Steady Hands
June 10, 2009 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Is there a vocal anti-caffeine group, similar to the Straight Edge movement/ True Love Waits/ AA / Vegans/ er.. Pro-Lifers*?, etc.-- that specifically focuses on caffeine?

*(LMAO-- okay, Pro-lifers was a bad example.
"I used to have an abortion every day! couldn't leave the house without one.")

I'm a caffeine junkie through and through; I'm not trying to quit, and I don't suspect that I ever will-- that's not why I'm asking

(I've historically taken the "do it or stop" view when it comes to any sort of chemical, and have never had a problem "trying" to quit anything. but who cares?).

The reason I'm asking is that I saw a band named after a specific kind of tea a while ago, whose myspace profile declared the tea to be

"full of energy but free of caffeine, just as we are,"

and it struck me as unnecessary and unusual to make such a declaration; made me curious as to whether it is a common thing, specifically whether there are organized, named groups that take said apparently hard stance.

I know Straight Edge seems to have various-- well-documented-- stages of strictness (re: caffeine/nicoteine/OTC pain meds like aspirin, etc) just as vegetarianism and veganism in fact do (re: fish or not/"organic" and related distinctions/strict fruitarianism, etc etc), but I have never heard of an Ex-Joe kind of brigade.

I'm genuinely curious, but parody sites and such a la "People for the Ethical Treatment of Vegetables" are also welcome, and the discussion should be thought to eventually include other real-life, arguably 'out-there' anti-groups that you may know of in general as well.

It seems that most groups who base their identity on the fact that they are "anti-" anything are ineffective at best and insane at worst, and they usually make for an interesting study in social science.
posted by candyhammer to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Mormon Church is against many other things too, but they are against caffeine.

So not an exact answer, but maybe the band in question were mormon?
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:06 PM on June 10, 2009

mormons - polygamy, funny underwear and no caffeine are the 3 biggest things they get teased about (and only 2 of them are factually relevant). it can make kids take a very strong anti approach to caffeine who got teased for it their entire school life.
posted by nadawi at 3:10 PM on June 10, 2009

Mormons are the only high profile group I know of who eschew caffeine.
posted by jessamyn at 3:10 PM on June 10, 2009

The Mormon Church is against many other things too, but they are against caffeine.

This is not terribly accurate. I won't go into it all here, except to say that, while there are certain strongly anti-caffeine elements present in Mormon culture, and lots of members of the Church believe that caffeine is prohibited as a matter of doctrine, there are just as many mainstream members of the Church, including those in significant leadership roles, who disagree with that sentiment (I am one of them). That said, I can imagine that there might be some Mormons who are zealous enough about the whole caffeine thing to make that big a deal of drinking some specific brand of caffeine-free tea. I mean, Postum existed and was a Utah Mormon staple for a long, long time, so stranger things have happened.
posted by The World Famous at 3:14 PM on June 10, 2009

what's funny is that, officially, there is no commandment in the mormon church against caffeine.

wiki's page on the word of wisdom (the section of mormon scripture that deals with beer, coffee, red meat, and the like)
posted by nadawi at 3:14 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

the world famous - what's even funnier is that joseph smith was very clear that the word of wisdom prohibited coffee and tea, so caffeine free tea wouldn't be ok.
posted by nadawi at 3:16 PM on June 10, 2009

In re comments about Mormonism/caffeine.

The Word of Wisdom prohibits, among other things, "hot drinks", which is taken by most members to mean tea and coffee. However, a large percentage of members will take this to the next level and ban anything caffeinated. The Church itself doesn't specifically advocate against caffeine; it's just a common trait among the more devout members.
posted by reductiondesign at 3:24 PM on June 10, 2009

Seventh Day Adventists don't drink caffeinated beverages--it was officially prohibited for a long time, and now it's officially discouraged. Rastafarians don't drink coffee, but I don't remember about tea.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:28 PM on June 10, 2009

official missive from the LDS

"With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided."

it's not "just a common trait among the more devout members", but it is also not specifically prohibited.
posted by nadawi at 3:31 PM on June 10, 2009

Stricter groups of Rastafarians and Seventh Day Adventists avoid caffeine. This is apparently less common now than it used to be.

I'm not aware of any non-religious group based around avoiding caffeine.
posted by ODiV at 3:34 PM on June 10, 2009

I seriously saw a job ad on Craigslist the other day for a site that was something like "Coffee" and seemed to be militantly anti-.
posted by Kirklander at 3:45 PM on June 10, 2009

The protagonist of Mark Helprin's "Memoirs from Antproof Case" is hilariously anti-coffee, not for any religious reasons.
posted by Gortuk at 4:17 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

the closest thing to coffee that I found was a blog about advertising and biased Google results.
posted by candyhammer at 4:22 PM on June 10, 2009

THIS POST is number four on google search for 'anti-caffeine group', even without quotation marks.

(look just above for the last three words out of my virtual mouth before I conducted the search).
posted by candyhammer at 4:35 PM on June 10, 2009

I also just looked at the band's myspace page again, to sniff for Joseph Smith homages or such, and I noticed that the band has updated that blurb:

"[pepsi blue-less band name] is named after a traditional South American tea, which provides one with natural good feeling and energy. Our band also contains a bit of South American flavor (the lead singer is from Colombia and the guitarist is half Colombian) and also provides one with good feeling and energy. Cool huh?"

*pops open a warm Dr. Pepper
posted by candyhammer at 4:43 PM on June 10, 2009

If the band does have a genuine anti-caffeine stance, they're going to be disappointed:

Maté products are sometimes falsely marketed as "caffeine-free" alternatives to coffee and tea, and said to have fewer negative effects. This is based on a mistaken claim that the primary active xanthine in maté is "mateine", erroneously said to be a stereoisomer of caffeine. However, it is not chemically possible for caffeine to have a stereoisomer, and "mateine" is an official synonym of caffeine in the chemical databases

posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:07 PM on June 10, 2009

Hare Krishnas / Vaishnavas avoid caffeine, in my limited experience.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:29 PM on June 10, 2009

I seriously saw a job ad on Craigslist the other day for a site that was something like "Coffee" and seemed to be militantly anti-.

I swear I've seen this site. I can't seem to find it now, though. However, books like The Truth About Caffeine and Caffeine Blues are (as you might infer) strongly anti-caffeine.
posted by collectallfour at 5:31 PM on June 10, 2009

Most Buddhists keep a precept to refrain from intoxicants, and a minority would include caffeine in that category.
posted by phrontist at 5:33 PM on June 10, 2009

Doesn't tea have some other alkaloid that's just as perky as caffeine?
posted by bz at 5:48 PM on June 10, 2009

I avoid caffeine pretty intensely, but that's because I'm addicted and cannot control my intake. If I start drinking it, I'll have all sorts of minor but annoying ancillary health issues creep up and these seem to get a little worse the older I get. So naturally, I'm very anti-caffeine consumption with respect to my own behavior. And I've been known to say that stimulants (high fructose corn syrup, caffeine, and nicotine) are the true fuels of Western economy, but really I don't see much point in trying to convince other people to stop consuming them.
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:44 PM on June 10, 2009

One difference among "anti-" groups is that some acknowledge individual responses/allergies to the substance in question. For instance I've discovered that my own body doesn't get much of a buzz from caffeine or nicotine, but I do for sugar. So I read the "anti" sugar literature for tips on cooking with less sugar.
Would society as a whole be better off with less sugar? Probaby.

Being "anti-" some particular activity is a slightly different story. No doubt that society would be safer if no one broke the speed limit, or gambled their pay-check away, or had un-safe sex, but despite the many lives broken or lost by these risky activities, lots of people seem to get away with it for a good long time.
posted by markhu at 9:20 AM on June 11, 2009

« Older Is Free Trade a Sham   |   Can we, and should we, try to help this bullied... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.