I Love Coffee
I love the smell in the morning, the taste, the warmth or the chill.
It was the first thing on my mind when I woke up and my day couldn’t properly start without it.
I’d hand-grind the freshly roasted beans, boil the water, and sit and watch it brew in the French Press.
When out of town I would search for the hipster coffee spot then immediately inform people on my critique of their Americano.
It’s what connected me to people I had very little else in common with.
It was a ritual.
It was a lifestyle.
I’m very wary of things that feel good. I also have issues with dependency. The scenario crossed my mind of having a splitting headache during the apocalypse when the bug-out ran out of coffee grounds. So I naturally tinkered with finding the minimum effective dose of caffeine.
As I decreased my coffee intake I noticed I was becoming less anxious and I didn’t shake my legs as much. I had slightly less panic inside when I was next in line at the bank.
Even though I had always limited my coffee consumption to morning hours, I started sleeping much better.
Was coffee preventing me from managing stress?
I decided to cut coffee out completely.
The first couple days I was grouchy and short with people.
Surprisingly my workouts actually improved. It was easier to get into a flow. I had less nervous, unfocused energy that would usually be distracting during workouts.
Mornings were normal, getting up was even easier, but I was getting tired later in the day so I went to bed earlier.
I kept seeing improvements in my workouts, not energy, just results.
I started taking daily naps on my afternoon break.
I also noticed I was losing weight. My appetite went down noticeably but I upped my calories.
I began coming to the gym early and doing two workouts a day.
It’s now been over 3 months without coffee.
The biggest insight from this experiment was finding my non-caffeinated baseline. I was much more sensitive to my need for recovery so I streamlined my training, paced myself more throughout the day, and drastically increased my sleep.
Caffeine was masking fatigue and when removed, I was able to more clearly listen to my body. My body told me it was in debt.
For competitive or high-intensity workouts, I can see a benefit from caffeine but for mindful movement practices I’ve personally had a positive experience removing caffeine. Pre-workout and heavy metal don’t help my hand-balancing or mobility work much.
Will I start drinking coffee again? Of course! I love coffee, but I feel like this caffeine-fast exposed some deficiencies and spurred much needed growth. I plan on making this fast a regular practice once I start drinking coffee again and sticking to the minimum effective dose. Can I find a balance? Who knows.
After writing this I continued over one year without coffee. Once I reintroduced caffeine, the remembered just how powerful the high was. It made me happy. Certain aspects of training got an immediate boost but I also found myself more easily distracted and a bit less focused. For now I think I will keep coffee for social occasions with friends or in case of emergencies.