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Maybe we should start calling it a cup of Josephine

Submitted by on Saturday, 27 December 2008 6 Comments

Dad’s always described himself as a wannabe coffee drinker.

He’ll go out with friends and try mightily, but no matter how embarrassingly much cream and sugar he loads in, he still winds up shaming himself by leaving a cup half full as I gaze longingly at a fine brew ruined by accoutrement.

I now know it’s not his fault. He can blame it on his gender.

According to new research at the University of Barcelona, men are wimps when it comes to caffeine. It hits the weaker sex just 10 minutes after drinking espresso, with the buzz continuing through out the day.

“Although both the men and women saw an improvement in their activity levels with the coffee, which increased in later measurements, we observed a greater impact among the males,” lead author Ana Adan said in an article on Medical News Today.

Oh, that explains so much.

Like why a former co-worker could cart a can of Red Bull with him in the morning — a mere 80 milligrams of caffeine while I’m chugging drip brew — 145 milligrams — in a sometimes vain attempt to keep from nodding off in afternoon meetings.

And it explains why a friend can pull an all-nighter fueled only by Coke — the cola, that is, at 34 milligrams — while I can nod off after a latte — 158 milligrams.

And why Dad can be wired for sound until 3 a.m. after a single Diet Mountain Dew — 55 milligrams — while even a grande Cafe Americana — 225 milligrams — won’t do it for me.

Evidently Santa already knew this. Dad’s stocking had Diet Pepsi — 36 milligrams — while mine had a bag of Starbucks French Roast.

The lady at the local grocery store coffee shop figured it out a few weeks back, when I ordered a Peets Major Dickason’s Blend and Dad did, too. “If she can handle it, so can I.”

“Do you want room for cream?” she asked him, but not me. Could be because I’m a regular, though, and always dismiss the “room for cream” question with a snarl that says “give me the full hit, and give it to me now.”

“Yes,” he replied

And despite adding about a half inch of milk and Splenda, he spewed the first sip.

“My God, how do you stand this?”

Stand it? It was my fourth cup of the day, and I sucked it down like a crack head in need of a hit.

I’m not blaming him. Turns out his chromosomes just won’t let him take it like a woman.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Joann said:

    I don’t know, Debra; sounds like you’re mistaking the strength of the brew with the amount of caffeine it has. Not always the case. I could make my decaf so strong nobody could drink it, but it’d still be decaf.

  • Debra said:

    In some cases, like with the Major Dickason’s incident, that’s true in a way, except that had to do with the darkness of the roast. Dark roasts like Major Dickason, French roast do have less caffeine because more caffeine cooks out during the roasting process.

    Otherwise, though, it was an apples to apples comparison. Or maybe arabica to arabica in this case.

    One Cafe Americana — that’s several espresso shots — and I can doze off at my normal time. One Diet Dew and Dad’s awake until the wee hours.

    Now, I’m sure part of that has to do with the caffeine load to which we’re both accustomed, and I can say my usual is quite massive.

    And I’m sure those same differences existed in the 668 research volunteers in Barcelona, too. But, bottom line, the study showed the buzz hit men quicker and stayed with them longer. Frankly, I’m a bit jealous that I’m not a cheaper coffee drunk.

  • MtnMom said:

    Has he tried a latte? That’s the only way I can get the caffiene without injuring my tummy. A latte? A mocha latte? Anything kinda latte?
    Wow. We gotta pray for that guy!

  • Debra said:

    He’ll do latte once in a while — particularly when it’s Pumpkin Spice Latte season at Starbucks — but I think you lose Tough Guy points with your friends when you’re a guy sitting at a coffee shop sipping latte. I haven’t confirmed that, though years of anecdotal evidence support that conclusion. :)

    So he sips the weakest brew he can find and loads it up with cream and Splenda.

  • Pastel said:

    I have known guys such as this! Also, I haven’t had a latte since my machine died. Here I am trying to cut down on coffee, but a latte sounds so good right now. Excellent article, Debra. I was just beginning on The Hive when you quit. Miss your articles. Glad MtnMom steered us over here!

  • Debra said:

    Thanks, Pastel! Yes, I remember seeing you and your icon on The Hive. Glad you made your way over here. :) MtnMom’s good people!

    Sadly, I’m so far gone even a latte wouldn’t help me cut back because I make mine with a triple shot. Plus there’s the sugar buzz, too. Back during the heat wave last summer, I lived on iced lattes for a few days.

    We got into the Davinci Syrups back when I was afraid Boots was allergic to corn — the all-natural syrups are made with REAL sugar — and now there’s a line o bottles on the kitchen counter. The guys drink decaf, though. Heaven help me if they had the real thing. I should check out some sugar-free varieties, too, and review them. We’ve been really happy with the all-natural, even the blueberry and strawberry.