• Daniel Mollenkamp

The Caffeine Confessional


I know a man who, told by his doctor that he had developed acid reflux, and that it would go away if only he’d lay off the coffee for a few months, said he’d rather keep the reflux.


Caffeine now holds a place very similar to the one nicotine held a half century ago.

It is everywhere. The health effects aren’t entirely known. It is, fairly obviously, an addictive substance.


Though the science is not “in” on the long-term effects of acceptable doses of caffeine; the effects of, say, two cups of coffee a day; most of my favorite people take caffeine in unacceptable doses. (I’m on my second cup since starting this post a few minutes ago.)


Interestingly, caffeine has been used as a treatment for some illnesses (as nicotine was years ago). Caffeinated enemas have been used to treat cancer, for example.

“Modern society has lost a sense of sin,” a Catholic website reads.


I wonder if it has.


Through this blog, I intend to investigate the cultural lineaments of caffeine in one of its most pervasive forms.


How and why did coffee become ubiquitous, even as cigarettes have begun to phase out? How much caffeine is “healthy “? What are some potential long term effects? What have other cultures thought about coffee? What are the political consequences of sipping coffee? How do I deal with an obnoxious barista? Why are they so obnoxious, anyways?


More interestingly, to take on the Catholic website: what does coffee reveal about the contemporary sense of sin?


What if chemical dependency has overtaken depredations of the soul, and Alcoholics Anonymous has supplanted the Catholic Church? (Some of its social functions, anyway.) Well, let’s try the idea on for size.

Addiction is the new sin. Addicts Anonymous, the new confessional; marking the same moral boundary as Peter’s church once did, and even receiving state subventions.


I am not sure this medium makes for a good confessional. I am not even sure a confessional is what I want. After all, sin has its charms. But buzzed on caffeine as I am, I don’t think I can control myself.


So, I’ll make you a deal.


I promise to post with some regularity for the next few months. I promise to be engaging if not entertaining. All you have to do is check in and be engaged. (Perhaps over an overpriced latte?)

I will not, however, promise to come to definite conclusions. Nor will I absolve you of your transgressions, past or future.


A new post will be found every other week.


Today’s intake: 3 sixteen-ounce cups of coffee, with half and half; 1 twelve-ounce mocha.


Original post: https://caffeineconfessions.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/the-confessional/

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