Beavis and Butthead fans will know that Beavis becomes the Great Cornholio when given caffeine. Those whose education is lacking in this department might want to quickly revise this piece of historic American heritage.
I have made the mistake, in the past, of firing up the espresso machine late at night and even attempts to lie down in the dark mean nothing after that. Now I restrict my espresso intake to, at the latest, early evening and am almost approaching normal people's hours. It does have an effect. That's undeniable.
I was not aware that pregnant women were advised not to drink too much caffeine. Perhaps that's not much of a surprise because it involves 'woman' and 'pregnant' and I have never knowingly been either. It seems they are indeed so advised, probably because their child risks being born with its caul pulled over its head and demanding T-P for its bunghole. A hyperactive newborn must be a terrible thing to behold and having given up caffeine completely once, I know there are real withdrawal effects which I have never experienced with smoking withdrawal. You wouldn't want a wide-awake high-speed newborn with a coffee habit.
Put me in an airport departure lounge, tell me the plane is delayed four hours and I can't smoke, and I'm okay. Tell me there's no caffeine and someone is going to lose body parts.
I like espresso. I don't currently have a working filter-coffee machine and if I get another one, it'll be cheap. My espresso machine is a Gaggia. No half measures for that one.
Some things in that article seemed odd to me. Not this part -
Researchers from Glasgow University
bought single-shot espressos from 20 coffee shops in the city and
measured their caffeine content.
This is perfectly normal behaviour for scientists. Coffee is an important part of the scientific process and naturally we all want to know where to get the best stuff. The stuff that lets the day zoom by and might even, if we drink enough, let us live fast enough to exceed the speed of light and go back in time.
However, it occurred to me that if pregnant women were advised to limit their caffeine, then pregnant women would not be very likely to order espresso. That's like telling a beer drinker to cut down on alcohol so they switch to whisky.
The article helpfully points out that Starbuck's is low-octane diesel espresso and that the real hard stuff is to be found at a place called Patisserie Francoise, which I have never seen. It probably vibrates so fast it's just a blur.
Not a big surprise in the name there. I once spent a week in Marseille (in which I was mistaken for a hired killer, but more of that another time) and when I came home I could not find coffee strong enough.Caffeine appears to have no effect on the French at all unless they are all comatose without it.
The story has its call for regulation that all scientists have to demand now in order to get further grants, and its nonsense aspect too.
A study of other coffees such as lattes
and cappuccinos is also warranted, he said, as they are often made from
an even stronger espresso base. He added: ‘There is every possibility
this applies to all coffee shop coffees and not just espresso and not
just in Glasgow.’
No, those lattes and cappuccinos are made with exactly the same espresso base. My machine has the milk-foaming spout and the coffee that goes in is the same (except mine is permanently set up for 'doppio'). It's just diluted into a pint mug's worth. If you drink a whole cardboard vat of coffee made by one of these shops it contains the same amount of caffeine as the espresso. The espresso is just a way of mainlining coffee without the foamy milk and the bursting urge to pee later.
But there was also a horrifying aspect to this story:
A spokesman for Starbucks said: ‘It is
nothing new that caffeine is bad for pregnant women. We offer
decaffeinated espressos in our stores.
AAAAAAAHHHH! Unleaded espresso? What? What? Have we crossed into the Twilight Zone or something? Everyone knows espresso is the final destination of those who start on the Nescafe gateway drugs. We've already seen alcohol-free whisky and beer. We all have taps in the kitchen dispensing alcohol-free vodka. Almost nicotine-free smokes (remember Consulate and More?) and smoke-free nicotine in Electrofag.
What next? Drug-free cocaine? Carless driving? Trains with no rails? Come on. Decaff espresso is missing the point to the extent where the point is the size of a barn door and a sniper is aiming at it. It should be a point impossible to miss.
If you are advised to cut back on caffeine, don't drink espresso because nothing screams 'Concentrated Wakey Water' like a tiny cup with what appears to be an oil distillation residue in the bottom. It's not rocket science although most rocket scientists are fuelled by this stuff. Their mothers probably were too. The Italians designed Ferrari and Bugatti cars really fast while we British tea-drinkers were drawing Austin 1100's. A good espresso machine could have saved Vauxhall. Just imagine the Astra on speed.
Patisserie Francoise was
unable to comment.
Well, no, they were too busy demanding T-P while grinning, gibbering and trembling.
Next time I'm in Glasgow, save me a seat in Patisserie Francoise. That's where the single-malt espresso lives.
Oh. And stand clear. I am Cornholio.