VIDEO: A KUOW Producer's Brain On 13 Cups Of Coffee | KUOW News and Information

VIDEO: A KUOW Producer's Brain On 13 Cups Of Coffee

Sep 29, 2014

Left to right: Carissa Leeson, Christine Howard, Matt Streib and Pete Messling discuss coffee addiction at Espresso Vivace on Broadway. Matt has just finished his first cup of the day (at 11:37 a.m.) and is feeling great!
Credit KUOW Photo/Jenna Montgomery

From the producer who brought you fresh, raw Nigerian dwarf goat milk comes this manic coffee crawl. 

On Sunday, in a test of wits and celebration of International Barista Day, KUOW's Matthew Streib drank 13 cups of coffee across Capitol Hill. (He’s typically a one- or two-cups kinda guy.)

His goal was to test how more than 100 ounces of caffeine would affect his system and his faculties. Professor Jaime Diaz of the University of Washington told us that it would take about 10,000 milligrams to overdose -- and require a stomach pumping. Although Matthew ended up consuming about a third that much, his experience -- racing heart, an overwhelming sense of anxiety -- indicated that he was coming close.

Diaz told us that more people are dying from caffeine overdose because they are ingesting it in powder and pill form. "If you take a high dose, there’s no taking that back unless you stomach pump," he said.

On his coffee crawl, Matthew started out tired. By the end of this three-hour misery tour, he was alternately angry and euphoric. He drank coffee black and tan, brimming with whipped cream and spiced with pumpkin. He peed four times and vomited once.

Vivace 
8 oz Americano ($2.50)

It's 11:37 a.m. and I am tired. I went to bed very late last night but I am not hungover, so this coffee is not a hangover cure. We will see where this goes.

“There have been customers from out of town who want to try a little bit of everything,” the barista tells me. “There’s a guy I made two double shots for, two macchiatos, two cappuccinos. By the time he got done with his last cappuccino, he was sweating bullets. He was like, asking me to call him a cab because he needed to get to his hotel before his world came crashing down.”

TNT (8 oz drip, $1.50)

Einstein (12 oz drip, $1.89)

Stumptown (Cappuccino, $3.75)

Black (8 oz French, $1.50)

Bauhaus (8 oz mocha, $3.25)

It’s 1:17 p.m. and I have had five cups of coffee. I feel every joint in my body. I am constantly clenching and unclenching my hands and my teeth are brown.

Victrola (8 oz Americano, $2.75; 8-oz French, $2; 8-oz cappuccino, $3.50)

KUOW Producer Matt Streib just finished his tenth cup of coffee at Victrola Coffee Roasters and is "getting emotional," he says. And hot. And sweaty. And coffee just isn't tasting good anymore.
Credit KUOW Photo/Jenna Montgomery

Kaladi (8 ounce drip, $2.10)

Vita (12 oz iced coffee, $3)

Petit Rosso (8 oz, $1.50)

It’s 2:25 p.m. and I’ve had 11 cups of coffee. I am starting to feel quite ill. There are needles behind my eyes. I feel like I can’t interview people anymore because I look horrible.

I have had 12 cups of coffee. Right now I am euphoric, but it’s going from euphoric to horrible to euphoric to horrible. I did actually vomit on the side of the street.

“When I was a young barista, I used to drink way too much espresso," the barista here tells me. "Way too jittery, my short term memory was almost gone. It would be hard for me to read things. My short term memory was so short.”

Starbucks (of course)
8 oz Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte ($3.95)

It’s 3 p.m. I’ve had 13 cups of coffee. I do not feel well. I feel like I am vibrating. I am very angry. The barista at Starbucks was extremely friendly and pleasant.

Editor’s note: Matthew barely slept that night and came in looking wretched. He spent much of the morning twisting the ends of his moustache.