Frequently Asked Questions about Coffee and Caffeine


Alejandro Lopez-Ortiz

This FAQ is dedicated to all beverages and products that contain caffeine; including tea, coffee, chocolate, mate, caffeinated soft drinks, caffeinated pills, coffee beans, etc.

There are several newsgroups in which these topics may be of reelevance, including but not limited to alt.drugs.caffeine,,,, etc. is preferred over and

1. The Chemistry of Caffeine and related products
  1. How much caffeine is there in [drink/food/pill]?
  2. How much caffeine there is in blend X?
  3. Chemically speaking, what is caffeine?
  4. Is it true that tea has no caffeine/What is theine, theobromine, etc?
  5. Where can I find a gif of the caffeine molecule?
  6. Is it true that espresso has less caffeine than regular coffee?
  7. How does caffeine taste?
  8. How much theobromine/theophylline there is in ...?
2. How to brew the ultimate caffeine drink?
  1. What is the best temperature for drip coffee?
  2. Quality of coffee
  3. Why you should never use percolators
3. Peripherals and Secondary Storage
  1. Proper care of Coffee makers...
  2. How to store coffee?
  3. Equipment reviews?
  4. What is a French Press/Cafetiere/Bodum?
4. Caffeine and your Health
  1. Caffeine Withdrawal
  2. What happens when you overdose?
  3. Effects of caffeine on pregnant women.
  4. Caffeine and Osteoporosis (Calcium loss)
  5. Studies on the side-effects of caffeine...
  6. Caffeine and depression.
  7. Caffeine and your metabolism.
5. Miscellaneous
  1. How do you pronounce mate?
  2. How do you spell Colombia/Colombian?
  3. How do you spell Espresso?
6. Coffee Recipes and other beverages.
  1. Espresso
  2. Chocolate covered espresso beans
  3. Cappuccino
  4. Frappe
  5. How to make your own chocolate
  6. How to make the best cup of coffee
  7. Turkish Coffee
  8. Irish Coffee
  9. Thai Iced Coffee
10. Vietnamese Iced Coffee
11. Melya
7. Administrivia
  1. List of Contributors
  2. Copyright

1. The Chemistry of Caffeine and related products

1. How much caffeine is there in [drink/food/pill]?

According to the National Soft Drink Association, the following is the caffeine content in mgs per 12 oz can of soda:

Afri-Cola 100.0 (?)
Jolt 71.2
Sugar-Free Mr. Pibb 58.8
Mountain Dew 55.0 (no caffeine in Canada)
Diet Mountain Dew 55.0
Mello Yellow 52.8
Tab 46.8
Coca-Cola 45.6
Diet Cola 45.6
Shasta Cola 44.4
Shasta Cherry Cola 44.4
Shasta Diet Cola 44.4
Mr. Pibb 40.8
OK Soda 40.5
Dr. Pepper 39.6
Pepsi Cola 37.2
Aspen 36.0
Diet Pepsi 35.4
RC Cola 36.0
Diet RC 36.0
Diet Rite 36.0
Canada Dry Cola 30.0
Canada Dry Diet Cola 1.2
7 Up 0

By means of comparison, a 7 oz cup of coffee has the following caffeine (mg) amounts, according to Bunker and McWilliams in J. Am. Diet. 74:28-32, 1979:

Espresso 100mg of caffeine
1 serving (1.5-2oz)

Brewed 80-135
Instant 65-100
Decaf, brewed 3-4
Decaf, instant2-3
Tea, iced (12 ozs.) 70
Tea, brewed, imported 60
Tea, brewed, U.S. 40
Tea, instant 30

The variability in the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee or tea is relatively large even if prepared by the same person using the same equipment and ingredients day after day.

Reference Variability in caffeine consumption from coffee and tea:
Possible significance for epidemiological studies by B. Stavric, R.
Klassen, B. Watkinson, K. Karpinski, R. Stapley, and P. Fried in
"Foundations of Chemical Toxicology", Volume 26, number 2, pp.
111-118, 1988 and an easy to read overview, Looking for the Perfect
Brew by S. Eisenberg, "Science News", Volume 133, April 16, 1988, pp.

According to Maxwell House at 1-800-432-6333 (USA only), the cappio
caffeine content per 8oz bottle is as follows:

Coffee 100mg
Mocha 90mg
Cinnamon 85mg
Vanilla 90mg

Quote from the lab manual:

Caffeine is present in tea leaves and in coffee to the
extent of about 4%. Tea also contains two other alkaloids,
theobromine and theophylline. These last two relax the
smooth muscles where caffeine stimulates the heart and
respiratory systems.

The effects of theobromine are, compared to caffeine and
theophylline, relatively moderate. However, cocoa contains eight
times more theophylline than caffeine. As well, caffeine has been
shown to combine with other substances for added potency. Thus the
effects of theobromine might be enhanced by the caffeine in

Theobromine is highly toxic to dogs and kills many canids/year via
chocolate poisoning. It takes quite a dose to reach fatal levels
(more than 200 mg/kg bodyweight) but some dogs have a bad habit of
eating out of garbage cans and some owners have a bad habit of
feeding dogs candy. A few oreos won't hurt a dog, but a pound of
chocolate can do considerable damage.

Clinical signs of theobromine toxicity in canids usually manifest 8
hours after ingestion and can include: thirst, vomiting, diarrhea,
urinary incontinence, nervousness, clonic muscle spasms, seizures and
coma. Any dog thought to have ingested a large quantity of chocolate
should be brought to an emergency clinic asap, where treatment
usually includes the use of emetics and activated charcoal. The dog
will thus need to be monitored to maintain proper fluid and
electrolyte balance.

Pathogenesis of theobromine toxicity: evidently large quantities of
theobromine have a diuretic effect, relax smooth muscles, and
stimulate the heart and cns.


Fraser, Clarence M., et al, eds. The Merck Veterinary Manual, 7th ed.
Rahway, NJ: Merck & Co., Inc. 1991. pp. 1643-44.

On humans caffeine acts particularly on the brain and skeletal
muscles while theophylline targets heart, bronchia, and kidneys.

Other data on caffeine:

Cup of coffee 90-150mg
Instant coffee 60-80mg
Tea 30-70mg
Mate 25-150mg
Cola 30-45mg
Chocolate bar 30mg
Stay-awake pill 100mg
Cold relief tablet 30mg

The following information is from Bowes and Church's Food values of
portions commonly used, by Anna De Planter Bowes. Lippincott, Phila. 1989.
Pages 261-2: Caffeine.


Chocolate mg caffeine
baking choc, unsweetened, Bakers--1 oz(28 g) 25
german sweet, Bakers -- 1 oz (28 g) 8
semi-sweet, Bakers -- 1 oz (28 g) 13

Choc chips
Bakers -- 1/4 cup (43 g) 13
german sweet, Bakers -- 1/4 cup (43 g) 15

Chocolate bar, Cadbury -- 1 oz (28 g) 15
Chocolate milk 8oz 8

Jello Pudding Pops, Choc (47 g) 2
Choc mousse from Jell-O mix (95 g) 6
Jello choc fudge mousse (86 g) 12

3 heaping teaspoons of choc powder mix8
2 tablespoons choc syrup 5
1 envelope hot cocoa mix 5

Dietary formulas
ensure, plus, choc, Ross Labs -- 8 oz (259 g) 10
Cadbury Milk Chocolate Bar

More stuff:

Guarana "Magic Power" (quite common in Germany),
15 ml alcohol with
5g Guarana Seeds 250.0 mg
Guarana capsules with
500 mg G. seeds25.0 mg / capsule

(assuming 5% caffeine in seeds as stated in literature)

Guarana soda pop is ubiquitous in Brazil and often available at tropical
groceries here. It's really tasty and packs a wallop. Guarana wakes you up
like crazy, but it doesn't cause coffee jitters.

It is possible that in addition to caffeine, there is some other substance
in guarana that also produces an effect, since it 'feels' different than
coffee. Same goes for mate.

2. How much caffeine there is in blend X?

Caffeine Content in beans and blends

(Source: Newsletter--Mountanos Bros. Coffee Co., San Francisco)

Brazil Bourbons 1.20%
Celebes Kalossi 1.22
Colombia Excelso 1.37
Colombia Supremo 1.37
Costa Rica Tarrazu 1.35
Ethiopian Harrar-Moka 1.13
Guatemala Antigua 1.32
Indian Mysore 1.37
Jamaican Blue Mtn/Wallensford Estate 1.24
Java Estate Kuyumas 1.20
Kenya AA 1.36
Kona Extra Prime 1.32
Mexico Pluma Altura 1.17
Mocha Mattari (Yemen) 1.01
New Guinea 1.30
Panama Organic 1.34
Sumatra Mandheling-Lintong 1.30
Tanzania Peaberry 1.42
Zimbabwe 1.10

Colombia Supremo Dark 1.37%
Espresso Roast 1.32
French Roast 1.22
Vienna Roast 1.27
Mocha-Java 1.17

DECAFS--all @ .02% with Swiss Water Process

3. Chemically speaking, what is caffeine?

Caffeine is an alkaloid. There are numerous compounds called alkaloids,
among them we have the methylxanthines, with three distinguished
compounds: caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine, found in cola nuts,
coffee, tea, cacao beans, mate and other plants. These compounds have
different biochemical effects, and are present in different ratios in the
different plant sources. These compounds are very similar and differ only
by the presence of methyl groups in two positions of the chemical
structure. They are easily oxidized to uric acid and other methyluric
acids which are also similar in chemical structure.

Sources: Coffee, tea, cola nuts, mate, guarana.
Effects: Stimulant of central nervous system, cardiac muscle, and
respiratory system, diuretic Delays fatigue.

Sources: Tea
Effects: Cariac stimulant, smooth muscle relaxant, diuretic, vasodilator

Sources: Principle alkaloid of the cocoa bean (1.5-3%) Cola nuts and tea
Effects: Diuretic, smooth muscle relaxant, cardiac stimulant, vasodilator.

(Info from Merck Index)

The presence of the other alkaloids in colas and tea may explain why these
sometimes have a stronger kick than coffee. Colas, which have lower
caffeine contents than coffee are, reportedly, sometimes more active. Tea
seems the strongest for some. Coffee seems more lasting for mental
alertness and offers fewer jitters than the others.

A search in CAS and produced these names and synonyms:

CN 1H-Purine-2,6-dione, 3,7-dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl- (9CI) (CA INDEX NAME)
CN Caffeine (8CI)
CN 1,3,7-Trimethyl-2,6-dioxopurine
CN 1,3,7-Trimethylxanthine
CN 7-Methyltheophylline
CN Alert-Pep
CN Cafeina
CN Caffein
CN Cafipel
CN Guaranine
CN Koffein
CN Mateina
CN Methyltheobromine
CN No-Doz
CN Refresh'n
CN Stim
CN Thein
CN Theine
CN Tri-Aqua

MF C8 H10 N4 O2

The correct name is the first one,
1H-Purine-2,6-diione,3,7-dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl- (This is the "inverted
name") The "uninverted name" is

Merck Index excerpt...

Caffeine: 3,7-dihydro- 1,3,7-trimethyl- 1H-purine- 2,6-dione;
1,3,7-trimethylxanthine; 1,3,7-trimethyl- 2,6-dioxopurine;
coffeine; thein; guaranine; methyltheobromine; No-Doz.

C8H10N4O2; mol wt 194.19. C 49.48%, H 5.19%, N 28.85%, O 16.48%.

Occurs in tea, coffee, mate leaves; also in guarana paste and
cola nuts: Shuman, U.S. pat. 2,508,545 (1950 to General Foods).
Obtained as a by-product from the manuf of caffeine-free coffee:
Barch, U.S. pat. 2,817,588 (1957 to Standard Brands); Nutting,
U.S. pat. 2,802,739 (1957 to Hill Bros. Coffee); Adler, Earle,
U.S. pat. 2,933,395 (1960 to General Foods).

Crystal structure: Sutor, Acta Cryst. 11, 453, (1958).
Synthesis: Fischer, Ach, Ber. 28, 2473, 3135 (1895); Gepner,
Kreps, J. Gen. Chem. USSR 16, 179 (1946); Bredereck et al., Ber.
83, 201 (1950); Crippa, Crippa, Farmaco Ed. Sci. 10, 616 (1955);
Swidinsky, Baizer, U.S. pats. 2,785,162 and 2,785,163 (1957 to
Quinine Chem. Works); Bredereck, Gotsmann, Ber. 95, 1902 (1962).

Hexagonal prisms by sublimation, mp 238 C. Sublimes 178 C. Fast
sublimation is obtained at 160-165 C under 1mm press. at 5 mm
distance. d 1.23. Kb at 19 C: 0.7 x 10^(-14). Ka at 25 C: <1.0 x
10^(-14). pH of 1% soln 6.9. Aq solns of caffeine salts
dissociate quickly. Absorption spectrum: Hartley, J. Chem. Soc.
87, 1802 (1905). One gram dissolves in 46 ml water, 5.5 ml water
at 80 C, 1.5 ml boiling water, 66 ml alcohol, 22 ml alcohol at
60 C, 50 ml acetone, 5.5 ml chloroform, 530 ml ether, 100 ml
benzene, 22 ml boiling benzene. Freely sol in pyrrole; in
tetrahydrofuran contg about 4% water; also sol in ethyl acetate;
slightly in petr ether. Soly in water is increased by alkali
benzoates, cinnamates, citrates, or salicylates.

Monohydrate, felted needles, contg 8.5% H2O. Efflorescent in
air; complete dehydration takes place at 80 C. LD50 orally in
rats: 200 mg/kg.

Acetate, C8H10N4O2.(CH3COOH)2, granules or powder; acetic acid
odor; acid reaction. Loses acetic acid on exposure to air.
Soluble in water or alcohol with hydrolysis into caffeine and
acetic acid. Keep well stoppered.

Hydrochloride dihydrate, C8H10N4O2.HCl.2H2O, crystals, dec
80-100 C with loss of water and HCl. Sol in water and in alcohol
with dec.

Therap Cat: Central stimulant.

Therap Cat (Vet): Has been used as a cardiac and respiratory
stimulant and as a diuretic.


Is it true that tea has no caffeine/What is theine, theobromine, etc?

From "Principles of biochemistry", Horton and al, 1993.

Caffeine is sometimes called "theine" when it's in tea. This is
probably due to an ancient misconception that the active
constituent is different. Theophylline is present only in trace
amounts. It is more diuretic, more toxic and less speedy.


Coffee and tea contain caffeine and theophylline, respectively,
which are methylated purine derivatives that inhibit cAMP
phosphodiesterase. In the presence of these inhibitors, the
effects of cAMP, and thus the stimulatory effects of the
hormones that lead to its production, are prolonged and

Theobromine and theophylline are two dimethylxanthines that have two
rather than three methyl groups. Theobromine is considerably weaker than
caffeine and theophylline, having about one tenth the stimulating effect
of either.

Theobromine is found in cocoa products, tea (only in very small amounts)
and kola nuts, but is not found in coffee. In cocoa, its concentration is
generally about 7 times as great as caffeine. Although, caffeine is
relatively scarce in cocoa, its mainly because of theobromine that cocoa
is "stimulating".

Theophylline is found in very small amounts in tea, but has a stronger
effect on the heart and breathing than caffeine. For this reason it is
often the drug of choice in home remedies for treating asthma bronchitis
and emphysema. The theophylline found in medicine is made from extracts
from coffee or tea.

5. Where can I find a gif of the caffeine molecule?

Caffeine = 1,3,7-Trimethylxanthine

A different view of the caffeine molecule.

The Department of Chemistry at Jamaica of the University of Western Indies
has made available an avi and an mpeg of a rotation of the caffeine
molecule, among other molecules and chemical processes. The index page
contains more information and the links to the clips.

/ \
N----C C==O
|| || |
|| || |
\ / \ /
| ||

There is a gif picture at the ftp site or any of its
mirror sites under



Theobromine is also a common component of coffee, tea, chocolate, and mate
(particularly in these last two).


/ \
N----C C==O
|| || |
|| || |
\ / \ /
| ||

Theophylline was once thought to be a major component of tea. This is not
correct. Tea contains significantly more amounts of caffeine than of


/ \
N----C C==O
|| || |
|| || |
\ / \ /
| ||


Is it true that espresso has less caffeine than regular coffee?

Yes and no. An espresso cup has about as much caffeine as a cup of dark
brew. But servings for espresso are much smaller. Which means that the
content of caffeine per millilitre are much higher than with a regular
brew. Moreover, caffeine is more quickly assimilated when taken in
concentrated dosages, such as an espresso cup.

The myth of lower caffeine espresso comes comes from the fact that the
darker roast beans used for espresso do have less caffeine than regularly
roasted beans as roasting is supposed to break up or sublimate the
caffeine in the beans (I have read this quote on research articles, but
found no scientific studies supporting it. Anybody out there?). But
espresso is prepared using pressurized steam which extracts a higher
percentage of caffeine from the ground beans than regular drip.

Here's the caffeine content of Drip/Espresso/Brewed Coffee:

Drip 115-175
Espresso 100 1 serving (1.5-2oz)


How does caffeine taste?

Caffeine is very bitter. Barq's Root Beer contains caffeine and the
company says that it has "12.78mg per 6oz" and that they "add it as a
flavouring agent for the sharp bitterness"


How much theobromine/theophylline there is in ...?

Sources: Physicians Desk Reference and Institute of Food Technologies from
Pafai and Jankiewicz (1991) DRUGS AND HUMAN BEHAVIOUR

cocoa 250mg theobromine
bittersweet choc. bar 130mg theobromine
5 oz cup brewed coffee no theobromine
tea 5oz cup brewed 3min
with teabag 3-4 mg theophylline
Diet Coke no theobromine or theophylline

* How to brew the ultimate caffeine drink?

1. What is the best temperature for drip coffee?

According to chemical studies, the optimal water temperature for drip
coffee is 95-98C. According to my notes, colder water doesn't extract
enough caffeine/essential oils from the beans, and above such temperature
the acidity increases wildly.

2. Quality of coffee

The quality of a brew depend on the following factors (in no particular

1. Time since grinding the beans.
2. Time since roasting.
3. Cleanliness with brewing equipment.
4. Bean quality (what crop etc).
5. Water quality.

Fact: Unless you are buying some major debris, bean quality is not very
important, as compared to 1-3 and 5.

Fact: The prepackaged stuff you buy in supermarkets is major debris, (in

Fact: Once you have freshly roasted and ground coffee, filtered water and
equipment free of oil residues from the last brew, quality of beans makes
a huge difference.

Many times "inferior beans" are due to (a) adultered beans, either with
the skin of the coffee bean or with peanut derivatives, or (b) old grounds
and roast.

3. Why you should never use percolators.

Percolators violate most of the natural laws about brewing coffee.

o Don't overextract the oils and flavour. Percolators work by taking
coffee and reheating it and throwing it over the grounds over and
over and over again.
o Never reheat/boil coffee. This destroys the flavour. For best
flavour, boil the water, pass it over the grounds and retain the
heat. Don't reheat it.

Violating these rules may not sound like much, but these are about the
only rules there are. The effect of a percolator is to keep passing
boiling water/coffee over the grounds until there is no flavour left and
the flavour in the coffee is so dead that it's a worthless waste.

Peripherals and Secondary Storage

1. Proper care of coffee makers...

It is very important that you wash your coffee maker pot and filter
container thoroughly at least once a week. Bitter oils stick to the glass
container and plastic filter holder.

I used to wash the plastic filter container and rinse the glass pot.
Coffee started to taste bad. When I was told to wash both thoroughly with
plenty of soap the flavour improved instantly. Note: To the naked eye
rinsed and soap washed pots look the same (clean that is).

Some drip coffee makers require periodic cleansing with a solution of
water and vinegar.

If you have a coffee/teapot, the inside of which is stained with oily
brown residues - also plastic/metal coffee filters, tea strainers, and
stainless steel sinks in caffeine-o-phile houses - they can be restored to
a shining, brand-spanking-new state by washing in hot washing powder

Get a large plastic jug, add 2..3 heaped tablespoons of Daz Automatic or
Bold or whatever, and about a pint of hot water - just off the boil is the

Swill the jug around until the detergent is dissolved, and then pour into
tea/coffeepot, and let it stand for 5 minutes, swilling the pot around
occasionally, just to keep the detergent moving. Put the lid on and shake
it a few times (care: slippery + hot)

Repeat as necessary. Keep it hot with a little boiling water if needed. If
you have a cafetiere, dissemble it, and soak the parts in the mixture for
a few minutes, agitating occasionally.

In both cases, the residue just falls off with almost no scrubbing. It
does great things with over-used filter machine filters, too.

Important: Rinse off all detergent afterwards, use lots of fresh water.

2. How to store coffee?

One should always store coffee beans in a glass, air tight container. Air
is coffee's principle enemy. Glass is best because it doesn't retain the
odors of the beans or the oils, which could contaminate future beans
stored in the same container.

For consumption within:

1 week
room temperature is fine
2 weeks to a month
freeze them

This prevents the chemical reactions that produce stale beans and lifeless

3. Equipment reviews?

4. What is a French Press/Cafetiere/Bodum

* Caffeine and your Health

Important: This information was excerpted from several sources, no claims are
made to its accuracy. The FAQ mantainer is not a medical doctor and cannot
vouch for the accuracy of this information.

1. Caffeine Withdrawal: Procedures and Symptoms.

How to cut caffeine intake?

Most people report a very good success ratio by cutting down caffeine
intake at the rate of 1/2 cup of coffee a day. This is known as Caffeine
Fading. Alternatively you might try reducing coffee intake in discrete
steps of two-five cups of coffee less per week (depending on how high is
your initial intake). If you are drinking more than 10 cups of coffee a
day, you should seriously consider cutting down.

The best way to proceed is to consume caffeine regularly for a week, while
keeping a precise log of the times and amounts of caffeine intake
(remember that chocolate, tea, soda beverages and many headache pills
contain caffeine as well as coffee). At the end of the week proceed to
reduce your coffee intake at the rate recommended above. Remember to have
substitutes available for drinking: if you are not going to have a hot cup
of coffee at your 10 minute break, you might consider having hot chocolate
or herbal tea, but NOT decaff, since decaff has been shown to also be
addictive. This should take you through the works without much problem.

Some other people quit cold turkey. Withdrawal symptoms are quite nasty
this way (see section below) but they can usually be countered with lots
of sleep and exercise. Many people report being able to stop drinking
caffeine almost cold-turkey while on holidays on the beach. If quitting
cold turkey is proving too hard even in the beach, drinking a coke might

What are the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal?

Regular caffeine consumption reduces sensitivity to caffeine. When
caffeine intake is reduced, the body becomes oversensitive to adenosine.
In response to this oversensitiveness, blood pressure drops dramatically,
causing an excess of blood in the head (though not necessarily on the
brain), leading to a headache.

This headache, well known among coffee drinkers, usually lasts from one to
five days, and can be alleviated with analgesics such as aspirin. It is
also alleviated with caffeine intake (in fact several analgesics contain
caffeine dosages).

Often, people which are reducing caffeine intake report being irritable,
unable to work, nervous, restless, amd feeling sleepy, as well as having a
headache. In extreme cases, nausea and vomiting has also been reported.


Caffeine and Health. J. E. James, Academic Press, 1991. Progress in
Clinical and Biological Research Volume 158. G. A. Spiller, Ed. Alan R.
Liss Inc, 1984.

2. What happens when you overdose?

From Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-3-R (American
Psychiatric Association, 1987):

Caffeine-Induced Organic Mental Disorder 305.90 Caffeine

1. Recent consumption of caffeine, usually in excess of 250
2. At least five of the following signs:
1. restlessness
2. nervousness
3. excitement
4. insomnia
5. flushed face
6. diuresis
7. gastrointestinal disturbance
8. muscle twitching
9. rambling flow of thought and speech
10. tachycardia or cardiac arrhythmia
11. periods of inexhaustibility
12. psychomotor agitation
3. Not due to any physical or other mental disorder, such as
an Anxiety Disorder.

Basically, overdosing on caffeine will probably be very very unpleasant
but not kill or deliver permanent damage. However, People do die from it.

Toxic dose

The LD_50 of caffeine (that is the lethal dosage reported to kill 50%
of the population) is estimated at 10 grams for oral administration.
As it is usually the case, lethal dosage varies from individual to
individual according to weight. Ingestion of 150mg/kg of caffeine
seems to be the LD_50 for all people. That is, people weighting 50
kilos have an LD_50 of approx. 7.5 grams, people weighting 80 kilos
have an LD_50 of about 12 grams.

In cups of coffee the LD_50 varies from 50 to 200 cups of coffee or
about 50 vivarins (200mg each).

One exceptional case documents survival after ingesting 24 grams. The
minimum lethal dose ever reported was 3.2 grams intravenously, this
does not represent the oral MLD (minimum lethal dose).

In small children ingestion of 35 mg/kg can lead to moderate
toxicity. The amount of caffeine in an average cup of coffee is 50 -
200 mg. Infants metabolize caffeine very slowly.

+ Acute caffeine poisoning gives early symptoms of anorexia,
tremor, and restlessness. Followed by nausea, vomiting,
tachycardia, and confusion. Serious intoxication may cause
delirium, seizures, supraventricular and ventricular
tachyarrhythmias, hypokalemia, and hyperglycemia.
+ Chronic high-dose caffeine intake can lead to nervousness,
irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, muscle twitching,
insomnia, palpitations and hyperreflexia. For blood testing,
cross-reaction with theophylline assays will detect toxic
amounts. (Method IA) Blood concentration of 1-10 mg/L is normal
in coffee drinkers, while 80 mg/L has been associated with
+ Emergency Measures
+ Maintain the airway and assist ventilation. (See Appendix
+ Treat seizures & hypotension if they occur.
+ Hypokalemia usually goes away by itself.
+ Monitor Vital Signs.
+ Specific drugs & antidotes. Beta blockers effectively reverse
cardiotoxic effects mediated by excessive beta-adrenergic
stimulation. Treat hypotension or tachyarrhythmias with
intravenous propanolol, .01 - .02 mg/kg. , or esmolol, .05 mg/kg
, carefully titrated with low doses. Esmolol is preferred
because of its short half life and low cardioselectivity.
+ Decontamination
+ Induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage.
+ Administer activated charcoal and cathartic.
+ Gut emptying is probably not needed if 1 2 are performed
Appendix A
Performing airway assistance.
1. If no neck injury is suspected, place in the "Sniffing"
position by tilting the head back and extending the front of the
2. Apply the "Jaw Thrust" to move the tongue out of the way
without flexing the neck: Place thumb fingers from both hands
under the back of the jaw and thrust the jaw forward so that the
chin sticks out. This should also hurt the patient, allowing you
to judge depth of coma. :)
3. Tilt the head to the side to allow vomit and snot to drain out.
From conversations on alt.drugs.caffeine:

The toxic dose is going to vary from person to person, depending primarily
on built-up tolerance. A couple people report swallowing 10 to 13 vivarin
and ending up in the hospital with their stomaches pumped, while a few say
they've taken that many and barely stayed awake.

A symptom lacking in the clinical manual but reported by at least two
people on the net is a loss of motor ability: inability to move, speak, or
even blink. The experience is consistently described as very unpleasant
and not fun at all, even by those very familiar with caffeine nausea and

3. Effects of caffeine on pregnant women.

Caffeine has long been suspect of causing mal-formations in fetus, and
that it may reduce fertility rates.

These reports have proved controversial. What is known is that caffeine
does causes malformations in rats, when ingested at rates comparable to 70
cups a day for humans. Many other species respond equally to such large
amounts of caffeine.

Data is scant, as experimentation on humans is not feasible. In any case
moderation in caffeine ingestion seems to be a prudent course for pregnant
women. Recent references are Pastore and Savitz, Case-control study of
caffeinated beverages and preterm delivery. American Journal of
Epidemiology, Jan 1995.

On men, it has been shown that caffeine reduces rates of sperm motility
which may account for some findings of reduced fertility.

4. Caffeine and Osteoporosis (Calcium loss)

From the Journal of AMA: (JAMA, 26 Jan. 1994, p. 280-3.)

"There was a significant association between (drinking more) caffeinated
coffee and decreasing bone mineral density at both the hip and the spine,
independent of age, obesity, years since menopause, and the use of
tobacco, estrogen, alcohol, thiazides, and calcium supplements [in

Except when:

"Bone density did not vary [...] in women who reported drinking at least
one glass of milk per day during most of their adult lives."

That is, if you drink a glass of milk a day, there is no need to worry
about the caffeine related loss of calcium.

5. Studies on the side-effects of caffeine.

OAKLAND, California (UPI) -- Coffee may be good for life. A major study
has found fewer suicides among coffee drinkers than those who abstained
from the hot black brew.

The study of nearly 130,000 Northern California residents and the records
of 4,500 who have died looked at the effects of coffee and tea on

Cardiologist Arthur Klatsky said of the surprising results, ``This is not
a fluke finding because our study was very large, involved a multiracial
population, men, women, and examined closely numerous factors related to
mortality such as alcohol consumption and smoking.''

The unique survey also found no link between coffee consumption and death
risk. And it confirmed a ``weak'' connection of coffee or tea to heart
attack risk -- but not to other cardiovascular conditions such as stroke.

The study was conducted by the health maintenance organization Kaiser
Permanente and was reported Wednesday in the Annals of Epidemiology.

6. Caffeine and depression.

7. Caffeine and your metabolism.

Caffeine increases the level of circulating fatty acids. This has been
shown to increase the oxidation of these fuels, hence enhancing fat
oxidation. Caffeine has been used for years by runners and endurance
people to enhance fatty acid metabolism. It's particularly effective in
those who are not habitual users.

Caffeine is not an appetite suppressant. It does affect metabolism, though
it is a good question whether its use truly makes any difference during a
diet. The questionable rationale for its original inclusion in diet pills
was to make a poor man's amphetamine-like preparation from the
non-stimulant sympathomimetic phenylpropanolamine and the stimulant
caffeine. (That you end up with something very non-amphetamine like is
neither here nor there.) The combination drugs were called "Dexatrim" or
Dexa-whosis (as in Dexedrine) for a reason, namely, to assert its
similarity in the minds of prospective buyers. However, caffeine has not
been in OTC diet pills for many years per order of the FDA, which stated
that there was no evidence of efficacy for such a combination.

From Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics:

Caffeine in combination with an analgesic, such as aspirin, is
widely used in the treatment of ordinary types of headache.
There are few data to substantiate its efficacy for this
purpose. Caffeine is also used in combination with an ergot
alkaloid in the treatment of migrane (Chapter 39).

Ergotamine is usually administered orally (in combination with
caffeine) or sublingually [...] If a patient cannot tolerate
ergotamine orally, rectal administration of a mixture of
caffeine and ergotamine tartarate may be attempted.

The bioavailability [of ergotamine] after sublingual
administration is also poor and is often inadequate for
therapeutic purposes [...] the concurrent administration of
caffeine (50-100 mg per mg of ergotamine) improves both the rate
and extent of absorption [...] However, there is little
correspondence between the concentration of ergotamine in plasma
and the intensity or duration of therapeutic or toxic effects.

Caffeine enhances the action of the ergot alkaloids in the
treatment of migrane, a discovery that must be credited to the
sufferers from the disease who observed that strong coffee gave
symptomatic relief, especially when combined with the ergot
alkaloids. As mentioned, caffeine increases the oral and rectal
absorption of ergotamine, and it is widely believed that this
accounts for its enhancement of therapeutic effects.

Nowadays most of researchers believe that the stimulatory actions are
attributable to the antagonism of the adenosine. Agonists at the adenosine
receptors produce sedation while antagonists at these sites, like caffeine
and theophylline induce stimulation, and what is even more important, the
latter substance also reverse agonists-induced symptoms of sedation, thus
indicating that this effects go through these receptors.

Another possibility, however, is that methylxanthines enhance release of
excitatory aminoacids, like glutamate and aspartate, which are the main
stimulatory neurotransmitters in the brain.

As to the side effects: methylxanthines inhibit protective activity of
common antiepileptic drugs in exptl. animals in doses comparable to those
used in humans when correction to the surface area is made. It should be
underlined, that although tolerance develop to the stimulatory effects of
theo or caffeine when administered on a chronic base, we found no
tolerance to the above effects . This hazardous influence was even
enhanced over time. Therefore, it should be emphasized that individuals
suffering from epilepsy should avoid, or at least reduce consumption of
coffee and other caffeine-containing beverages.

* Miscellaneous

1. How do you pronounce mate?

MAH-teh. MAH like in malt, and -teh like in Gral. Patten.

2. How do you spell Colombia/Colombian?

3. How do you spell Espresso?

By far, the most common spelling used throughout the world today is
"espresso". This is a shortened form of the original Italian name for the
drink "caffe espresso" (accent marks omitted). This spelling is considered
to be the correct spelling by the vast majority of of coffee consumers,
vendors, retailers, and producers.

Some English language dictionaries also list "expresso" as a variant
spelling. However, this does not mean the spelling is 'equally valid'.
(see the post by Jesse Sheidlower included below)

It was pointed out during the great "espresso vs. expresso" debate (spring
94) that the Italian alphabet does not even contain the letter "X", which
is incorrect.

Further, it was discovered that at least three dictionaries contained
incorrect definitions of the word "espresso". The American Heritage
Dictionary gave the following definition:

"A strong coffee brewed by forcing steam under pressure through
darkly roasted, powdered coffee beans."

The Oxford English Dictionary said:

"Coffee brewed by forcing steam through powdered coffee beans"

The Webster New World Dictionary gives:

"coffee prepared in a special machine from finely ground coffee
beans, through which steam under high pressure is forced."

All three of these are wrong. In fact, espresso is a strong coffee brewed
by quickly forcing hot water through darkly roasted, finely ground coffee

(Some espresso makers do use steam, but only to force the hot water
through the ground coffee. The steam NEVER touches the coffee. Many
espresso makers use no steam at all. Instead, they use either a pump or a
piston to quickly force hot water through the ground coffee.)

Once these errors and the origins of the word "espresso" had been pointed
out, the argument "but expresso is in the dictionary" quickly began to
crumble. The final death blow to this position came in a post by
dictionary editor Jesse Sheidlower. This post is reproduced in its
entirety below:

Jesse Sheidlower writes

I find this thread fascinating. I regret that it demonstrates an
unfamiliarity with dictionaries and how to use them, but no
matter. I believe that I am the only dictionary editor to
participate in this discussion, so let me waste a bit more
bandwidth addressing some of the points made so far, and
introducing a few others:

o The OED, Second Edition, does include _espresso_ and
_expresso_, the latter being a variant of the former. It
correctly derives it from Italian _caffe espresso_.
[Accents left off here.] Whoever claimed it derives the
term from a would-be Italian _caffe expresso_ was in error.
o There _is_ an "x" in Latin and Italian.
o There are four major American dictionaries (published by
Merriam Webster, Webster's New World, Random House, and
American Heritage). The most recent edition of each gives
_espresso_ as the main form, and _expresso_ as a variant
only. The fact that _expresso_ is listed in the dictionary
does not mean that it is equally common: the front matter
for each dictionary explains this. The person who claimed
that three dictionaries including OED give _expresso_ as
"equally valid" was in error.
o Dictionaries, in general, do not dictate usage: they
reflect the usage that exists in the language. If a
dictionary says that _espresso_ is the main spelling, it
means that in the experience of its editors (based on an
examination of the language), _espresso_ is notably more
common. It does not mean that the editors have a vendetta
against _expresso_.
o To the linguist who rejects the authority of dictionaries:
I agree that language is constantly changing; I'm sure that
every dictionary editor in the country does as well.
Dictionaries are outdated before they go to press. But I
think they remain accurate to a large extent. Also, if you
are going to disagree with the conclusions of a dictionary,
you should be prepared to back yourself up. I can defend,
with extensive written evidence, our decision to give
_espresso_ as the preferred form.
o The spelling _espresso_ is the form used by the copy desks
of the _New York Times,_ _Gourmet,_ _Bon Appetit,_ The
_Wine Spectator,_ the _Wall St. Journal,_ the _L.A. Times,_
_Time,_ _Newsweek,_ and to my knowledge every other major
or minor newspaper or magazine, general or food-related, in
the English-speaking world. The fact that a handwritten
menu on an Italian restaurant door spells it "expresso" is
trivial by comparison.
o In sum: though both _espresso_ and _expresso_ are found,
the former is by far the more common. It is also to be
favored on immediate etymological evidence, since the
Italian word from which it is directly borrowed is spelled
_espresso_. The form _espresso_ is clearly preferred by all
mainstream sources.

* Coffee Recipes and other beverages.

1. Espresso

After living in Italy (Rome) for two years and living off espresso, Mr. X
have found American espresso doesn't cut it. Heres how to do it.

o Get good dark roasted espresso beans, imported Italian brand if you
can find it.
o Pack your strainer real full. Pack it hard. your instructions will
say NOT to pack it, but don't listen.
o Don't use too much water. Espresso in Italy is as thick as syrup.
Very thick.
o Add two spoons of sugar, it's a sweet, thick liquid in Italy.

Drink fast.


If using a stove top espresso machine, clean after each use, paying
attention to the seal and strainer.

1. For best results, get arabica beans that have been roasted dark
("Italian Roast" is darkest) and are oily-looking. Other roasts are
for other types of brewing: espresso machines won't draw the earthy
flavour of Sumatran out, for example. A small amount of other beans
might add a nice note to the flavour, though (I've had surprising
success adding a few of Thanksgiving Coffee's "High-Caffeine Pony
Express" beans, which are actually robusta beans from Thailand).
2. Grind those beans until they're very fine, but not quite a powder.
Put them into the appropriate piece of your machine and tamp it down
(but don't pack all the grounds in tight).
3. Watch the espresso as it drips down. Does a nice layer of foam form
on the top? If it does, all is well; that foam is made from the
flavourful oils, and it is called crema. If not, go to the coffee
roaster and demand quadruple your money back.
4. Never make more than 2oz at a time. If you're making two cups of
espresso, make two separate shots. This is important. The idea is
that the water rushes through and draws out only the most flavourful
part of the grounds. More than 2oz and you're drawing out less
flavourful stuff and diluting your espresso. If you're really
hardcore, make only 1oz at a time; this is called caffe ristretto.

2. Chocolate covered espresso beans

You won't get single, glossy beans, but the taste is there!

1. Put dark roast coffee beans on a waxpaper-covered baking sheet.
2. Melt some chocolate by puting a container with the chocolate in a
pan of boiling water, stir the chocolate when it is getting hot. Some
experimentation regarding what chocolate to use is in place. I used
chocolate chips of from Girardelli. One should probably aim for dark
and not too sweet chocolate.
3. Pour the chocolate over the beans and smear it so that each bean is
covered - you should have a single layer of covered beans not too far
4. When the beans have cooled off a little bit, put the sheet in the
5. When solid, break off a piece and enjoy.

3. Cappuccino

Disclaimer: People prepare cappuccino in many different ways, and in their
very own way each one of them is correct. The following recipe, which is
commonly used in Latin countries, has been tasted by several of my
North-American friends and they unanimously agreed that cappuccino
prepared using this recipe tastes much better than the standard fare in

Start with cold milk (it doesn't really need to be ice-cold), use homo
milk or carnation. 2% or skim is just not thick enough (admittedly, it is
easier to produce foam with skim milk).

Place the milk on a special cappuccino glass with a cappuccino basket.
(Cappuccino glasses have a thinner bottom).

Aerate the milk near the top, within 2cm (1 in) of the top. Move the glass
down as the milk aerates. It is a good idea to have an oscillating motion
while aerating the milk.

Aerating the milk in another container, then pouring in a glass and adding
the foam with a spoon is sacrilege.

Anybody who has done so should make a pilgrimage to San Francisco's
Girardelli's. Otherwise entry to heaven will be denied (god, is after all,
Italian. At least the catholic one).

If you need to aerate the milk on a separate container, aerate exactly the
amount of milk required for one cup, so no need to add foam with a spoon.

Once the milk has been aerated, promptly clean the aerator with a wet rag.
Failure to do so will quickly result in rotten milk flavour coming from
the aerator.

Another warning on similar lines applies to restaurant type coffee
machines: leave the aerator valve open when powering the machine up and
down. When the machine is off a partial vacuum is formed in the boiler
that will suck milk residue into the boiler. This then coats the inside of
the boiler and can cause bad smelling steam until the boiler is flushed.
Some machines have a vacuum bleed valve to prevent this problem but many

Wait for the steam pressure to build up again (for some cappuccino makers
wait time is near zero, for others it maybe as long as 60 secs).

Prepare the espresso coffee, you may add it directly on to the glass if
possible or use a cup and then pour it from the cup on the milk.

According to Jym Dyer: In Italy, the milk is added TO the espresso, not
the other way around, that way the milk is floating; on top, where you
then add the sugar, and stir it up.

Cappuccino tastes better when is really hot, and has two teaspoons of
sugar. (small teaspoons, like the ones in expensive silverware).

Then accompany said cappuccino with a warm tea bisquet or english muffin
with marmalade, or alternatively with a baguette sandwich or panini.

4. Frappe

Frappe coffee is widely consumed in parts of Europe and LatinAmerica
especially in summer. Originally was made with cold espresso. Nowadays is
prepared in most places by shaking into a shaker 1-2 teaspoons of instant
coffee with sugar, water and ice-cubes and it is served in a long glass
with ice, milk to taste and a straw. The important thing is the thick
froth on top of the glass.

5. How to make your own chocolate

Here's the recipe for making a real chocolate beverage. Important steps
are in boldface.


o 1-2kg (2-4pounds) of cocoa beans.
o A manually operated grinder.


o Sift through the beans removing any impurities (pieces of grass,
leaves, etc).
o Place the beans in a pan (no teflon) and roast them. Stir
frequently. As the beans roast they start making "pop" sounds like
popcorn. Beans are ready when you estimate that approx 50-75% of the
beans have popped. Do not let the beans burn, though a bit of black
on each bean is ok.
o Peel the beans. Peeling roasted cocoa beans is like peeling baked
potatoes: The hotter they are the easier it is to peel the darn
things, at the expense of third degree burns on your fingers. (Tip:
Use kitchen mittens and brush the beans in your hands). If the beans
are too hard to peel roast them a bit longer.
o Grind the beans into a pan. They produce a dark oily paste called
"cocoa paste".
o The oil in the cocoa has a bitter taste that you have to get used
to. I like it this way, but not all people do. Here are the

With oil, which gives you a richer flavour:

Spread aluminum foil on a table and make small pies of chocolate,
about 1/4 of an inch high, and 6 inches in diameter. Let them rest
overnight. The morning after they are hard tablets. Remove them from
the aluminum foil and rap them in it. Store in the freezer.

Without oil, some flavour is gone, less bitter, weaker (whimper)

Put the paste inside a thin cloth (like linen), close the cloth and
squeeze until the oil comes out. If you manage to get most of the oil
out, what is left is high quality cocoa powder, like Droste's.

What is left now is either bitter tablets or bitter cocoa powder.

You can now make a nice beverage as follows:

o Boil a liter of milk (or water, like in ancient Mexican style. Like
water for chocolate, "Como agua para chocolate": you know).
o When the milk is warm (not hot) add a chocolate pie in pieces. Stir
with a blender (but be careful! the blender's electric cord should
NOT touch the pot or any other hot thing around it).
o When the chocolate has dissolved add 1/2-3/4 cups of sugar
(depending how sweet you like your chocolate) and blend in fast. Make
sure the sugar is completely dissolved in the chocolate otherwise it
would be bitter no matter how much sugar you may add afterwards.
o Add a teaspoon of cinnamon or natural vanilla flavour (artificial
vanilla flavour with chocolate results in an awful medicine like
flavour) if you like, and blend again.
o Let the mixture boil, when it starts to get bubbly quickly remove
the pan from the stove top, and rest the bottom against a soaked
cloth. Put again on stove top, it should get bubbly almost
immediately, remove once again and repeat one last time. This aerates
the chocolate which enhances flavour.
o In a mug, put about 1/2-3/4 of the chocolate mixture, and add cold
milk, until the temperature and/or the concentration of the flavour
is right for your tastes. Accompany with French Pastries. Yum Yum!!


6. How to make the best cup of coffee?

The best coffee I ever tasted was while in the coffee growing regions of
Mexico, in the state of Veracruz, in the town of Coatepec. The quality of
the coffee was mostly due to the method of preparation than to the quality
of the grains (which is at about the same level as an average colombian
coffee). Here's how to make it:

o Grind the coffee grains from coarse to very coarse.
o Boil in a pan a litre of water (four cups).
o When the water is boiling, turn off the stove and add 8-12 table
spoons of coffee (2-3 spoons per each cup).
o Add two-three teaspoons of sugar per cup (for a total of 8-12 spoons
of sugar).
o Stir very slowly (the water is so hot that the sugar dissolves
mostly on its own).
o Let the coffee rest for about 5 minutes.
o Strain the coffee using a metal strainer! Like the ones used for
cooking. The strainer should be like the ones used by granny for
making tea. The diameter is a bit smaller that a cup, with a
semi-sphere shape.
o This coffee has grit in the bottom, even after being strained.
Therefore do not stir the pot or the cup. If the coffee is shaked,
let it rest for about five minutes. Needless to say, do not drink the
last sip of coffee from the cup: it's all grit. If you want to add
milk, add carnation.

Warning: This coffee may fool you 'cause it has a very smooth taste but is
extremely strong. Caffeine content per millilitre is right there with
espresso, but you can't tell!

Note: For some strange reason, when preparing this coffee I tend to have a
success ratio of about one out of two attempts. I still don't know what
I'm doing wrong, since, as far as I can tell, always repeat the same
steps. Perhaps sometimes I don't let the coffee rest long enough.

This type of coffee is similar in nature to the French press. And in
principle, you could possibly add sugar to the ground coffee, then pour
water, and lastly press with the strainer.

7. Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is prepared using a little copper pot called briki.

Use a heaping teaspoon of very finely ground coffee and, optionally, one
heaping teaspoon of sugar (to taste). Use about 3oz of coffee. [Add the
sugar only just before boiling point.] Turkish coffee without sugar is
called sade, with a little sugar is "orta s,ekerli" and with lots of sugar
is "c,ok s,ekerli".

The trick of it is to heat it until it froths pour the froth into the
coffee dup and heat it a second time. When it froths again, pour the rest
into the cup.

The grounds will settle to the bottom of the cup as you drink the coffee
and towards the end, it'll start to taste bitter and the texture will be
more like wet coffee grounds than a drink. As soon as this happens stop or
your next sip will taste really, really bitter. Instead, turn your cup
upside down on the saucer, and let someone read your fortune!

8. Irish Coffee

o Sturdy wine glass or glass with stem
o 1 teaspoon sugar
o 1 or 2 tablespoon Irish whiskey
o black coffee
o cream, lightly whipped
1. Place spoon in glass. Heat glass by pouring in warm water. When
glass is warm, pour out the water. Leave spoon in glass.
2. Put sugar, whiskey and coffee in glass. Stir to dissolve sugar.
Still leave spoon in glass.
3. Now for the tricky bit: Put dollop of cream on top, allow the cream
to slide down the back of spoon (the spoon which was in the coffee),
the tip of the spoon should remain in the coffee.
Be careful not to stir after the cream has been added. The cream should
form a foamy layer about 1 cm (or half an inch) thick on top of the black

9. Thai Iced Coffee

Make very strong coffee (50-100% more coffee to water than usual), use
something like Cafe Du Monde which has chicory in it. Pour 6-8 oz into cup
and add about 1 Tbs sweetened condensed milk. Stir, then pour over ice.

You'll have to experiment with the strength and milk so you get lots of
taste after the ice/water dilutes it.

Alternatively, this version which comes from a newspaper article of many
years ago simply calls for grinding two or three fresh cardamom pods and
putting them in with the coffee grounds. Make a strong coffee with a fresh
dark roast, chill it, sweeten and add half-and-half to taste.

Lastly, we have the following recipe:

Makes 1 8-cup pot of coffee

o 6 tablespoons whole rich coffee beans, ground fine
o 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander powder
o 4 or 5 whole green cardamom pods, ground
o Place the coffee and spices in the filter cone of your coffee maker.
Brew coffee as usual; let it cool.
o In a tall glass, dissolve 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar in an ounce of
the coffee (it's easier to dissolve than if you put it right over
ice). Add 5-6 ice cubes and pour coffee to within about 1" of the top
of the glass.
o Rest a spoon on top of the coffee and slowly pour whipping cream
into the spoon. This will make the cream float on top of the coffee
rather than dispersing into it right away.
o To be totally cool, serve with Flexi-Straws and paper umbrellas...

One other fun note: I got a fresh vanilla bean recently and put it to good
use by sealing it in an airtight container with my sugar. The sugar gets
the faintest vanilla aroma and is incredible in Real Chocolate Milk (TM)
and iced coffee.

One final note: this would probably be even better with iced espresso,
because the espresso is so much more powerful and loses its taste less
when it's cold.

Another recipe:
o Strong, black ground coffee
o Sugar
o Evaporated (not condensed) milk
o Cardamom pods

Prepare a pot of coffee at a good European strength (Miriam Nadel suggests
2 tablespoons per cup, which I'd say is about right). In the ground
coffee, add 2 or 3 freshly ground cardamom pods. (I've used green ones, I
imagine the brown ones would give a slightly different flavour.) Sweeten
while hot, then cool quickly.

Serve over ice, with unsweetened evaporated milk (or heavy cream if you're
feeling extra indulgent). To get the layered effect, place a spoon atop
the coffee and pour the milk carefully into the spoon so that it floats on
the top of the coffee.

The recipe I have calls for:

o 1/4 cup strong French roasted coffee
o 1/2 cup boiling water
o 2 tsp sweetened condensed milk
o Mix the above and pour over ice.

I'd probably use less water and more coffee and milk.

There is also a stronger version of Thai coffee called "Oleng" which is
very strong to me and to a lot of coffee lovers.

6 to 8 tablespoons ground espresso or French roast coffee 4 to 6 green
cardamom pods, crushed Sugar to taste Half-and-half or cream Ice cubes

Put the cardamom pods and the ground dark-roast coffee into a coffee
press, espresso maker, or the filter of a drip coffee maker (if using a
drip-style coffee maker, use half the water). Brew coffee as for espresso,
stir in sugar.

Fill a large glass with ice and pour coffee over ice, leaving about 1/2
inch at the top. Place a spoon at the surface of the coffee and slowly
pour half-and-half or cream into the spoon, so that it spreads across the
top of the coffee rather than sinking in. (You'll stir it in yourself
anyway, but this is a much prettier presentation and it's as used in most
Thai restaurants.)

As with Vietnamese coffee, the struggle here is to keep from downing this
all in ten seconds.

10. Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Same coffee as above. Sweetened condensed (not evaporated) milk Ice

Make even stronger coffee, preferably in a Vietnamese coffee maker. (This
is a metal cylinder with tiny holes in the bottom and a perforated disc
that fits into it; you put coffee in the bottom of the cylinder, place the
disc atop it, then fill with boiling water and a very rich infusion of
coffee drips slowly from the bottom.)

If you are using a Vietnamese coffee maker, put two tablespoons of
sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of a cup and put the coffee maker
on top of the cup. If you are making espresso or cafe filter (the infusion
method where you press the plunger down through the grounds after several
minutes of infusion), mix the sweetened condensed milk and the coffee any
way you like.

When the milk is dissolved in the coffee (yes, dissolved *is* the right
word here!), pour the combination over ice and sip.

Thai and Vietnamese coffees are very different.

Ca phe sua da (Vietnamese style iced coffee)

o 2 to 4 tablespoons finely ground dark roast coffee (preferably with
o 2 to 4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (e.g., Borden Eagle
Brand, not evaporated milk!)
o Boiling water
o Vietnamese coffee press [see notes]
o Ice cubes

Place ground coffee in Vietnamese coffee press and screw lid down on the
grounds. Put the sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of a coffee cup
and set the coffee maker on the rim. Pour boiling water over the screw lid
of the press; adjust the tension on the screw lid just till bubbles appear
through the water, and the coffee drips slowly out the bottom of the

When all water has dripped through, stir the milk and coffee together. You
can drink them like this, just warm, as ca phe sua neng, but I prefer it
over ice, as ca phe sua da. To serve it that way, pour the milk-coffee
mixture over ice, stir, and drink as slowly as you can manage. I always
gulp mine too fast. :-)


A Vietnamese coffee press looks like a stainless steel top hat. There's a
"brim" that rests on the coffee cup; in the middle of that is a cylinder
with tiny perforations in the bottom. Above that rises a threaded rod, to
which you screw the top of the press, which is a disc with similar tiny
perforations. Water trickles through these, extracts flavour from the
coffee, and then trickles through the bottom perforations. It is
excruciatingly slow. Loosening the top disc speeds the process, but also
weakens the resulting coffee and adds sediment to the brew.

If you can't find a Vietnamese coffee press, regular-strength espresso is
an adequate substitute, particularly if made with French-roast beans or
with a dark coffee with chicory. I've seen the commonly available Medaglia
d'Oro brand coffee cans in Vietnamese restaurants, and it works, though
you'll lose some of the subtle bitterness that the chicory offers. I think
Luzianne brand coffee comes with chicory and is usable in Vietnamese
coffee, though at home I generally get French roast from my normal coffee

Of these two coffees, Vietnamese coffee should taste more or less like
melted Haagen-Dasz coffee ice cream, while Thai iced coffee has a more
fragrant and lighter flavour from the cardamom and half-and-half rather
than the condensed milk. Both are exquisite, and not difficult to make
once you've got the equipment.

As a final tip, I often use my old-fashioned on-the-stove espresso maker
(the one shaped like an hourglass, where you put water in the bottom,
coffee in the middle, and as it boils the coffee comes out in the top) for
Thai iced coffee. The simplest way is merely to put the cardamom and sugar
right in with the coffee, so that what comes out the top is ready to pour
over ice and add half and half. It makes a delicious and very passable
version of restaurant-style Thai iced coffee.

11. Melya

o Espresso
o Honey
o Unsweetened cocoa

Brew espresso; for this purpose, a Bialetti-style stovetop will work. In a
coffee mug, place 1 teaspoon of unsweetened powdered cocoa; then cover a
teaspoon with honey and drizzle it into the cup. Stir while the coffee
brews; this is the fun part. The cocoa seems to coat the honey without
mixing, so you get a dusty, sticky mass that looks as though it will never
mix. Then all at once, presto! It looks like dark chocolate sauce. Pour
hot espresso over the honey, stirring to dissolve. Serve with cream
(optional). I have never served this cold but I imagine it would be
interesting; I use it as a great hot drink for cold days, though, so all
my memories are of grey skies, heavy sweaters, damp feet and big smiles.

* Administrivia

1. List of Contributors

This FAQ is a collective effort. Here's a list of most (all?) of the

o Oktay Ahiska (
o Marc Aurel (
o Scott Austin (
o Tom Benjamin (
o Jennifer Beyer (
o Steve Bliss (
o David Alan Bozak (dab@moxie)
o Rajiv (
o Jack Carter (
o Richard Drapeau (
o Jym Dyer (
o Steve Dyer (
o Stefan Engstrom (stefan@helios.UCSC.EDU)
o Lemieux Francois (lemieuxf@ERE.UMontreal.CA)
o Scott Fisher (
o Dave Huddle (
o Tom F Karlsson (
o Bob Kummerfeld (
o Dr. Robert Lancashire (
o John Levine (
o Alex Lopez-Ortiz (
o Steven Miale (
o Alec Muffett (
o Dana Myers (myers@cypress.West.Sun.COM)
o Tim Nemec (
o Jim Pailin (
o Dave Palmer (
o Stuart Phillips (
o Cary A. Sandvig (
o Jesse T Sheidlower (
o Stepahine da Silva (
o Michael A Smith (
o Mari J. Stoddard (
o Thom (
o Deanna K. Tobin T.E. ( Nick Tsoukas
o Adam Turoff (
o Ganesh Uttam (
o David R. B. Walker ( Orion Wilson
o Piotr Wlaz (wlaz@plumcs11.umcs.lublin.ed)
o Ted Young (theodric@MIT.EDU)
o Steven Zikopoulos (

2. Copyright

This FAQ is Copyright (C) 1994,1995 by Alex Lopez-Ortiz. This text, in
whole or in part, may not be sold in any medium, including, but not
limited to, electronic, CD-ROM, or published in print, without the
explicit, written permission of Alex Lopez-Ortiz.

Copyright (C) 1994, Alex Lspez-Ortiz.
Alex Lopez-Ortiz FAX (519)-885-1208
Department of Computer Science University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1 Canada