Apr 092013

One surprising thing I learned recently is that coffee is losing its effect. Here’s a diagram from Science which shows how coffee’s ability to stimulate is undergoing exponential decay:


I don’t drink the stuff myself (too acidic), so I’m not concerned. But I wrote about the “brewing” state of affairs on the New Yorker’s website: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/shouts/2013/04/the-day-coffee-stopped-working.html

 Posted by at 11:57 pm  Add comments

  5 Responses to “The Day Coffee Stopped Working”

  1. I’m curious – what is coffee symbolic of in this essay? Lab-grown food? Our dependence on imported oil? Or is it up to the reader? You’ve got me thinking!

    • Hello! Thank you for asking. When I set out to write this, I wasn’t really thinking of coffee as a symbol – it was more that one day as I was drinking some coffee I thought, “Oh my god, what if I couldn’t do this anymore?”

      So I guess coffee itself isn’t symbolic of something (to me), but I think the piece is informed by my anxiety about global warming – both the effects we’ll see in the future and the scary possibility that there isn’t much that can be done to avoid them. Either because it’s actually impossible or because it’s just way too difficult politically.

  2. Great piece! I would have missed this except I actually Googled the words “coffee stopped working” (no kidding!). The past couple of weeks I’ve found my usual single cup of coffee in the morning has not been effective. I’ve been trying to figure out if its allergies or maybe some other explanation. Now I know.

    • Thanks, Mark! Now that coffee no longer works, I’ve found that opium tea is an almost-adequate replacement. It tastes disgusting but it’s a hot, drinkable liquid and it makes your thoughts cloudy enough that you almost forget coffee is gone forever.

  3. Hello John,

    First off, amazing work! I enjoyed your piece very much. The first time I read it was about a week after it was posted in the New Yorker. I had an assignment in my screenwriting class to find an article or short story to adapt.

    Now, two years later, I am in my thesis class. A class in which we must produce a script as our final project. Since that day, two years ago, I’ve been wanting to shoot an adapted script of your piece. I am here to ask for permission, from you, to shoot it for my thesis project. I am not planning to gain any profit from the project I just want to shoot a fantastic story! I would love to hear from you!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>