Caffeinated tells the story of the human relationship with and dependency on the world’s most consumed natural and legal high.
Carpenter writes in a knowledgeable, yet non-judgmental manner, about the way this substance has come to dominate the Western way of life.
His narrative takes the reader from the sidewalks of the United States to the streets of Mexico, Colombia, China, Guatemala and Antigua as he investigates the production, marketing and science of caffeine, as well as chocolate, coffee, cola, energy drinks tea and pain relievers.
As you would imagine, the book explores both the benefits and costs of consuming what many view as an innocuous substance, showing the murkier side of caffeine: from the way athletes abuse it through to the way it has managed to escape regulation (unlike other addictive substances).
Mixing the human story with science, pitched at a level a lay person can understand, this is a thoroughly enjoyable and addictive read, very much like its subject matter.
It makes you think about your own caffeinated existence, and is a definite read for those unable to get through the day without a cup of tea, a shot of espresso or a bite of a chocolate bar.