Dick Hall of Fame, Entry # 19: Ludwig Roselius

16 Mar

This is a very important entry for me.  It involves an issue very near and dear to my heart because my discovery of this substance at the age of six made me the man I am today (and helped me get through school).  This issue does not involve the fact that Mr. Roselius had a slightly positive opinion of National Socialism during the Third Reich (he may or may not have had a falling out with Hitler before his death).  We are not here to discuss any sympathies for unforgivable crimes that Mr. Roselius may or may not have had.  We are not here to debate the consequences of living in Germany and whether or not you could move against the hive mind that was created in the state.  And we are not going to debate whether or not his name makes him sound like a 12th century composer.  We are going to chastise this deceased individual for the creation that defines his legacy. DECAF COFFEE.

No one smiled in the 1920’s

Ludwig Roselius is the German inventor who created a process to remove the caffeine by superheating the green coffee beans with steam and then flooding them with the solvent benzol, a process he patented in 1906.  He did it because apparently he believed his father died from caffeine.  You son of a bitch.  To clarify with more source material: Ludwig is credited with the development of commercial decaffeination of coffee.  This may in fact be one of the most useless inventions since the creation of non-alcoholic beer or those jackets people put on pets.

If it can't survive with the fur it has, God didn't want it to live

Seriously people, coffee serves a purpose: keeps you awake.  Like beer it was supposed to be a singular function.  If you can’t stand the taste, you can’t drink it.  But, since people can’t let things just be, they created Smirnoff Ices and Starbucks.  And let me be clear, coffee tastes terrible.  It’s bitter, chalky and is barely palatable when you mix in cream or sugar.  So, why would this German inventor decide to take out the singular benefit of this brown elixir?  Shaddenfreude?  Why would anyone want such a product?  The only people whom this product could possibly cater to are old people, pregnant women, and people who have medical conditions that don’t allow them to drink coffee.  Ok.  That’s a rather small demographic.  I can’t imagine people missing the bitter morning ritual of pouring this steaming liquid down your gullet.  This is why smokers smoke.  When they quit they start drinking coffee until they give that up to start smoking again.  It’s cyclical  It’s called having variety in your life.

While I think I have made my point in this short space, I feel I should drive it home by pointing out the many health benefits of coffee.  Coffee has been known to reduce certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, strokes, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.  And while there may be no solid proof that its the caffeine that causes these things, we ask why you wouldn’t take the safe route?  It’s like letting your cousin fix your brakes instead of a mechanic.  You pay more for the security of knowing the job was done right.  And given the alternatives, I think I speak for everyone here at Dick of the Week when I say, “I’ll hang out with the constipated people with brown teeth who yell at each other about their headaches at 4am.”  There, I think I go the bulk of the negatives out.

All of this ranting about decaf coffee who be unnecessary if this man hadn’t bothered to invent it.  And, I know, if it wasn’t him it would have been someone else.  Well I don’t give two shits about that.  He’s still the guy who invented it and if it wasn’t him, I would be writing about some other dick.  The point is, this is a substance that really has helped a lot of people get through tough patches of their lives when sleeping was not a luxury.  You gotta do what you gotta do, and it’s crazy to try to trivialize the importance of something that is so important.  If we didn’t have coffee, night watchmen might not stay awake, crab fisherman couldn’t get through the rough times, and we probably wouldn’t have as many lawyers (which actually might not be the worst thing in the world, but I digress).  Also, we have made the point before that people need to be responsible for how they use certain products, but pulling the old switcharoo won’t work in this situation.  But at least this can’t get any worse.

Wow, just when you thought it couldn't get worse.

Ok, I can kind of accept someone saying they love the smell of coffee and are stuck on the ritual of making it every morning, but if you’re going to try to drink instant decaf…just buy a diet Coke.  Seriously.  Instant coffee is even worse in taste and is really just there when you need something quick to drink.  I’m still not sure why Starbucks thinks you’ll pay 1$ a pouch for their decaf instant coffee.  Actually, I’m kind of glad that this guy lost rights to his brand of instant coffee after WWI.  So, there you have it, this German inventor who may have had Nazi sympathies is your new Hall of Famer for inventing the useless product: Decaf Coffee.


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