During most of my life I did not have interest in coffee. My college study sessions were fueled by Jolt Cola (All the sugar! Twice the caffeine!), and – somehow – my infant-induced sleep deprivation did not drive me to drink (at least not coffee).
Then I moved to Seattle.
Now I am a java junkie, like my father before me. The first pot in the morning has become unconscious ritual. Coffee is a normal part of my life. Every day.
So I got an idea. An awful idea. I got a wonderful, awful idea. “I know just what to do!” I said with an evil Grinch grin, “I’ll skip coffee for two weeks and see if I become a monster.”
So that is the experiment – no complex rules, just don’t drink coffee. No decaf. No Sanka.
Day 1: And so it begins. My first “replacement” attempt was Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Zinger. It did not go well.
However, I was surprised that a few hours into the day I did not feel my body was missing the caffeine. I wasn’t groggy or comatose – just annoyed by the disruption to my normal. Then 3:00 happened. Headache. Advil.
Day 2. Woke up with an increasingly-strong headache behind my eyes. I have a bad feeling about this.
Day 3. For the past two days I continued making a morning pot of coffee for my wife (I know, I know – partner of the year). I assumed this might make it harder to not drink it, but I found the opposite to be true. Keeping some of the experience, the ritual, eased the pain.
Day 4. Today I miss the can-do attitude of Coffee. When I turn to my mug for an afternoon caffeine boost, Tea stares back at me like a grandmother, with kind eyes and wise counsel. Tea is patient. Tea is kind. But Tea does not care about my deadlines. Tea does not share my fear of failure.
But Coffee! Coffee is my partner in crime. My encourager of deeds. My “Yes, you can do it, but you need my help. Drink up, Tasky McTasker, and get the job done!”
Day 5. I’m feeling dehydrated today, realizing a significant proportion of my fluid intake is usually – you guessed it – coffee.
Day 6. Oh, Saturday morning, waking slowly, pouring a cup-o’-Joe, watching my wife drink it as I jealously try tea again. Discovery: green tea tastes like water, but worse.
Day 7, 8. Guess what? There are more flavors of tea than black, green, and Lipton! Last night a friend introduced me to Lapsang Souchong, also known as “gun powder tea.” This stuff is smoky, strong, and bitter. Maybe we’re getting somewhere!
Day 9. I went into a coffee shop! A Seattle. Coffee. Shop. I breathed through it, ordered an interesting-looking, fancy-ass tea, and liked it almost as much as coffee.*
* That is not true.
Day 10-13. Through all the internal (ok, and external) complaints during this experiment, the headaches subsided and I feel better – especially in the afternoon – without coffee. So I’ve started researching decaf in an attempt to make the switch. I cannot believe I just typed that sentence.
Day 14. The transition is complete. I found a decaffeinated coffee to try and carefully informed the household.
Epilogue. So, I tried this decaf idea for a few weeks, learned more about tea, and then discovered something very important.
I really, really like coffee.
Upper photo credit: Rafael Saldaña, https://flic.kr/p/Tub7ea