For many of us, the idea of functioning without a cup of coffee — or five — is unimaginable. And the stronger that coffee, the better. But while most warnings about caffeine overdose are in jest, it is possible.
Most real-world cases of fatal caffeine overdose involve caffeine pills, caffeine powder, or energy drinks; typical coffee has a relatively low 100-200mg of caffeine per cup. Death Wish Coffee, on the other hand, can contain up to 728mg of caffeine per 12oz cup. To track how close that coffee was coming to killing him, Michael Pick modified a Keurig with an overdose monitor.
Despite its name, Death Wish Coffee probably won't kill you. It takes around 10,000mg of caffeine for the typical adult to overdose, which means they would need to drink 13.74 back-to-back 12oz cups of Death Wish Coffee to reach that point. It also isn't clear if the water in the coffee would help to flush out some of the caffeine, making it even more difficult to overdose.
But that's okay, because Pick didn't complete this project for serious medical purposes. It is clearly a joke and a fun way for Arabica addicts to see how close their energy enslavement brings them to meeting Charon on the River Styx.
Pick's death-tracking coffee machine began its life as a Keurig K-Express. Like most coffee sellers today, Death Wish Coffee sells K-Cups that work in that machine. Pick just needed to count how many cups his machine brewed and a way to show the progress towards overdose.
To count the cups, he used an Arduino Uno to tick up an integer variable every time he pressed the brew button on the K-Express. The Arduino calculates a percentage based on the cups brewed and the cups necessary for an overdose, then displays the result on a small OLED screen attached to a 3D-printed mount on the front of the K-Express.
The result is a coffee machine that tells the user how close they are to death with every cup of joe that they brew.