Saturday, November 28, 2015

Does Philly need more strong coffee?

Maybe our politics would be better and cleaner if we all were more aware. Could coffee be the answer?

Does Philly need more strong coffee?


You know how everyone says Philly is content with its political corruption?

Well maybe it's because the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection is simply under-caffeinated.

Maybe if Philadelphians woke up and DRANK the coffee they'd be more aggressively involved in civics. Maybe the famed "Philly shrug" would be replaced by hyped-up, vein-popping citizen action.

A fun study of who drinks what kind of coffee where, served up by The Washington Post, includes a U.S. map showing Starbucks consumption by blend.

You can see the map here.

Findings include: the unsurprising fact folks in six southern states and Hawaii drink the most iced stuff; Seattle the most espresso; San Fran the most soy latte; bizarrely, Boston the most iced coffee; Memphis the most white chocolate moccha (I'm sensing an Elvis effect); and Philly has a thing for blonde roast.

Now you might think, well, in a progressive state such as Washington those Seattle folks are cranked on caffeine from espresso whereas in Philly that milder blonde roast is like sipping warm water -- relaxing.

But while it might appear darker roasts have more caffeine than lighter roasts, the opposite is often true. A common rule on caffeine content is if you brew at home a lighter roast has more caffeine but if you're getting coffee from a specialty shop the darker roast likely gets you more wired.

There are disagreements and caveats. A shot of espresso, for example, has less caffeine than a cup of coffee but that's due to serving size.

Anyway, the real issue I'm raising is overall consumption. Pennsylvania, as in so many things, is in the bottom end of coffee consumption among states, ranking 34th. And Philly doesn't break the top 15 among cities.

So, come on, Philly, wake up, drink up and get more engaged in the public debate.





Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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