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Wearable Coffee?

by Denis Faye - The Nutrition Nerd | January 28, 2014

My faith in coffee can occasionally be problematic in the crowd I run with. I’m not talking about my cycling buddies, given not only the cultural connection between the bike and barista, but also the venté-sized amount of research linking coffee and increased endurance sport performance.

No, I’m talking about my holistic nutrition crew, who tend to rankle at my love for the preverbal cup o’ joe. I understand their concerns about adrenal fatigue and all that, but there’s not a ton of science backing that up. If you have a caffeine intolerance or you’re mainlining espresso to the point that all that stimulation causes your adrenal glands to crap out and stop producing hormones properly, sure, that makes sense. But generally speaking, if you accept the concept of adrenal fatigue at all, there are a million other things that are much more likely to trigger it, including stress, a lack of sleep and exercise, junk food, and the toxins we engulf ourselves in every day.

Caffeine is, technically, one of those toxins, but it’s an incredibly benign one. It’s easier for your body to break down than almost any other toxin. Furthermore, it seems like a study comes out every week showing some new health benefit to moderate coffee intake, including reduced risk of some cancers and heart issues. And it potentially protects your liver from cirrhosis. (Ironic, considering your liver is a detoxing organ. Get Nietzsche and Kelly Clarkson on the phone.)

And today, I have a new reason to love coffee. You can wear it. The Taiwanese company Singtex has come up with a yarn called S.Café made from recycled coffee grounds. Apparently, roasting the beans creates a chemical change that makes the coffee odor-absorbant. It’s also supposed to offer decent UV protection.

According to the blog Inhabitat, the fabric goes through a phenol, ester and oil-removal process to take away the coffee smell. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind having duds that smelled a little like java, given java makes me happy.

You’ll find the fabric in use at Coaltree Organics. Here’s an awfully cool hoodie using S.Café for its liner. (If you’re reading this, Mr. or Ms. Coaltree, I’m a medium and I’m not afraid to whore myself in the name of fashion.)

While I may part ways with some of my hippy brethren on the topic of coffee, I fall sharply back into step when it comes to sustainability. Why waste the planet’s natural resources on my outdoor gear when there are so many things, like coffee grounds, that could be used instead?

Although, for the record, I use my coffee grounds in my garden. Their acidity, combined with a little ash for alkalinity, make for a great, balanced fertilizer. (See? I told you I was a hippy.)

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