I stopped drinking coffee in the mornings. This is what happened.

As the title reads: I stopped drinking coffee in the morning. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: Why would anyone do that?

Alright, to be fair, I haven’t fully stopped. What I am not doing anymore is having a cup of coffee just as I wake up. Instead, I wait between two and three hours to get my first cup of coffee. But I think for many of you, the question stays the same: why would you do that?

Well, I’ve read some articles and posts (nothing too serious or too scientific, to be completely honest) talking about cortisol, caffeine and how these two interact. I’m not going to get deep into the details here as there are plenty of articles around the internet talking about it and I would probably not explain it the best. While there are some differences in terms of the times you should wait before getting caffeine in your system, basically all of them agree on this point: you don’t really need coffee right after waking up. So I decided to try out how this would work for me. You know, experimenting is always fun.

And how did that go?

First of all: I never thought I had a caffeine addiction. I used to drink two or three cups of coffee per day, depending if I’m working from the office or from home. On a regular office day, I’d have one cappuccino with breakfast at home, right after waking up; a second one in the middle of the morning (around 9:30-10:00) and usually a nice espresso after lunch. If I was working from home, then it would be just be the breakfast capuccino and maybe one espresso after lunch. And I say maybe as sometimes I would go for some herbal tea instead.

That’s it. It is not a lot, right? Not like one of those people whose primary fuel is coffee and drink more than five cups a day. Nevertheless, when I decided to stop drinking coffee, I immediately started noticing the symptoms of a withdrawal: a headache, general fatigue, brain fog and even a bit of dizziness.

Wow.

I did not expect that at all: I was taking so little caffeine a day that I could not believe I was having a withdrawal. It could not be real, but it was. Oddly enough, my body was not really craving coffee and pushing me toward the coffee machine: I was just not feeling that great. Anyway, I pushed through. I was not really detoxing from caffeine, I was simply waiting a bit until getting the first dose. And here came the good news: on the fourth day of doing this, the withdrawal symptoms were almost gone. On the sixth one, not present at all. After two weeks now, I don’t miss it at all.

Cool. What now? What are the benefits?

The first thing I noticed is that I am waking up considerably faster. The alarm clock rings, I jump out of bed, drink a glass of water… and I am basically ready to go. It used to take me a longer before: slowly walking around the house, preparing coffee and breakfast, sitting at the table for a while while drinking the coffee and reading some news… until my brain was really “awake”. I don’t need that much time anymore, so I am getting back some extra minutes every day. That’s pretty cool.

However, that is not the best part of it. The thing I’m really enjoying is that by doing this and slightly changing my morning routine, I get around one hour (between forty five minutes and one hour and a half, depending whether I am going to the office or staying at home) of absolute concentration. This is the time when I am writing some of these posts or studying something new. I’ve always been more of a morning person and I’m usually more productive before lunch… but this has been next level for me. I really love it: I turn on some background music (normally some jazz or lo-fi chill) and my brain is fully focused and ready to get things done. After this focus time, I do a quick ten minute meditation and either go have some breakfast if I am working from home, or put my shoes on and head to the office if not. I didn’t have this time before, and I am finding it very rewarding. It just feels good to start the day this way.

But don’t you miss the coffee?

As I’ve mentioned before: I am not giving up coffee. I like it a lot and I will keep drinking some. I’ve also read that a moderate (up to 200-300mg per day) caffeine consumption is healthy and recommended. And not only that: I actually love coffee and the things around it. I love that it is an excuse to meet someone or take a break during a hard working day. I enjoy preparing a nice cappuccino in my small DeLonghi Dedica, taking my time to grind some coffee beans, tampering the powder in the portafilter, smelling the freshly brewed espresso, frothing the milk, trying -most of the times with success- to draw a small heart in the foam of my cappuccino, drinking it while reading some articles or writing some thoughts… Oh, I want to have a coffee now.

See? My basic latte-art skills allow me to draw a nice heart on top of my cappuccino

To be honest, I miss the morning ritual a little bit. Even though I can do exactly the same a couple of hours later, something feels different. But the benefits I am getting from this change easily overcome this longing.

So, what are your thoughts? Are you willing to do something like this or are you grabbing your coffee mug even harder now? Me personally, I’m sticking to this new approach. It just works for me. Let me know if you decide to try it out and what your experience is!

Post featured picture by David Mao on Unsplash


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