Pick your poison

AIM OF THE EXPERIMENT: To prove that coffee was poison

King Gustav III of Sweden believed that coffee was poison.

Gustav III of Sweden (1746–1792) was determined to prove the negative health effects of coffee.

And to prove that this theory was true, he sentenced a criminal convicted for murder, to drink coffee every day until he died.

Apparently that wasn’t enough. The eccentric king wanted to provide comparison, to further study the health effects of coffee consumption. So, he pardoned another murderer on one condition-to drink tea every day.

And by the way, the two murderers were identical twins.

Two doctors were appointed to supervise the bizarre experiment and see who died first.

You wouldn’t believe who died first.

The doctors!

The king followed next. He was murdered sometime in 1792.

Finally, after many years, one of the two murderers died at the ripe age of 83. He was the criminal who drank tea every day.

History suggests the the final results of the experiment were disregarded. Coffee prohibition was reinforced in Sweden in 1794, and again in 1822. Once the ban was lifted, coffee became a dominant beverage in Sweden, which since has been one of the countries with the highest coffee consumption per capita in the world.

The experiment has jokingly been called “the first Swedish clinical trial”. And for good reason.


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