Why Giving up Coffee Was the Best Mistake I’ve Ever Made

I didn’t mean to give up coffee. Honestly. I’ve been reliant on it as a daily ally against the forces of fatigue and ennui since I was about thirteen. I have more cafetières  than most people of my age and gender should really admit to owning. Grand 6 cup jobs for long essay hauls and small individually sized ones from Whittards for the morning hit. Buying ground coffee is just about the only time I’ll plump for the more expensive item in the supermarket. I don’t care about having toilet paper that feels like one of Liberace’s neck-ties, but I certainly won’t get the co-op’s own brand coffee when there’s Taylor’s to be had.

However, what I have never been is a slave to coffee shops. I like them enough as social spaces, but the idea of paying nearly £4 for what Larry David accurately described as ‘some vanilla bullsh*t thing’ never floated my own boat. If I could host my own Boston Tea Party, such things would be the first to go overboard. No, I’ve always firmly been a black coffee man. I can’t stand the taste of milk, which is a personal quirk, but important enough in this particular tale.

I used to get up at 6am every morning to go to school, simply because of where I lived and the fact that public transport was involved, just about every school day for seven years. So the aversion I’d had to coffee when I’d first been given a cursory taste of the stuff aged 11, more for the amusement of my parents than out of any expectation I might actually like the stuff, slowly departed. That first cup of black coffee at 06:15 am was like a life preserver, keeping me half buoyant in an ocean of snoozy semi-consciousness, and so this continued for a good seven years. Until last month in fact.

I’d known for some time my dependancy on the black stuff was doing me no real good. I could quite comfortably drink enough coffee to make an elephant involuntarily do the Macarena and still feel devoid of energy. I would get headaches by the early afternoon if I didn’t get my morning fix. So how on earth did I give the stuff up?

Simply put, by mistake. I spent a week in Spain with a friend in mid-September and the only available coffee was instant stuff I simply dislike the taste of. That and tea, which simply doesn’t work in Spain. I’ve never been much of a tea drinker anyway – either way, I hadn’t prepared for a coffee free week. The sudden industrial strength doses of Vitamin D I was receiving from the sun seemed to quell the need for the caffeine fix, or at least the amount of it I didn’t get second-hand in Coke.

” I would get headaches by the early afternoon if I didn’t get my morning fix. So how on earth did I give the stuff up?”

Suddenly the headaches stopped; there wasn’t the cold-turkey period I had expected. I didn’t bring any coffee to university and I haven’t had any of the stuff for well over a fortnight. And though it sounds somewhat terrible to say now there’s an expectation that hasn’t yet departed for me to feel more tired than I currently do, and as I sit and type this it feels like there’s an unpleasant sensation missing from the front of my head. My teeth are looking the better for not being stained on a daily basis and I’m sleeping more soundly than I have for some time. All the empty promises the internet made about the benefits of giving up what was in hindsight a quite serious addiction have turned out to be true. Who’d have thought it?

 

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Michael Carr

Deputy Editor and co-Arts Editor 2014/15, ex-Music Editor. Lover of all things Beatles, paisley and Simpsons related. Occasional tweetings here: https://twitter.com/M_J_Carr