a fairy dies every time you ask the question – by Aaron De Lazzer

Ethical Bean Coffee Cup is held.


Two bucks in your pocket and that hot little beverage of kings is yours. Rich? Poor? It doesn’t matter. It’s a simple and accessible pleasure that cuts across vast tracts of people and cultures. It meets you where you are. There is a civility to pausing for a cup. It nurtures. It provides companionship. Ideas march into your mind like so many goose-stepping soldiers. Words flow. Optimism rises like a new day. All this to say nothing of the iron bending strength it lends to your psyche.

Coffee. Attractive to say the least and part and parcel of the package that a humble cup brings in it’s daily service to those who imbibe.

Many of these positive associations rise from our good friend caffeine. But is it all about the caffeine? I hope not.

As someone involved in the taste of coffee as a profession, the curating of flavours to maximize the seductive powers of grand cru coffees on my palate is pretty core. Sure the caffeine is part of the attraction but is fine wine just about the alcohol? Of course not. Such outlooks verge on the socially gauche end of the spectrum.

There are few bits of coffee trivia that can remove all the wind from my sails as the sometimes question, sometimes statement: “Lighter roasted coffee has more caffeine than darker roasted coffee, doesn’t it?”

It’s often posed as a question but with a fair amount of authority too, such is the strength of this urban myth. In fact I can think of few others associated with coffee that have had the same tenacity.

I want to respond “Really? Are we still there? Who cares?!”

I want to spare you the exhaustive treatise for or against the above statement. The take home message is that this, for all intents and purposes is not true.

For those who would like to get out your rapier and duel over the melting point of caffeine etc., please don’t. I will concede that there are some clever arguments on both sides that can present an outcome most favourable to their belief. At the end of the day however, the differences discussed are so small it is not worth talking about and falls into the realm of that other hotly contested question, “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”

I don’t have that kind of time and neither do you.

Want more caffeine. Drink more coffee. Want less caffeine. Drink less coffee. Trying to finesse your caffeine intake alternating between light roasted and dark roasted coffee is madness.

And besides, a fairy dies every time you ask the question. So please, don’t.

Leave a Reply