Getting Serious about Coffee and Cycling: On Tour and on the Track
Continuing on from our last blog about coffee and cycling culture: just as with cycling as a hobby, coffee gets some serious love from cyclists at the elite level, whether on the Grand Tours, the Time Trial, or in the Velodrome.
In our previous blog post we mentioned some of the benefits to performance and recovery, and these have certainly not gone unnoticed: indeed caffeine was for a period until 2003 on the WADA anti-doping list. This was dropped after it was considered the threshold of about 6 espressos was too low.
There is quite a history to the connection at the top levels of the sport: a great early example is the classic touring team sponsored by Faema: the Italian company which refined and defined the modern espresso machine. The Faema team, which rode from 1956 until 1970, and was home to legends such as Rik Van Looy, Giro d’Italia winner and world champion Vittorio Adorni, as well as the great Eddy Merckx during his first Tour De France win.
More recently coffee has had a fanatic cycling advocate in the form of no less than Sir Chris Hoy, who is noted for lugging around his own espresso machine and grinder wherever he competes.
In case you are interested his choice is a Rocket Espresso Gioto, and a Mazzer Mini Auto. This picture was taken during the London 2012 Olympics, so I would suspect he may have upgraded. While at a sensory training course in Edinburgh, I was regaled of stories of his regular visits to roasteries in Yorkshire, it being local to the Nation Cycling Center. As a Scotsman and a roaster, I must confess to a strong twinge of jealousy.
Reportedly, consumption is running so high at the elite level, coffee is back on the list to be considered by WADA for restriction!
However before you either throw away the bike, or put down the cup, most need not worry as the threshold being looked at it is roughly around 8 strong cups of coffee. Even for us at the roastery, with plenty of time to sit and guzzle, that is a pretty heavy going day!