My journey to become a self-proclaimed coffee aficionado had humble beginnings. At first I had a drip percolator, then moved up to an espresso machine. Occasionally if I had enough money I would hop by the Starbucks to get fleeced like the rest of the dumb sheep in line. Eventually to save money I packed a thermos of french-pressed goodness to work. I was now consuming roughly 4 cups of coffee before lunchtime, and things were starting to go funny.
For some of you, this is not an issue due to winning the genetic lottery. Some people can pound back the brew and have no ill-effects. Some of us can do so in moderation.
Others, like me…probably should stick to one cup or if possible, none. I have a few reasons that I’m learning about myself. It does seem to affect my ability to sleep well, and the evening crash tends to put a strain on my interaction with the wife and kids. It’s actually amazing how suddenly tolerable they can be when I haven’t loaded up on caffeine.
But you’re not here for my story. So let’s look at some top ways you too can break the bondage of caffeine and enjoy the freedom it brings.
Well, I suppose it’s worth a shot right? If you haven’t got yourself in the habit of consuming too many cups a day then you probably could do this. This is what I did, although in all fairness I consumed 3-4 cups a day and all of that before noon. Those who pound back 6 cups and over might have some…withdrawal symptoms.
The sudden cut off of happy-juice is not going to go unnoticed by your metabolism and can easily lead to headaches, temporary depression and inability to concentrate. This can last from a few days to a few weeks depending on your previous levels of consumption. But if you’ve got an iron will, it is the way to go.
First, if you have the option to get holiday time then maybe take a few days off to begin the detox. Talk with your family and lean on their support. And of course, drink a ton of water. The more you flush the faster you’ll reach the light at the end-of the tunnel.
Assuming you cannot get time off work or live the life of a commercial pilot, going cold turkey may not be the best way to go. Not so much for you, but rather for the people who have to be in the same room as your sorry, detoxing backside.
The quickest and easiest way to do this is to consume the same amount of coffee, just in half-caff form. If you pack your own to work this should be no problem whatsoever. Very few work situations do not allow for the ability to pack your own thermos. In fact, often times the coffee at work tastes like horse urine anyway so people will likely envy you.
Another option is to take note of your regular consumption, and just decide to do half. After a week, do half of that. In about a month a hardcore addict should be able to get down to one cup or none.
Pack Your Own
It was previously mentioned but I’d like to expand on the option to brew your own in more detail. Brewing your own coffee is hands down the biggest money savings you will see if you are a regular schlep in the Starbucks line. Think about it…that latte you paid almost $5 for cost them 5 cents to make. I’ll bet the paper cup cost them more. That should motivate most of you to seek better options.
The nice thing about decaffeinated coffee these days is the options. Back in the day you could enjoy the horrific affliction of Sanka, or shut up take your coffee like a damn man. Now there are countless suppliers who provide high quality decaff beans that make an exceptionally fine brew.
Once you’ve gotten at least a few monkeys off your back, consider the possibility of healthy coffee alternatives. Dandelion makes a coffee-like bitter brew while also having incredible health benefits. I’ve also found that Yerba Mate tea has a similar punch without the sudden drop. Just be sure that whatever you use, avoid adding sugar to make up the energy spike. That’s only going to introduce a whole new set of issues.
If it bothers you that coffee alternatives have a “hippy” stigma, don’t worry about it. The 60’s are long gone and today’s youth are so utterly hooked on high caffeine consumption that nobody would think twice. Also, take solace in knowing that Seattle hipsters will soon be in their late thirties and developing clogged arteries, gallstones and generalized anxiety disorder from a lifetime of frappuccino consumption. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I want socialist hipsters to die. No, no. I want them to suffer and die. There’s a difference you know.
This one really only applies to those who consistently purchase their coffee at the local brew-house. Assuming you buy 3-4 cups a day, you probably don’t want to know how much cash you’re burning.
If you buy your addictive drink with cash, try to instead put it aside in a chosen place such as a jar. If you don’t buy with cash, another sweet alternative is to consider opening an online tax-free savings account or Roth-IRA. Instead of throwing $5 at the cute barista like she was a Vegas stripper, go online and transfer it to your new investment portfolio. Check the balance a few months later and I guarantee that anybody who knows the value of a dollar will give their Starbucks habit serious reconsideration.