Is today’s coffee too strong to drink? Writer and veteran caffeine consumer Marnie Hanel investigates.
Lately I feel as though I’m rolling the dice every time I order a coffee. Sometimes I drink it and I’m perfectly fine. Other times, the most seemingly innocuous cup will send me skyrocketing. Lest you think I’m a wimp, the other day I went to a single-origin tasting at the Portland, Oregon, headquarters of Stumptown, and the man behind the bar warned me against drinking the coffee. “This cup is not a cup,” he said, handing me a cup. Channeling Napa, perhaps, he revealed that this not-a-cup was a spittoon. “The goal of the tasting is to get as much information as possible before you get caffeinated out of your dome,” he said. That seemed strange since he’d only brewed enough coffee for each person in our group to consume a total of about one cup. Is today’s coffee too strong to actually drink?
These days, coffee is better on every level than it was even a few years ago. But while the drink has changed, our coffee-consuming habits haven’t kept up. In the past, it was easy to identify a situation that could lead to over-caffeination: drinking cup after cup of thin, bitter coffee. But now it’s become easy to overlook the cues.