Relationship With Coffee, Currently: On A Break

It’s been one full week [well, almost… on day 7 currently ; )] of no coffee. The last time I haven’t had a daily cup of coffee has been since freshman year of college.

I remember tasting coffee for the first time my junior year of high school. We were at a Panera + my friends were shocked that I had never tried coffee before. It’s not like I had never gone to Starbucks… I had just always ordered peppermint hot chocolate. It’s hilarious thinking back on that now.

Anyways, my friends ordered me a hazelnut coffee ++ gave me a handful of sugar packets, “You’re going to need these, too.” I tasted it, + immediately put like 7 sugar packets in. I tasted it again. “Ehhh yeah it’s okay!” I started ordering peppermint mochas every so often instead of peppermint hot chocolate, so that I could say I *drank coffee* — it seemed hip + adult-like. Plus, my parents had coffee every morning + I have always loved the smell.


My History With Coffee

My relationship with coffee truly started in college — the coffee shop inside Ohio State’s library was the first coffee shop independent of Starbucks that I had ever been in. There were [+ probably still are] 1309843097 syrups to choose from, + I remember being obsessed with this extravagant chocolate frappe. The syrups + milk made coffee taste so much better + provided a “fun” component to it [which flavor should I try today?!]. ++ as a swimmer, I was constantly exhausted — so, the caffeine helped me stay awake in between my naps.

I started to become more health conscious sophomore year, + transitioned from drinking extra sugary coffee at the library to my typical daily order being:

  • College: “Starbuck’s Double Shot With Carmel Drizzle” [still a ton of sugar, ahah — but barely any milk]
  • 2014: Americano With Steamed Soy Milk — 2 Pumps Caramel Or Vanilla
  • 2015–2016: Double Shot Americano With Steamed Soy or Almond Milk
  • 2017: Black — Entire French Press
  • 2018: Bulletproof Coffee [+ of course mixed in Oatley Lattes when those became a thing ; )]

While those were my typical orders, up until this year — I had coffee in the morning ++ then coffee in the afternoon. On weekends, anything went. One of my favorite activities since college has been exploring different coffee shops. This year, I was introduced to “cappy hour” in Denver — visit a coffee shop, order a drink, work for an hour, move onto another coffee shop… repeat.

I got to the point where I felt like coffee didn’t even affect me anymore — did it give me a little pick me up, sure… but I still felt exhausted most days, regardless of how many cups I drank.


The First Time I Felt Coffee’s Effect

There was only one moment within the past 10 [WOW!] years of drinking coffee every day when I truly noticed the effect coffee had on me. I had just gotten back from a trip to Thailand, + the coffee there was terrible… I was only able to have a few sips a day, unless the cafe served espresso. My first morning back in Chicago, I ordered my typical Double Shot Americano With Steamed Soy from La Columbe, ++ halfway through drinking it, I had to stop. I was so jittery. That was the last time I ever ordered a double shot.

Finally realizing how much money I had wasted on coffee, two years ago, I pulled the trigger + started making my own cup via French Press. ++ then when BP Coffee became trendy, I started experimenting with that. I decreased my consumed to only once a day [in the mornings] — but I would still have a ridiculous amount.


Why I Decided To Go A Month Without Coffee

ALRIGHT. Enough on my history of coffee. I clearly love it. I look forward to my morning ritual of drinking coffee, stretching, + writing. So why did I want to experiment with giving it up? A few reasons…

#1] It’s been coming up a lot in my meditations. + I’ve thought about what it would be like to give it up as a trial frequently. Typically, when something keeps popping up in my head, I listen.

#2] I was inspired by both Sarah + SJ who gave up coffee this past year… + haven’t been back on it. I knew that if they could do it, I could do it.

#3] My holistic doctor [Dr. Raby] is very anti-coffee, since it is acidic//inflammatory. She’s been telling me to give it up for a year… I’m finally starting to listen.

#4] I’ve been on a quest for clear skin. Apparently no coffee can help with that.

#5] The deeper I’ve gotten into yoga//meditation//Ayurveda, the more I’m curious about truly understanding my body. It seems exciting to know when I’m actually tired or when I have abundant energy, + letting my body tell me how it feels, rather than masking it with coffee.

#6] I hate the idea of needing something to feel like myself.

#7] Last year, I did “No Input November” + this year I wanted to give something up again… no coffee seemed fitting at this time, especially since I knew I would be traveling to India… + I know they are big on tea ; )


Do I Want To Give Up Coffee Forever?

No! I love the taste, especially of espresso. Even just writing this post makes me want a cup of coffee… I love the ritualistic aspect of it. If there’s a coffee alternative that has the same taste + has the same vibe — ie, I can get it at coffee shops… then maybe. Ideally, I’d like my relationship to coffee to be seen as a “treat” — coffee dates with friends, espresso on a Friday night after dinner, mid-week if I really need a pick me up, or when I want to have a writing session. I don’t want to have to rely on it every day, + I especially don’t want to feel like myself without it.


So — How Has It Been?

The week prior I started weening off coffee a bit more than usual — ordering matchas + not having as much in the morning as I usually do. The slow decrease [which I definitely recommend!] prevented me from having awful headaches that you hear about when people give up coffee cold turky.

The first day, I went a liiiiiitle overboard — matcha cashew latte in morning, cup of green coconut tea an hour later, black tea in the afternoon, + a matcha coconut cream latte in the late afternoon. Since I didn’t compare caffeine content to what I was used to [see below]… PLUS, I wasn’t used to consuming caffeine in the afternoon, I was buzzing on tea… + woke up with a caffeine hangover the next day.

Caffeine Content [8 oz = 1 Cup]

  • Black Coffee: 100–200 mg
  • Green Tea: 35 mg
  • Matcha: 70 mg [using 1 tsp of Matcha]
  • Black Tea: 48 mg

The following day, I stuck to just matcha in the morning + green tea in the afternoon. Besides feeling a little more tired + laid back than usual, I felt totally fine…

It’s hard to tell if the minor fatigue//headaches I have felt a few times are due to: lack of coffee, lack of sleep, or lack of water. Hence, continuing to tune into my body + really see what it needs. Stay tuned to what the rest of the month will bring… : )


Your Questions, Answered

#1] Are you also cutting down on caffeine?
That’s definitely the goal. I’d love to be at a place where I didn’t need caffeine at all throughout the day.

#2] Did you sleep more to make up for no coffee?
Not really. I’ve always slept 8–9 hours a night. I have been having more vivid dreams though… wonder if that’s because of no coffee… : )

#3] What alternatives do you drink?
I’ve been obsessed with matcha. But, I only love it as a latte [use this cashew milk, omg]. If you are into matchas: get a steamer. I got this one. I haven’t been super experimental yet — just green + black. Found out that I do not like black on its own… aha. In the mornings, before tea I drink: water + cinnamon + ACV + Himalayan sea salt. It’s a good morning wake up!

#4] When you have a craving to reach for coffee, what do you replace it with?
I typically only crave coffee in the morning — so, matcha latte ; )

#5] Did you have withdrawal symptoms + how did you handle them?
Give myself permission to not feel 100%, + know that it won’t last. Most of the time, I just need more water, sunlight, or to move a bit!

#6] How do you handle the mid-day crash?
Rest my eyes + meditate. Grab a hot cup of tea. Go for a walk. Nap if it’s on a weekend.


Am I crazy? Would you ever give up coffee? Do you live the coffee-free life? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Rooting for you always,

++ Elisabeth