The King Who Hated Coffee

The King Who Hated Coffee

Gustav III of Sweden's coffee experiment

Gustav III was King of Sweden from 1771 until his death in 1792, and he was no fan of either coffee or tea. He also realized that a simple edict banning the drink wouldn’t be good enough, so he engaged in an experiment. He had available to him two prisoners who were identical twins and who were scheduled to be executed (they were convicted of murder). Gustav III commuted their sentences to life imprisonment, but with a catch. For the rest of their lives, one of the prisoners had to drink three pots of coffee a day while the other had to drink three pots of tea daily. Gustav III figured that both would fall ill (and likely die) quickly, proving once and for all that the health effects of coffee and tea are dramatic and terrible. The PR campaign was a massive failure, both brothers outlived the first doctor who administered the doses, and, for that matter, both outlived Gustav III as well (To be fair, Gustav was assassinated at age 46.). The first of the two drinkers to die was the tea drinker, who did so at age 83.

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