July 5, 2020

Why did the Nazis prefer decaffeinated coffee?

"Alone or with milk?" If you hear this phrase you will know immediately what we are referring to. Coffee, of course. What is not so much is how the decaffeinated was born, but it has been established as a regular drink. A shipment of Beans grains soaked with seawater (and who decided to give it a second chance) say it could give rise to this drink, although there are more sophisticated motivations.

While the origin is presented as an unknown, the person who came up with the formula is not yet. It is an ambitious German businessman who was engaged in coffee making by family. He wore it in his veins and told him that after his father's death, the binge-eating of coffee that was harmed his health and he decided to remedy his persistent nervous state. We are talking about Ludwig Roselius, born in the German Bremen and apprentice of a coffee roaster, a wealthy businessman who owns an empire who saw in this new business a way to get even richer.

His denouements with the high positions of the Third Reich were more than evident. This man's intention was to be close to Hitler and gain his trust. His ideology fit perfectly with the National Socialist postulates, as he defined himself as politically conservative and with a positive attitude towards the Nazi party.

With the Führer he met in Bremen in 1922. He wanted to be part of the Nazi elite. He tried twice, but was rejected. The reason was none other than their sympathies more than proven towards art described as "degenerate", of some of whose artists became patron, case of Paula Modersohn-Beceker and Bernard Hoetger.

In fact, he built a museum in one of the most central arteries of his city of birth, at number 4 of Böttcherstrasse, which was repudiated by the Nazi cusp and mostly destroyed during World War II. After the contest the buildings were rebuilt by the coffee company that Roselius directed and today they are a place of open access to the public, as well as the museum that houses its art collection that bears his name.

Serve this explanation as a preamble to place our protagonist, a businessman at the end, who made decaffeinated coffee loved and tasted for generations, but also repudiated by purists. During the first years of its implementation, this drink had a very positive reception among the members of the Nazi party. It was about assuming a way of life that was not harmful to the nerves, even their health virtues were praised. If Hitler drank decaffeinated it was clear that the rest of the population was going to opt for him. If he chose his diet for a vegetarian diet there was no other to follow his example.

Wasn't it, then, a way to get an Aryan population in perfect health? Those grains soaked with salt water that Roselius experienced at the beginning of the 20th century had come up with the key: only a certain salty taste was perceived in the new drink, but the caffeine, that poison that the Nazis did not want or smell, had disappeared. The "invention" was patented in 1905 and was quickly welcomed by Adolf Hitler's party.

It had all the good of a popular drink but lacked caffeine, which entered fully into the canons of a new diet aimed at preserving and guaranteeing the health of the Aryan race in which alcohol and tobacco, for example, were banned . And coffee, too. No, however, decaf. It was during the decade of the thirties when health became a matter of state that was necessary to protect. We speak of the Aryan race and the German people, from which they were excluded, it is understood, the Jews, the sick and the homosexuals.

Without going any further, a "Hitler Youth Manual", published in 1941, stated that "at least for the youngest, caffeine was a poison in all its forms", while considering the decaffeinated beverage "widely available and strictly regulated ”. Hence the so-called San Ka (Sans Kafeine), from the Hag de Roselius coffee line, became a success.

. (tagsToTranslate) History

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