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9 Things You Should Know About Your Caffeine Habit

A chat with Murray Carpenter, author of the book "Caffeinated: How Our Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us"

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8. Caffeine could be way better for us—and also way worse—than we know. 

"This is the question I got all the time: What's the verdict? Is it good or is it bad? If I had a simple answer, it would have been a five-page book. It can be more effective than I had any idea, in terms of improving your alertness, your cognition, your athletic ability. It can have stronger more acute effects on sleep and anxiety than I'd imagined. It can be terrific. I think it's important that everybody recognize how much is good for them, what it does for them when they take it, what they feel like when they don't take it, and experiment."

9. You're not as much of a coffee buff as you think. 

"I thought I was a coffee snob before reporting this book. I had no idea. I went into a very high-end coffee shop in New York, and ordered a pour-over, which is a fancy name for filter drip coffee right into a cup. A great way to make coffee, but there's nothing particularly new about it. The guy who was serving me first had a little gram scale, and he weighed out the grounds on the scale, poured them into the thing…and then he weighed the water. That struck me as over the top. You see it all over the place.

"Other people talk to me about seasonality: 'In this season, Colombian coffee is particularly fruity.' There are a lot of people who are full of shit. But people are way on the edge of this. On the plus side, we do live in the golden age of coffee. It's easier to go out anywhere you want—in San Francisco, or even in this little town of Belfast, Maine [where Murray lives]—and just get a really good cup of coffee any time you want it."


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