Reading in Progress: The World of Caffeine by Weinberg and Bealer

The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug - Bennett Alan Weinberg, Bonnie K. Bealer

It is 77 degrees in this second floor room, and earlier it hit 80 - partly because the heat rises upstairs and partly because it's freakishly warm here (Texas) today. However I am now drinking hot chocolate. I was going to blame this on all the snow photos and videos I've been watching - but the other reason is that reading this book has me constantly thinking about drinking coffee, tea and chocolate.


You know how there are always people who are VERY emphatic about certain foods which, as they see it, are either completely harmful to your health or the greatest thing since instant hot chocolate? (Er, bias warning there.) Throughout history, in multiple counties, there were people who were this way about coffee/tea/chocolate - and went to great extremes about the evil/good of the beverages. Which of course makes for fun history.


p 86, Frederick the Great was particularly down on coffee:

"...He accepted the verdict of German physicians that coffee was bad for the health, especially the medical warnings that coffee caused effeminacy in men and sterility in women."

Frederick had been brought up on "beer soup" and felt everyone else should also be drinking beer.


p 101, from the1659 translation of Leonhard Rauwolf's The Nature of the Drink Kauhi, of Coffee, and the Berry of which It Is Made, Described by an Arabian Physician:

"...Some drink it with milk, but it is an error, and such as may bring in danger of leprosy."

p 101, from the translation of Dr. Simon Pauli's work, A Treatise on Tobacco, Tea, Coffee, and Chocolate:

"Hence we may reasonably infer, that as Chocolate agrees with Coffee and Tea, all these three exactly agree with each other, in producing Effeminacy and Impotence... I hope to see People of all Ranks and Conditions have as great an Aversion to them as the Mahometans and Turks, or rather their Emperors have to Tobacco, the Lovers of which as well as those who are idle, prodigal, barren, impotent, or effeminate, they will not suffer to live within their Territories."

LOTS of worry that about the effeminate side effect.


p 101, also from Pauli, this specifically about tea:

"It hastens the death of those who drink it, especially if they have passed the age of forty years."

Meanwhile other doctors and authors claimed drinking tea would actually cause you to live longer.


p 102, about Dr. Cornelius Buntekuh or Cornelius Decker (1648-85; he's not in wikipedia!):

"...In a book published in 1679, Buntekuh advised drinking a minimum of ten cups of tea daily, and recommended building up to fifty, one hundred, or two hundred cups, amounts he frequently consumed himself. Based on a record that the company paid him a handsome honorarium in gratitude for the boost his advocacy gave to tea sales, it is said that Buntekuh may have initially been hired by the Dutch East India Company to write in praise and defense of tea."

I had to quote this bit about his name:

"...Because his father was an innkeeper under the sign of the "Bunte Kuh" or the "brindled cow," his neighbors dubbed him with the cognomen he later signed to his scientific monographs."

p 103:

"...Buntekuh's death at thirty-eight did not add credibility to his treatise Traktat van het Excellentie Cruyt Thee (1679), on the extension of human life by the use of tea, coffee, and chocolate, for he certainly was a man who took his own medicine. However, we must add for completeness' sake that he died not of ill health but by accident, falling down a darkened staircase while carrying books... A doubt remains however, if the chronic use of toxic doses of caffeine might not have created tremors, excitement, or even delirium that caused him to lose his footing. At the very least, we might assume he was critically sleep deprived at the time of his fall."

p 105, French doctors were very anti-coffee, feeling it was a dangerous drug.

"...Lurid stories about coffee poisoning abounded. When Jean Baptiste Colbert (1619-83), financier and statesman, died, it was whispered that his stomach had been corroded by coffee. According to another autopsy reveled that the princess of Hanau-Birkenfeld had hundreds of stomach ulcers, each filled with coffee grounds, and it was concluded that she died of coffee drinking."

None of that has kept me from wanting a nice cup of something hot!

Still looking for good hot cocoa quotes though.