A Month Off Coffee

I love coffee. I love the smell and the taste of coffee. I love buying coffee whether it’s from the Bean Shop or capsules from Nespresso as well as the social aspect of having a coffee with my wife, friends, family, prospective clients or even to enjoy while doing some admin for my business. I usually write my blog posts while sitting in Caffe Nero and it’s for some of these reasons I decided to stop drinking coffee for the month of November. This may sound daft but the smell, taste and the enjoyment that coffee brings that are important to me and recently, I haven’t been getting that same enjoyment from it and so decided to take this break so that I can recapture my love of coffee again.

I normally drink espresso but have the occasional cappuccino and have 1-2 cups per day but towards the end of October, I was drinking way more than that meaning I was constantly getting the kick from the caffeine and not actually tasting the coffee and so it was an easy decision to stop for the month. Actually, I woke up on the 1st November and my body felt it didn’t want coffee that day and so I was comfortable that this was the time to take the break.

It is only when you cut out something like caffeine that you realise how much it affects you. On that first day, Allison and I went to Starbucks and instead of ordering coffee, I ordered an orange tea. It didn’t bother me to order something different and I thought orange flavoured tea could be rather nice, except it wasn’t. It was awful! It didn’t actually taste of anything. It is possible that it does actually taste nice but I noticed that my taste buds were changing and everything tasted different. I also ordered a chocolate brownie and it tasted like there was a whole bag of sugar in that one piece! I also became aware my brain was becoming rather fuzzy as I was aware Allison was talking to me but I had absolutely no idea what she was saying. I also became aware that I was feeling incredibly sleepy and had to go straight home for a nap. Over the weekend, I slept way more than usual but then I noted that I began to wake up feeling energised and ready to do stuff, which I hadn’t been previously.

It was interesting to become aware of all these things as the caffeine addiction was leaving my body. I also became aware of being incredibly thirsty. I normally drink 2 litres of water a day and all of a sudden I was drinking another 500ml every day. Many people will experience headaches when coming off caffeine but apart from a minor headache on the Sunday morning, I was fine and it soon wore off after I went for a run.

As the days progressed, I felt better and better. My sleep patterns were better, I had lots more energy and crucially, I wasn’t craving coffee. I was quite happy to walk into a coffee shop and ask for a flavoured tea. What I noticed was that I had become more selective about the places I would go for a hot drink. I stopped going to the big chain shops and went to local cafes Blend and Willows who both sell loose leaf teas whereas at the big chains, tea is very much an after thought and the tea is simply in a bag. The selection of loose leaf teas were really nice, and something I’d highly recommend trying local independent cafes for as the quality is far greater than the chains.

It is now into December, I am back on the coffee and enjoying the flavour of it again and being satisfied with 1-2 cups a day max and feeling the benefit of it again. There are many health benefits to coffee and I believe I am back in a position to enjoy them again without going over the top as I had been previously.

I would recommend doing it to everyone and the key to doing it successfully is to know exactly what you want to achieve from doing it. Like anything else, there has to be some sort of higher intention otherwise you’re more likely to fall off the wagon long before the month is out. It is definitely worth it to remove the addiction, to understand how it affects your body, to realign your taste buds and as a result, you are less likely to return to how things were before you stopped.

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