WickedEye's Quotient

12/13/2005 at 12:47

Stimulating Advice

I’d meant to post yesterday but was barely awake enough to comment on other blogs, much less compose a coherent entry for this one. This led me to a level of desperation I haven’t reached since college- specifically, the level reached on the third day of a 72-hour waking stretch (my skills have declined depressingly since)- and drove me to a trick I haven’t tried in 7 years. Ready for it?

I brewed tea in coffee.

Specifically, I soaked 4 teabags in a cup of coffee (the coffee’s not hot enough to get the bag to effuse properly, so you have to up the dosage for that and a few other reasons- more below) for 7 minutes, then drank the result.


“Argh” is an understatement. It does, however, wake you up.

The explanation of why this works much better than drinking double the amount of coffee is this: Only about half the stimulant properties of tea are due to caffeine; the other half are due to far smaller quantities of a stimulant called theophylline, which is in the same family as caffeine but is a much stronger physical (as opposed to neural) stimulant. Mixing the two, in other words, provides you with a helluva charge. If you mix them in the correct proportion, it comes as close to being the perfect stimulant (again, notes on this caveat below) as is legally possible without a prescription.

The “correct proportion” (from my experiments- rather subjective, but I do have notes) is approximately 1 part theophylline to 15 parts caffeine. Considering that a normally-brewed teabag will yield about 3-4 mg of theophylline, that a normal cup of coffee has 150-175 mg caffeine, and that the temperature of a fresh cup of drip coffee isn't high enough to extract the full 3 mg from the teabag, the 4-teabag to 10-oz mug of coffee trick works well.

For those of you saying “why doesn’t she just mix the tea and coffee?”- it’s because this family of chemicals is better absorbed and thus more immediately effective in more concentrated doses; and because, when you do that, you are diluting your intake of the active chemicals. You’re getting enough caffeine, but not nearly enough theophylline. Even insanely strong tea mixed with half a cup of coffee doesn’t work- you’re lessening the amount of caffeine that way. You just get “yuck” and (almost) no bang for your buck. (Sadly, yes- I did mean for that to rhyme.)

Which brings me to the numerous cautions involved with doing this- my disclaimer:
1. Don’t do this if you plan on tasting anything for the next half hour. It will take that long for your tongue to recover.
2. Don’t do this on an empty stomach. It will nauseate you and could cause diarrhea.
3. Don’t do this if you’re already taking smooth-muscle relaxants or neural stimulants of any kind. These include, but are not limited to, over-the-counter cough/cold medications, medication for congestive heart failure, any kind of anti-psychotic or anti-seizure medication, and asthma medication.
4. NEVER do this more twice in one day, regardless of whether you are or aren’t on any medication. Undiagnosed conditions are common, and shocking your system in this fashion is very decidedly not good for you. Which leads me to the final rule:
5. DON’T DO THIS UNLESS YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY DESPERATE.

Which I was.

And now that I’ve finished adding my bit of corrupting information to the world, I need to get back to work.





Anonymous Calladus said...

Hi!

I tried this today - and although it worked, I'm not so thrilled with the slight 'tunnel vision' effect that goes along with the increasing heart rate.  

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Blogger Scientiae said...

Good grief- what exigency drove you to try this?

There are a lot of not-so-thrilling side effects to this, um, process. I'm glad it worked for you, sorry you were tunneling on things, and very curious as to why you needed to try this in the first place.

Not really my business, I know, but indulge my curiosity if you can and let me know.  

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Anonymous Calladus said...

It's half the fault of staying up too late, (for a good cause) and half the fault of the European Union - specifically European Directives 2002/95/EC which references 1976/769/EEC as modified by 1991/338/EEC.

2002/95/EC is called "On the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment" and is lovingly known as "RoHS" by the electronics industry.

I'm just a poor electronic engineer caught up in the industry-wide scramble to meet an arbitrary deadline to make all electronics 'Green' by July of next year.

I *AM* interested in *some* aspects of *American* *Constitutional* law, but my job requires me to be familiar with EU environmental law - and it is boring! Expecially after not getting enough sleep!

And lastly, I'm a geek. I like to experiment for the sake of experimenting - and since my only 'drug' of choice is caffine.... well, it's a natural! (wait - does chocolate qualify as a drug?)  

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