17 votes

Is coffee essential? Switzerland says no.

20 comments

  1. [18]
    cos Link
    Oh wow, I had no idea such government-organized stockpiles existed in the first place. Funny enough, I formed an opinion immediately after reading the article. No matter how addicted I am to the...

    Oh wow, I had no idea such government-organized stockpiles existed in the first place. Funny enough, I formed an opinion immediately after reading the article. No matter how addicted I am to the stuff, the promise of coffee during the apocalypse isn't worth $2.7 million/year. That money is better spent elsewhere.

    4 votes
    1. [10]
      ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      There are other kinds of stockpiles that you wouldn't think of. For example, in the US, the government is suing a raisin farmer for withholding his stockpile supply. I'd say it's worth it. I mean,...

      There are other kinds of stockpiles that you wouldn't think of. For example, in the US, the government is suing a raisin farmer for withholding his stockpile supply.

      the promise of coffee during the apocalypse isn't worth $2.7 million/year

      I'd say it's worth it. I mean, suppose the civilization collapses. Isn't that the time you need coffee? Those solar panels won't build themselves.

      On a more serious note. Arts in the US gets $1.5bn. Most of the US' discretionary spending gets $10bn+. $2m is nothing, even if your federal budget (which is about third of the country's budget overall, the rest being local-level governments) is ~66bn CHF, which is so close to USD value it's not worth translating. Sounds like it's worth keeping a stockpile of the stuff in, even if it isn't essential to human life (which it isn't, no matter how strongly you pray on it in the morning).

      Fun fact: you can't get addicted to coffee¹. What you can get is dependence, which is non-compulsive yet withdrawal-producing. You will get jittery but won't crave another cup.

      ¹ "Long-term caffeine use can lead to mild physical dependence. A withdrawal syndrome characterized by drowsiness, irritability, and headache typically lasts no longer than a day. True compulsive use of caffeine has not been documented." Malenka RC, Nestler EJ, Hyman SE (2009). "Chapter 15: Reinforcement and Addictive Disorders". In Sydor A, Brown RY. Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. p. 375. ISBN 9780071481274.

      9 votes
      1. [7]
        Gaywallet (edited ) Link Parent
        Yikes at that article reference on caffeine withdrawal. Here's a better source. To state that caffeine withdrawal "typically lasts no longer than a day" is jumping to a lot of conclusions about...

        Yikes at that article reference on caffeine withdrawal. Here's a better source. To state that caffeine withdrawal "typically lasts no longer than a day" is jumping to a lot of conclusions about the person prior caffeine consumption and "drowsiness, irritability, and headache" are not the only possible side effects.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          user2 Link Parent
          Where in the wiki's article does it state that it lasts no longer than a day? Here's what it says: "His research suggested that withdrawals began within 12–24 hours after stopping caffeine intake...

          Where in the wiki's article does it state that it lasts no longer than a day? Here's what it says:

          "His research suggested that withdrawals began within 12–24 hours after stopping caffeine intake and could last as long as nine days."

          EDIT: Ah, it says in the references section.

          2 votes
          1. Gaywallet Link Parent
            Apologies if it was unclear, it's the reference I was referring to.

            Apologies if it was unclear, it's the reference I was referring to.

            1 vote
        2. [4]
          ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
          You know what, that's the first time I hear someone go "Yikes, that Wikipedia article is bad".

          You know what, that's the first time I hear someone go "Yikes, that Wikipedia article is bad".

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            Gaywallet Link Parent
            Apologies, I was reacting to the reference, not the article itself. I worded it poorly.

            Apologies, I was reacting to the reference, not the article itself. I worded it poorly.

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
              I see. You meant "article" as in "journal article". Why is it a bad article?

              I see. You meant "article" as in "journal article".

              Why is it a bad article?

              2 votes
              1. Gaywallet Link Parent
                Well technically it was from a book. The quote is bad for the reasons I outlined - the author is jumping to conclusions about the person's prior caffeine consumption and they do a poor job...

                Well technically it was from a book. The quote is bad for the reasons I outlined - the author is jumping to conclusions about the person's prior caffeine consumption and they do a poor job characterizing side effects by only listing out the side effects that are mild. It feels like someone characterizing a condition by only the mildest sufferers.

                1 vote
      2. [2]
        lol Link Parent
        Haven’t there been studies linking the renaissance to the rise in coffee consumption? It may not be life or death, but I wouldn’t be surprised if coffee is more significant to our society then...

        Haven’t there been studies linking the renaissance to the rise in coffee consumption? It may not be life or death, but I wouldn’t be surprised if coffee is more significant to our society then people think. And yea $2 million is nothing in macroeconomic terms, and I’d say it's a worthwhile investment to preserve something so fundamental to our culture.

        Oh yea and caffeine dependency is gnarly, I knew a guy who had to drink monsters all day or he’d start having withdrawals, akin to alcohol withdraws. Most people don’t know this but coffee is about as addictive as nicotine, I still drink it pretty often, but it’s important not to overdo it.

        1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
          That's a territory you dive into, not walk into slowly, isn't it? You don't just start with a cup a day and suddenly you're spending the last cash you have on energy drinks (which, assuming ~150mg...

          I knew a guy who had to drink monsters all day or he’d start having withdrawals, akin to alcohol withdraws

          That's a territory you dive into, not walk into slowly, isn't it? You don't just start with a cup a day and suddenly you're spending the last cash you have on energy drinks (which, assuming ~150mg of caffeine per 3-in-1 sachet, isn't even cost-effective anymore).

          I drink 2 sachets of Nescafé in a mug (500ml), twice a day, almost every day. It barely has an effect on me. It's tasty, though, and it's a hot drink, which is good after a meal – and I think it does something that I'm not quite aware of, though I'm not sure. It's just become a staple.

          Most people don’t know this but coffee is about as addictive as nicotine

          That is a bold statement that I can't find any support for.

    2. NaraVara (edited ) Link Parent
      It's not for an "apocalypse" so much as contingencies that interrupt supply. This can be stuff like regular natural disasters or major shocks to supply such as some kind of infection that kills...

      It's not for an "apocalypse" so much as contingencies that interrupt supply. This can be stuff like regular natural disasters or major shocks to supply such as some kind of infection that kills the crops or a crisis in the region that grows them that interrupts deliveries through wars, embargoes, etc. It could also just be war in Switzerland that makes it hard to bring stuff in.

      Coffee and tea actually have pretty strong morale boosting effects in circumstances like the latter situation. It provides break time and something for the group to gather around. The caffeine is also nice when everyone is tired and has a lot of work to do.

      This is why it's a standard part of army rations. The British Army thinks tea is critical enough that they take up precious space in cramped tanks to put water-boilers (using waste heat from the engine) for tea.

      7 votes
    3. [3]
      Octofox Link Parent
      It kind of makes sense. In a terrible situation you want everyone to be as calm and happy as possible, A terrible situation + lack of something people crave is going to make things even worse.

      It kind of makes sense. In a terrible situation you want everyone to be as calm and happy as possible, A terrible situation + lack of something people crave is going to make things even worse.

      6 votes
      1. culturedleftfoot Link Parent
        Ehh... even putting aside my own personal distaste for coffee, I'm not sure that's enough justification. They might as well stockpile weed too, by that logic. Somewhere like Ethiopia, where...

        Ehh... even putting aside my own personal distaste for coffee, I'm not sure that's enough justification. They might as well stockpile weed too, by that logic. Somewhere like Ethiopia, where coffee's essential to the social fabric of the nation, I could maybe agree with you, but the Swiss could probably get more mileage out of those funds serving a greater majority and/or a more vulnerable minority of the populace in some other way.

        2 votes
      2. emdash Link Parent
        Doesn't even have to be a craving. Ensuring the supply of a function of modern life for a lot of people goes a long way to providing a sense of normalcy. Although that may be exactly what you mean!

        Doesn't even have to be a craving. Ensuring the supply of a function of modern life for a lot of people goes a long way to providing a sense of normalcy.

        Although that may be exactly what you mean!

    4. [2]
      nsz Link Parent
      The article also makes the point that coffee is widespread enough that it could be sourced elsewhere in an emergency, so a government stockpile is unnecessary.

      The article also makes the point that coffee is widespread enough that it could be sourced elsewhere in an emergency, so a government stockpile is unnecessary.

      4 votes
      1. AresUII Link Parent
        A personal stockpile may still be nice if the roads go to shit.

        A personal stockpile may still be nice if the roads go to shit.

        1 vote
    5. mftrhu Link Parent
      2.7M CHF per year is much, much less than what I expected it to cost. 2.7M is basically peanuts on this scale. From the article, That's just over thirty cents per person-year! I wish they could...

      No matter how addicted I am to the stuff, the promise of coffee during the apocalypse isn't worth $2.7 million/year.

      2.7M CHF per year is much, much less than what I expected it to cost. 2.7M is basically peanuts on this scale.

      From the article,

      Residents consume about 9 kilograms (or 20 pounds) of coffee per person annually, compared to 3.3 kilograms for the average British citizen and 4.5 for Americans [...] Reserve companies pay 3.75 Swiss francs for every 100 kilograms of imported beans

      That's just over thirty cents per person-year!

      I wish they could hook me up with their dealers, even the shittiest brands cost more than €0.30 per kg.

      2 votes
  2. aphoenix Link
    Coffee isn't essential to live, but it is essential to be civilized. But being civilized obviously isn't essential for life.

    Coffee isn't essential to live, but it is essential to be civilized. But being civilized obviously isn't essential for life.

    1 vote
  3. rickdg Link
    Thanks Switzerland, more coffee for the rest of us.

    Thanks Switzerland, more coffee for the rest of us.

    3 votes