Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World

Caffeine is a 2 hour Audible original that I thought could be a great morning read while I was, well, drinking coffee. It's all of Pollan's classic witticisms in a 2 hour anthology on coffee, tea, and caffeine.

As a reader, I'm biased. I fall under your archetypical coffee-is-my-hobby bucket, so I already knew some of the typical caffeine-adjacent facts, like how we think an Ethiopian goat herder first "discovered" coffee or the political significance of English coffeehouses. And you don't need a biochemistry degree is have figured that coffee isn't always be the best for your sleep.

Still in typical Pollan fashion, I thoroughly enjoyed these short but well-rounded rabbit holes. I learned a ton, like about the evolution of the coffee plant and the concerning realization that Voltaire drank 40 cups of coffee a day... and so maybe we need to re-contextualize some of his more famous sayings.

I did have an eyebrow raised when he spent the first 20 minutes musing about his own personal relationship with coffee and the last 20 minutes with still more reflection. Can't fault the fella, it's a free book for Audible.

TL;DR: Caffeine is a fun, short, and editorialized journey on caffeine's "origin story" and historical impact. We should probably drink a little less of it, too.