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Cocoa and coffee: Science’s most influential duo


Approx Reading Time-10Great minds have come together and solved an impossible riddle. It seems that the greatest pairing of all is that of coffee and cocoa. Rejoice.




In the final quarter of last year, vapid teenagers presented us an image which displayed two equally vapid (albeit uber-rich) teenagers, signifying the final scrape of the latrine which culture now passes for, prompting Internet users to “Name a more influential duo”.

Now, thanks to the barely-checked horn-rimmed, busty cortexes of science, we apparently have an answer.

Coffee and chocolate is nature’s most enduring partnership.

The findings of one Clarkson University scholar has likened the combination of cocoa and coffee to that of a power relationship. And not the usual union slapped across the pimpled face of tabloid. Rather, the type your grandparents had. Meaningful. As your grandparents themselves would tell you: individually, two things become devoid of use, sitting alone in a cupboard of abject obscurity, counting the days until their expiration dates; however, once combined, their sum would be greater than their parts.

Ali Boolani, who decided to swing for tenure through the medium of afternoon tea, started the process to chart the “acute effects of brewed cocoa consumption on attention, motivation to perform cognitive work and feelings of anxiety, energy and fatigue.” In a nearly year-long double-blind study, some test subjects drank brewed cocoa, cocoa with caffeine, caffeine without cocoa and a placebo with neither caffeine nor cocoa. Then they were asked to do tests to evaluate both cognitive tasks and mood.

However, some cynics are not sold on the idea. Surely the devil’s pair as a means to escape would strip-mine the verdant hills of the valley within, with the ever-humming chainsaws of regret and unexpected weight gain audible just over the next crest?

“It was a really fun study,” Boolani says. “Cocoa increases cerebral blood flow, which increases cognition and attention. Caffeine alone can increase anxiety. The results of the tests are definitely promising and show that cocoa and caffeine are good choices for students and anyone else who needs to improve sustained attention.”

Outstanding. In the English of layman’s: eat chocolate with coffee and one will immediately be devoid of anxiety, and the world will again be less cruel.

However, in the land of unfeeling logic, warmed by the volcanic sun of self-loathing, some cynics are not entirely sold on the idea. Surely an impulsive imbibing of the devil’s pair as a means to escape will enable other obvious side effects that would arguably strip-mine the verdant hills of the valley within, with the ever-humming chainsaws of regret and unexpected weight gain audible just over the next crest?

If you enjoy the crumbly wafer of disappointment covered in the gooey nougat of unfeasibility, imbibed in concert with the searing taste of shattered dreams, by all means, disregard the findings of this study outside of the crossed arms of moderation.

The best relationship in science it may be, but not every lover is suitable, despite their best intentions.


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