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‘Friends’ Characters Drank Enough Coffee to Send 2000 People to Hospital

Chandler, Ross, Joey and the rest of the ‘Friends’ gang seemed to have the perfect life. They all had high-paying jobs, despite the fact that they hung out in a cafe all day. They all had close friends that were always there for them, even though a lot of their connections were very, very questionable. And, most importantly (not most importantly), they all got to drink a ton of coffee with seemingly no health ramifications whatsoever.

Recently, the good folks over at Scientific American posed a very interesting question: How many people would die if they consumed the same amount of caffeine daily as the ‘Friends' crew?

First, the SA team laid out the ground rules for their analysis:

To find out what kind of caffeine ingestion Joey, Chandler, Ross, Phoebe, Rachel and Monica had over the 10 seasons of Friends, we need to make a few assumptions. First, given their famous mugs, we’ll assume that they drink 20 oz. coffees. Second, we’ll assume that each friend consumes maybe two of these enormous drinks each episode. Finally, we assume that this kind of coffee mainlining happened over each of Friends’ 236 episodes.

Then they figured in the caffeine intake per person:

If each friend drank two mugs of coffee over each episode, the whole gang downed, in total, 445 gallons of coffee. You could brew that amount of coffee in five large water heaters. These six friends could start a small coffee importing company.

But it’s not just the liquid we are interested in, how much caffeine is in all that java? Going with the Starbucks standard, a 20 oz. coffee contains 480 milligrams of caffeine. Adding this number to the calculation, our friends consumed three whole pounds of caffeine over their 10 seasons.

There is no agreed upon overdose amount for caffeine (it depends on many factors like body weight and heart defects), but some reports put the value between 5 and 10 grams. If you distributed all the caffeine the friends ingested over the decade at Central Perk, it would be enough of the drug to send almost 300 people to the hospital—if not outright kill them.

So, what’s the final verdict?

If each episode represented a week of time, on average, then these java junkies downed nearly 3,100 gallons of coffee—enough to fill over half a freight container. This amount of joe could send over 1,900 people to the hospital.

‘Friends’ revolutionized network sitcoms and will go down as one of the greatest TV shows nobody wants to admit they enjoyed. That being said, as has been proven time and time again, aside from stealing a few of Chandler’s jokes, you shouldn’t take too many life lessons away from the program.

Source: Scientific American


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