20/08

COFFEE!!!

By Geisha Bar

Coffee aka caffeine, aka blood of the gods, aka morning delight, is the second most traded commodity in the world and many people swear they can’t live without it. I’m easily able to cope without the stuff (it gives me headaches), so I stick to herbal teas which exempts me from being one of those whiny jerks who always wax on about not being able to function without their coffee in the morning.

So where did this stuff even come from and why is it so important to so many people? According to legend (which is probably completely fabricated), 9th century Ethiopian shepherds noticed their goats becoming frisky and hyper after eating coffee berries, and thus decided to follow suit. Coffee wasn’t imbibed, it was eaten – tribes throughout Africa would mix the coffee berries with animal fat, creating edible energy balls – y’know, for going to tribal bush doofs and the like.

After the African tweakers had been at it for awhile, the rest of the world slowly caught on. Ancient Arab culture stipulated that women were only allowed to legally divorce their husbands if the husband failed to provide his lady with enough coffee – I bet many people would like to resurrect that law!

Over in Western civilisation, the King of England decided that in 1675 it would be a good idea to ban coffee houses, because they were obviously places where people were meeting to conspire treason against him. Around the same time, women created the “Womens Petition Against Coffee” to ban coffee for all men under the age of 60 due to the idea that coffee was turning their men into “useless corpses”. What the??

Ludwig Van Beethoven was a real coffee hipster, having exactly 60 beans per cup when he made his coffee and the French philosopher Voltaire was said to have churned through 50 cups a day, and when you consider that the lethal dose is approximately 100 cups, Voltaire was definitely living on the edge. The world record for coffee consumption is 82 cups (or around 20 litres) in seven hours, and the dude didn’t die, so perhaps the currently-accepted lethal limit is a farce?

If you ever wondered where the term “cop of joe” originated, cast your mind no further back than 1939. American soldiers were well-known drinkers of coffee during World War II, therefore the name “cup of joe” is a reference to the nickname for a coffee-swillin’ US soldier – “GI Joe”.

Moving into modern times, the first webcam ever invented was done so purely to allow University of Cambridge computer scientists to see whether their shared coffee pot was full at any given time, without having to leave their desks. You’d think their caffeine addiciton would enable them the energy to just get up and walk over to it, but I guess I’m not complaining about the subsequent webcam technology that came from it!

Recently, researchers have been developing the use of coffee beans as fuel to replace fossil fuels in the future and have created a car named “Car-puccino” and according to the Daily Mail, “The car will be driven the 210 miles between Manchester and London powered only by roasted coffee granules. It has been built by a team from the BBC1 science programme Bang Goes The Theory and will go on display at the Big Bang science fair in Manchester to show how fuels other than conventional petrol and diesel can power vehicles.” The car gets around 1 mile for 56 shots of espresso, meaning that for “Car-puccino” to complete its 210 mile journey, it will need over 70kg of coffee!!

I hope it has ample boot space.