King Gustav III Coffee Experiment: Is this a Crueller Punishment than hanging?

King Gustav III Coffee Experiment

In the 18th century, Sweden’s King Gustav III imposed a “terrible” punishment on two twin prisoners in his prison. It was actually an experiment tried on the twins who were condemned to death. It was known as King Gustav III Coffee Experiment.

What was the punishment, right?

One convict should drink three pots of tea everyday till his death.

The other’s punishment is even “terrible”. He must drink three pots of coffee everyday till his death.

It should also be remembered that these two prisoners were murderers who were sentenced to be hanged. The king passed this punishment by cancelling their hanging. The king appointed two physicians to observe the experiment whether the tea drinker or the coffee drinker would die first.

While the observation was keenly being watched, death took the physicians first and followed by the king, who was assassinated in 1792. The one who was sentenced to the punishment of drinking tea, died years later at the age of 83. Again, after many years, the person who was sentenced to the punishment of drinking coffee died, even though the exact period is unknown.

King Gustav III Coffee Experiment: Why did the king impose this strange punishment?

For no other reason than the King believed that coffee and tea were poisonous and dangerous beverage. This was done as a scientific experiment by the King to prove that consumption of coffee is a threat to the public health.

This experiment failed to prove that coffee is a dangerous beverage and also the kind died before the experiment was completed.

Jokingly, this experiment has been called as “the first Swedish clinical trial”.

Even though coffee had arrived Sweden around 1674 there was a ban on coffee and tea which was imposed often. Only in 1820, Sweden lifted the ban on coffee.