Espresso overdose

People suffering the side effects of drug-overdose, that’s something that becomes all too common. Both for medicine, and for “recreational” drugs.

But overdosing on espresso, now that’s something that you don’t hear about every day.

Jasmine Willis, 17, developed a fever and began hyperventilating after drinking seven double espressos while working at her family’s sandwich shop.

That’s a lot of espresso. And the effects seem quite severe:

She developed a fever and began struggling to breathe after being sent home by her father.

“My nerves were all over the place. I was drenched. I was burning up and hyperventilating. I was having palpitations, my heart was beating so fast and I thought I was going into shock”

The teenager, who was allowed home after a few hours of observation, suffered side effects for days afterwards and now says she cannot stand the sight of coffee.

She did have some excuse for drinking so much espresso… She thought the cups she drank were regular (i.e. short) espressos, not double. An interesting point, but it suffers from a couple of problems:

  1. Seven cups of espresso are a heck of a lot, even if they’re short espressos. So she thought she was fine because she was only drinking an extreme amount of coffee, and not a massively extreme amount? Even seven short espressos would finish up most people.
  2. She was working there. The family’s shop. So it’s natural to assume she was making these espressos herself, on the machine in the shop. Very very hard to miss the fact that you’re getting doubles when you make them[1] yourself.

At least she finished this alive and well. Hopefully she’ll go easy on the espressos from here on.

Seven double espressos… Yikes!

Some quick background-info on espresso

For those not familiar with basic espresso terminology:

  • Short – the “basic” espresso. Single amounts of coffee and water.
  • Long – Single amount of coffee (as in Short), double amount of water[2].
  • Double – Twice the amount of coffee, twice the amount of water. Like pouring two short espressos together. Yes, that’s exactly what the word double would imply.

The amount of water in a short espresso, and this is important, is supposed to be very very small. It’s amazing how many times you can ask for an espresso in a restaurant, and get a whole cup[3] of coffee…

The espresso should also be served straight away, while it’s still hot, and you can still see the thin layer of foam on the top.

Basically: too cold – too bitter, too much water – too bitter. Simple, really.

  1. well, press the selection buttons, at the very least. I don’t know what machine they’re using, and how automatic it is.[back]
  2. You’d think it would dilute the coffee taste, but in practice it just makes the espresso taste more bitter[back]
  3. The fault of two things, mainly. The cluelessness on the side of the people calibrating the machines, and serving the coffee. And the misguided idea that customers are happier when you give them more, so maybe they’d prefer a large full cup rather than a small and nearly empty one[back]

One Response to “Espresso overdose”

  1. Joanna Szandrocha, Collingham, London England says:

    Coffee has a lot of caffeine and thus is verw unhelathy especially espresso which is even stronger in terms of caffeine.

    Joanna Szandrocha, Collingham, London England

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