What happened to the cats!?

What happened to the cats!?

I love reading ingredient lists and warnings on products. I am always curious what goes into what we produce and what it could do to us. At an event I once saw a supplement product called MSM Mercy. I never tried this pill myself so cannot comment on its efficacy however I did read the info on it. The last English line above made me laugh. After saying it is safe for pregnant women and safe on animals then the all caps warning about cats. I am curious to know what happened to the cats.

This made me think of coffee and some of the stuff that gets snuck into the morning cup of joe. All coffee was made using Arabica beans originally. In the late 19th century the French introduced Robusta beans to Vietnam and to this day that country produces over 40% of the worlds Robusta. Robusta is easier to grow, has more caffeine, and is more resistant to disease. However it also has more pyazine which produces a bitterness in the roasted bean. Over the 20th century the Robusta content in national coffee brands gradually increased. In some brands now the ratio is as high as 80%. This makes it cheaper to make and have a stronger caffeine hit. In the tinned coffees a blast of coffee aroma is even added before the cans are sealed to give that fresh coffee smell. That only happens once though. I have never seen anywhere an organic certified or fairtrade robusta, so beware labels if they are attached to coffees that contain this bean.

In Europe after WWII there was a huge lack of resources and food. Soldiers in both armies had coffee in their ration kits at the start of the war and by the end of the conflict all sides developed a taste for coffee. After the war however it was hard to get arabica beans in Europe so often other local ingredients were roasted and used as substitutes. Roasted barley, walnuts, even beets were roasted and blended into whatever coffee was available to stretch it out. Still in some areas of Europe there is a preference for this type of blend. In the U.S. during the Revolutionary War the South was blockaded often and ships couldn't make it into harbour. In the South they used chicory as a substitute for coffee beans.

Flavoured coffees are usually made by adding a cornucopia of artificial flavours made in labs. Often the cheapest coffee is used for flavoured coffees as the underlying flavour doesn't really matter. This is also why organic and fairtrade certified flavoured coffees are so rare.