god damn it, you've got to be kind
Caffeine: I remember back when I was a teenager up until about my senior year of college, I had bad cases of insomnia. After that, it mysteriously disappeared.

When a teenager, I really didn't monitor what I ate and drank and when I ate and drank it. Looking back, I can see plenty of times that I engorged myself with caffeine & sugary stuff, obviously something that could keep me awake long hours at night.

Nonetheless, there're possibilities of other issues at hand that had kept me up late at night, even though I have always had a sinking suspicion that caffeinated drinks after six may have had something to do with it, especially since I really really don't drink too much caffeinated drinks without that in mind these days and have found that recently, the only times I have trouble sleeping is when I eat a ton of chocolate after six, which incidentally, has caffeine in it, as I'm sure we all know.

I also have some interesting "clinical" stories of when I experimented with drinking a ton of caffeine intentionally.
--Mr. Lex Thu Sep 9 09:59:32 2004
Aw, right, Chocolate. I was trying to figure out what are the sources of caffeine in daily life. Coffee, Tea, and Soft Drinks seems to be the main culprits though, right?
--Kirk Thu Sep 9 10:11:45 2004
As far as I know, even though there are some other interesting chemicals that affect your hormones which cause stimulation, too. For instance, licorice can do a good number on you for keeping you alert and stuff, and I think it keeps the caffeine-like shakiness low, too. Whenever I need or want to stay up late for something, I generally like to combine a nice caffeinated soda and some licorice. Chocolate would probably make a good addition to that mix, too, just to help with a sense of well being.
--Mr. Lex Thu Sep 9 14:57:41 2004
For the two weeks I worked at Eon Entertainment I partook of the office coffee, which was my favorite Starbucks flaver: Verona. The mugs were larger than average and my friend Laura plied me with second and third cups to keep me alert as I scanned the background extras of Starship Troopers for dayplayers. As coffee lovers everywhere know, Starbucks is high octane, even the velvety mild Verona. My legs began to tingle and prick from what I am certain was circulation stress. I was sitting a lot...nevertheless, I gave up coffee for two weeks and I felt better although I can't explain it better than my insides felt less restricted (and I don't mean my intestines) I stay coffee free until my cousins in Texas offered me some of their favorite brand, Starbucks. Then dad took me to his neighbor's coffee shop, stocked with beans from the family's plantation in Nicaragua, and now I'm off the wagon. 

Usually I don't have coffee every day and in fact, when I had my first cappucino at Joe's in college, my heart pounded so hard I felt sick. But I can affirm that when you get up at 5am for a 6 to 6 film shoot, coffee is your best friend. 
--ErinMaru Thu Sep 9 15:32:49 2004
Yes. . .coffee does a hell of a number on my belly and intestines. Yech! Can't even drink the crap, even though I love the taste with sugar!
--Mr. Lex Thu Sep 9 15:48:17 2004
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The lite stuffAs a coffee lover, I'd love to turn my nose up at those who drink decaf  but it has its place, and I know that. Sometimes you want a cup at night and not be up till 4am. Sometimes you have to perfrom brain surgery and you'd rather not have shaky hands that morning. I get it, that's cool  I like to have chocolate and coffee milkshakes in the evening sometimes, and even I will opt for the low-test stuff then. But unlike soft drinks, coffee is naturally caffeinated. So how do they get rid of the caffeine and keep the flavor?No magic requiredMuch like skinning a cat, there's more than one way to decaffeinate coffee beans. I'll go ahead and list the three most common methods used today.Solvent methodThis method involves steaming the still green beans for 30 minutes or so. The beans are then rinsed with an organic solvent (usually dichloromethane or ethyl acetate) for up to 10 hours, then the solvent is drained off and the beans are steamed for another 10 hours or so to remove the residual solvent. After this, the beans are dried, then roasted as normal.Swiss Water ProcessThis approach to removing the caffeine from coffee was pioneered by the Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Company in the 1930s. In this process, a batch of unroasted green beans is soaked in hot water, releasing the caffeine. Once all the caffeine and coffee solids have been released into the water, the beans are discarded and the water is passed through a carbon filter that removes the caffeine but allows the coffee solids to pass through. Fresh green beans are then introduced to the solution, and since the solution is now full of coffee solids, only the caffeine diffuses from the new beans. This is then passed through the carbon filter again, and the process repeats until the vast majority of the caffeine is removed from the beans. The beans are then dried and roasted as normal.CO2 processThis one sounds like science fiction  but it's real. Green, unroasted beens are first steamed, then soaked in a bath of liquid carbon dioxide at a pressure of anywhere between 73 and 300 times normal atmospheric pressure. The beans are soaked this way for about 10 hours or so, then the CO2 is either allowed to evaporate off  taking the caffeine with it  or the pressurized CO2 is run through a charcoal filter to remove the caffeine.How decaf is decaf?The thing you have to realize here is decaffeinated is not the same thing as caffeine-free.  There's always some caffeine leftover even after the above processes have been run. Though modern decaffeination can remove up to 99% of caffeine from a given roast, there's still going to be some still in there. suggests that it may only take between 5 and 10 cups of decaf to equal the amount of caffeine in one cup of regular  though only may be a bit of a stretch to some of you and for others, well, that's a typical morning. Photo bya0
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