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Caffeinated: The Science & Culture Of Your Coffee Habit

An illustration of white coffee mugs filled with various kinds of coffee beverages on a pink and white background. The view is from above, so the contents of each of the mugs is visible. The coffee mug at the center has a light brown liquid in it with the image of a brain. To the right of that mug is the word “Caffeinated” written in cursive.
Charnel Hunter
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Anita comes from a tea-drinking family, but she's happiest when she's holding a mug of coffee the size of her face. For years, she's been reading headlines about why coffee is "good" for you, but she's not sure where myth ends and fact begins. So, she turns to the experts: Dr. Rao (her dad) is back to explain why coffee makes you poop, and how it affects your gut. A neuroscientist tells her about what her brain is doing once coffee hits her system. And two folks with deep ties to java talk about coffee culture, from bean to brew.

Meet the guests:

  • Dr. Satish Rao, gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at Augusta University (and Anita’s dad), gives Anita the coffee-gut advice she needs
  • Dr. Shannon Odell, science communicator and neuroscientist goes Magic School Bus on coffee science
  • Samuel Ngwa, founder of Safari Pride Coffee, shares how his family’s story as coffee farmers in Cameroon inspired his coffee business today
  • Austin Jeffries, co-owner of Borough Coffee mobile coffee cart, talks about his hopes for a more slowed-down coffee culture in the U.S.

Read the transcript Review the podcast

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Audrey Smith is a writer, educator, and temporary producer of "Embodied" based in Greensboro, NC. She holds a Master's degree in Secondary English Language Arts Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2018) and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from Oregon State University (2021).
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.