I would like to preface this by saying this is my own personal journey with coffee/ caffeine. Like all products, caffeine affects people in different ways. I am not telling people to quit drinking coffee, I am just sharing my personal story. I hope you enjoy.
You don’t drink coffee or caffeine now, but has that always been the case?
No not at all, I actually used to be a barista in my uni days. I’d say I was a definite coffee snob for a few years. I had the full set up up with a hand grinder and pour over station. I still love coffee, the rituals around it and how it brings friends and family together.
So how do you go from a self-proclaimed ‘coffee-snob’ to caffeine-free? When did you start?
I decided to try going without when I was working in the UK and I’ve been off coffee for three years now. I used to drink a lot of coffee and would base my days and weekends around coffee intervals, which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing. The issue for me was a lot of my days I was stressed or tense and I couldn’t put a finger on why. It felt unnecessary to be spending my time like that and I wanted to make a change. I decided to try going without coffee to see if that made a difference… and for me, it did.
Why did you decide to make this a permanent change, rather than just having a month off?
I wasn’t planning to initially, which is probably the same for most people, but the results were undeniable and made me want to push on. Once I moved past the withdrawal symptoms of giving up, mainly headaches and constantly feeling sleepy, I started noticing some differences. I felt I had more energy and was enjoying not feeling stressed at work for no real reason. I was sleeping better and getting to sleep easier, something which used to be a real struggle. As a bonus I actually saved some money, which bucks the trend for young ex-pats living abroad. I went from buying multiple coffees a day, and treating them like necessary expenditures, to enjoying the occasional decaf.
What's your go-to drink when invited out for coffee?
I drink decaf coffee. I still love the taste of coffee, the smell and the experience of meeting a friend at your local café. I know some people struggle to get on the decaf-train, but it’s actually pretty good these days. I’m also partial to a hot chocolate, but who wouldn’t be?
Now you’re not getting up to make that morning brew, what’s your routine to get your brain awake and ready for the day?
I do 5-20min yoga/stretching (depending on how late I am). Shower with a cold session at the end, a peppermint tea with my breakfast, and I'm good to go.
Do you find yourself losing energy later in the day, the classic 3pm slump? What’s your advice for people trying to push through without topping up their caffeine so late in the day?
Take a break. I like to get away from my desk at lunchtime, and I definitely recommend not eating in front of your work. For me, going for a walk or a run, a quick gym session, or just tossing the ball around with my dog is a great way to clear the head and refresh yourself.
That is easier said than done though, and I can’t always get away. I do make sure I have an Ārepa with my lunch or just after, most days, and it sets me up for the afternoon without getting me wired. The shot is my favorite product when I feel like I need to quickly lift myself out of brain-fog, and essentially it covers the role that an extra shot of coffee used to.
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