B3.
Tastes like butter.

Cons:
Has small amounts of a chemical that smells like poop.

Miscellaneous:
Warns cockroaches of danger.

Seriously, I'm not seeing a whole lot of downside here.
posted by oddman at 5:34 PM on October 6, 2009 [21 favorites]


Gee, Wired... fearmonger much?
posted by odinsdream at 5:55 PM on October 6, 2009


Cons: reflux.
posted by crapmatic at 6:16 PM on October 6, 2009


So which component makes one... drop the kids off at the pool, so to speak? That's my faaaaaaavorite part. (After the aroma and the flavor.)
(Of the coffee.)

posted by heyho at 6:24 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mmm....coffee.
posted by drinkcoffee at 6:31 PM on October 6, 2009


What does my morning jolt from the dark nectar of the gods have to do with coffee?!
posted by not_on_display at 7:01 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Too late. I'm an unrepentant, dyed-in-the-wool Coffee Achiever.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:38 PM on October 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ptomaines like putrescine are produced when E. coli bacteria in the meat break down amino acids.

There is so much wrong with this statement, that I'm now questioning whether coffee contains water or caffeine.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:18 PM on October 6 [+] [!]


Kid Charlemagne, can you elaborate for a layman? I don't have the understanding to figure out the implications of the document you linked to, but I'm intrigued.
posted by dubitable at 7:39 PM on October 6, 2009


So which component makes one... drop the kids off at the pool, so to speak?

That'd be the caffeine. Also, a good healthy dose of the placebo effect.
posted by explosion at 7:42 PM on October 6, 2009


Theobromine is a metabolite of caffeine

in humans
posted by clockzero at 7:45 PM on October 6, 2009


Why yes, it is now and ever shall be a fine time for a cup of the brew, and damn rights myself and I'd say everyone should know what's in it. Shame these links barely attempt to scratch the surface of what is in my mind a comestible with the broad significance and intricacy comparable to any realm of snobbery or refinement - wines, cheeses, etc. I'm more reacting against the pseudo-scientific chemical enumeration of an arbitrary assemblage of the components of coffee, rather than your instincts in putting together the post, Brandon. It just reminds me of anti-smoking ads, with a subtly moralizing list of scary sounding molecules, or those stickers on fruit like, it's got magnesium! Great, where's the context! Food science, the way broad chemical families unite the variety of flavours we like to put in our mouths within an underlying structure of identical overlapping chemical-tastes, I love this sort of thing. And having worked in and glimpsed into the quality coffee industry, I know that this kind of science exists and has some degree of publication. Exists, but I don't know where, and I'd love to see some decent discussion of it on these wide old internets.
posted by kaspen at 8:04 PM on October 6, 2009


Scary chemical time: Coffee also contains Cafestol, the most potent cholesterol increasing drug in the human diet! It's a pretty big molecule and can be mostly removed by paper filters, so is mostly present in french press and espresso style extractions, lending an added dangerous je-ne-sais-quoi to these old-world coffee styles.
posted by kaspen at 8:10 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I call it "liquid consciousness."

I cut back from 3-4 cups of coffee a day to 0-1 and found that I have more energy, alertness, and mental cohesion. A little goes a further than a lot.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:35 PM on October 6, 2009


Only six hours till my next cup!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:50 PM on October 6, 2009


... and just a hint of guilt.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:02 PM on October 6, 2009


Nectar? I hardly kissed her.

It's 9 p.m. but this thread made me fire up my burr grinder and drip a strong, half-cup of Oso Negro Princess of Darkness. Awesome.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:03 PM on October 6, 2009


Ok fine, but shouldn't you know what's in that cup of coffee?

no, you shouldn't know what's in anything, even you - especially YOU

i mean, do you want to be happy or do you want to know what's in stuff?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:10 PM on October 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


One nice thing about caffeine is that it's a hair growth stimulant which seems to block DHT when applied topically (this is debated), so I usually throw some into my shampoo in the morning. (PureBulk has decent prices for those interested in pure caffeine). And, regardless of hair growth, it does work to wake you up in for the day ahead.
posted by Auden at 10:48 PM on October 6, 2009


I'm with pyramid termite on this one.
posted by !Jim at 10:54 PM on October 6, 2009


The whole purpose of caffeine is to make you poo. That's why it's in coffee beans: birds and other animals eat the sweet red berries, and as the seeds travel through their guts, the caffeine leaches out and stimulates peristalsis, causing the seeds to be pooed out before they can be digested. And thus the coffee plant spreads far and wide. Any other effects are purely coincidental.

And speaking of poo, has anyone mentioned Kopi Luwak yet?
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:59 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Another nice thing about coffee is that worms really like the grounds. Which may not be a big deal to most people, but to those us us into vermiculture, it's a nice benny.
posted by happyroach at 1:57 AM on October 7, 2009


2-Ethylphenol: Creates a tarlike, medicinal odor in your morning wake-up. It's also a component of cockroach alarm pheromones, chemical signals that warn the colony of danger.

Finally, I understand why everyone in my office scurries away and hides from me in the morning.
posted by rokusan at 3:24 AM on October 7, 2009


Well, that's me back to petrol sniffing
posted by mattoxic at 4:03 AM on October 7, 2009


Kid Charlemagne, can you elaborate for a layman? I don't have the understanding to figure out the implications of the document you linked to, but I'm intrigued.

Any time anyone starts blaming anything on E. coli I immediately start questioning whether or not they know what they're talking about. Usually it's wild extrapolation of the habits of O157:H7 to all types of E. coli

A normal healthy person has about ten trillion little passengers in their intestines - or, as Shellycat pointed out the other day, you contain about twice as many bacterial cells as human cells. The good news is that they're not just freeloading down there. They make vitamins (K and Biotin), help with digestion, and tend to displace whatever pathogenic strains come down the pike. You'd miss them if they were gone - until some pathogen took up residence and killed you.

Now, experimental evidence (Charlemagne, Kid; McDonald, Ronald, et al.) suggests that the combination of meat and E. coli in one's digestive tract does not result in sudden, painful death. A quick Googling of Ptomaines suggests that blaming them for food poisoning is a lot like blaming malaria on bad smells.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:48 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ever notice how often people refer to their coffee as "my coffee?" But nobody goes around saying "I'm drinking my water" or "shut the fuck up motherfucker, I'm havin' my Sunny Delight!"

Putrescine would be a great name for a female villain.
posted by applemeat at 5:05 AM on October 7, 2009


Miscellaneous:
Warns cockroaches of danger.

If by miscellaneous you mean awesome because cockroaches should stay the fuck away from my coffee cups then yes
posted by kathrineg at 5:12 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Trigonelline is unstable above 160 degrees F; the methyl group detaches, unleashing the niacin—vitamin B3—into your cup. Two or three espressos can provide half your recommended daily allowance.

Niacin?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
posted by kathrineg at 5:13 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


A quick Googling of Ptomaines suggests that blaming them for food poisoning is a lot like blaming malaria on bad smells

It always brings a smile to my face when I encounter people who know their history.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:28 AM on October 7, 2009


Brought to you by "Wired".

You know what's not a good topic to go after? Coffee. If they want to take on a scourge I nominate Two and a Half Men.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:42 AM on October 7, 2009


Wow, and all this time I thought my poop smelled like coffee. How ever did the human race survive before discovering coffee? Oh, maybe the predators didn't mess with itchy bitchy hairy freaks running around all constipated, with a mean scowl on their faces.
posted by Goofyy at 6:47 AM on October 7, 2009


They're trying to get everyone onto Jolt. It's a homage to their 90s roots.
posted by Artw at 6:52 AM on October 7, 2009


Phrontist, there is a caffeine patch. Sort of.

Drinking my caramel vanilla roast, with skim milk and three Splendas(TM) now. Don't you judge me!
posted by JoanArkham at 7:07 AM on October 7, 2009


My very favorite thing in this life is to go to the coffee aisle of the supermarket and breathe that sweet sweet putrescine.
posted by amanzi at 7:27 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mmm, thanks for that Wired link, which led to a massive derail while I read all the "What's Inside..." articles. Almost as good as "How It's Made." ;]
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:35 AM on October 7, 2009


I've converted to making my coffee with Chemex, and while it's a longer, more labor-intensive and even somewhat maddening process, it's completely worth it--it's so much smoother.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:12 AM on October 7, 2009


What is that thing? Is it real, or a joke revolving around improvised coffee making using lab equipment?
posted by Artw at 11:26 AM on October 7, 2009


Jimmy Havok - I received a half pound of Kopi Luwak as a gift this week. We have had a few pots of it. Is it a really good cup of coffee? Yes. Can I tell a civet ate it first? No. One interesting thing, everyone who has had some at my house has commented on how jittery they were after a cup (and we are all serious many-cups-a-day coffee drinkers).
posted by chuke at 12:53 PM on October 7, 2009


Scary chemical time: Coffee also contains Cafestol, the most potent cholesterol increasing drug in the human diet! It's a pretty big molecule and can be mostly removed by paper filters, so is mostly present in french press and espresso style extractions, lending an added dangerous je-ne-sais-quoi to these old-world coffee styles.

I wouldn't worry about cafestol. As I said in an AskMe post a while back, there was a review paper (not sure if there's a paywall on that link or not) on the physiological effects of coffee consumption that concludes:

"From the data presented here, it is concluded that only heavy consumption (>6 cups/day) of boiled unfiltered coffee is harmful to the heart as a result of the dose-related plasma cholesterol and LDL increase due to the diterpene oils.... Polyphenols seem to be countering many of the negative effects of caffeine and diterpenes in the coffee studies..."
posted by Thoughtcrime at 2:36 PM on October 7, 2009


only heavy consumption (>6 cups/day) of boiled unfiltered coffee is harmful to the heart

Oh shiiiii....

/heart splodes
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on October 7, 2009


Chuke: somebody must like you, kopi luwak is pretty expensive. My gf used to work for a coffee roaster, and got a couple pounds, which is long gone, of course, as a gift from a distributor. At the time, she was quoted a wholesale price of about $100/lb.

I didn't find it to be any jitterier than normal coffee, but I thought the flavor was quite mild and smooth, without the acidity that is the strongest negative aspect of coffee for me. Not as nutty as Kona, but with a similar smoothness.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:29 PM on October 7, 2009


« Older Dumb inventions   |   "Shouldn't have had that 12th coffee, I can't even... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments