Six months ago, I discovered my beloved flat white wasn’t doing it for me any more.
Of course, addicted to caffeine as I was, I felt I truly needed it. Mornings? How could I be expected to get through them without the creamy, comforting warmth of my overpriced cup? How could I even consider fronting up to a meeting or stringing two sentences together before I’d taken a swig of my brown elixir?
Sadly, it was a relationship that had to end. Coffee had begun making me feel anxious. My heart would race minutes after seeing the bottom of my cup. Despite not feeling worried or stressed about anything in particular, I would start to feel unease clutch its long, dirty fingernails into my chest.
At the advice of my GP, I vowed to give up the one habit — apart from a cuddle from my partner — that I actually enjoyed in the morning.
Watch: Coffee isn’t just only key to the successful morning, here are 14 other tips. (Post continues after this video)
But rather than come to work a zombie-like mess, after a few fairly torturous weeks without clutching my $4 cardboard cup for dear life, I began to notice some differences in my life. Yes, my heart had stopped racing, but there were other changes; some great, some annoying.
1. I’ve saved a fair bit of cash.
Sorry, I know “I quit [insert something fun here]” stories always bang on about the savings, but it’s true. I would regularly buy around 10 or so coffees every week. At $4 a pop that works out at a saving of around $960 in just six months. I’ve definitely noticed a lot more cash left in my wallet come the end of the week, which means more money to spend on a glass or two of pinot (no, I definitely haven’t quit alcohol too, I’m not that game). (Post continues after gallery.)
2. Waking my brain up in the morning is no longer dependent on coffee.
After about two months without a morning caffeine hit, I realised something wonderful: that ‘I-need-a-coffee-right-now-or-I-can’t-function’ feeling had vanished. It sounds ridiculous but suddenly I didn’t give getting up, getting into work, and getting started on my day a second thought. I just did it. I felt awake and ready to tackle the day. It’s by far the best by-product of giving up coffee.
3. I can now no longer cherish the camaraderie that comes with coffee drinking.
Going without my morning cup has made me realise how much socialising revolves around coffee. So much office banter is centred around needing a coffee, seeing if anyone else wants a coffee, going out with others on a coffee run, etc, etc.
When people ask me if I want a coffee now and I say, “No thanks, I don’t drink it anymore”, I’m met with a look that’s equal parts pity and suspicion (plenty of people have assumed I’m pregnant because they don’t know anyone else who’d willingly drink decaf).
4. Decaf doesn’t taste like shit.
No, it definitely doesn’t. What does it actually taste like? Coffee! Almost exactly the same as your regular coffee!
In the difficult first three weeks after quitting I thought I might as well give decaf a go. I needed something, even if it was essentially a placebo. Apprehensively I lifted the drink to my lips, expecting a taste so foul I’d end up spraying it in my barista’s face. Not so. It’s delicious. Same goes for instant decaf coffee. Big fan.
5. Coffee memes are now out of bounds for me.
I’d often spend my bus rides scrolling Instagram, nodding my head in appreciation of memes that compared being without your coffee to being a two year old without a blankie. While I still have the occasional decaf coffee, I don’t feel part of the club anymore. Sadly, my Coffee Wanker license has been revoked and I’m no longer in on the joke.
Preaching to the choir, @theglowau. #RG #coffee #mornings A photo posted by mamamiaaus (@mamamiaaus) on
I hope that one day I can be reunited with my caffeinated flat white, but for now, decaf is great company.
Could you go without coffee?