Coffee as Disinfectant (1873)

“Numerous experiments with roasted coffee prove that it is the most powerful means, not only of rendering animal and vegetable effluvia innocuous, but of actually destroying them. A room in which meat in an advanced degree of decomposition had been kept for some time, was instantly deprived of all smell on an open coffee roaster being carried through it, containing a pound of coffee newly roasted.
In another room, exposed to the effluvium occaisoned by the clearing out of a dung pit, so that sulpherreted hydrogen and ammonia in great quantities could be chemically detected, the stench was completely removed in half a minute, on the employment of three ounces of fresh-roasted coffee, whilst other parts of the house were permantently cleared of the same smell by simply being traveresed with the coffee roaster, although the cleansing of the dung-pit continued for several hours after.
The best mode of using coffee as a disinfectant is to dry the raw bean, pound it in a mortar and the roast the powder on a moderately heated iron plate, until it assumes a dark brown tint, when it is fit for use. Then sprinkle it in sinks and cesspools, or lay it on aplate in the room which you wish to have purified. Coffee acid or coffee oil acts more readily in minute quantities.”

Entry 1668, Enquire Within Upon Everything, printed by J & W Rider, 1873

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