Last February I decided to give up coffee. I had been a coffee drinker since I was 12 years old and I guess I could be considered a bit of a snob when it came to it. I always used fresh ground, high quality beans and brewed with an expensive coffee maker. I loved going to local coffee shops and treating myself to a good cup of pour over.
Why I Decided to Quit Drinking Coffee
I didn’t like the idea that I felt like my body depended on coffee. I didn’t feel awake in the mornings unless I had several cups. It was often hard for me to fall asleep at night and I wasn’t always getting the most restful sleep. I clenched my jaw during my sleep almost every night, which I learned was probably due to my caffeine dependency. I also suspected my coffee drinking habit was the reason my blood pressure was slightly elevated.
How I Did It
Once I decided I wanted to stop drinking coffee I had to figure out how I was going to do it. I told myself I was going to start with just trying to go without it for one month and see how I felt after that. I picked February as the month to start because it’s so short! I knew I still wanted to drink something warm every morning because I enjoy the ritual and allowing for a little “me time” is always nice. I did some Google searches to find out what other people did and what some good coffee alternatives might be.
What Alternatives I Tried
After some internet searching and shopping around, I landed on a few different alternatives I wanted to try: Teeccino (a brand of herbal coffee alternative drinks), matcha, dandelion tea, and black tea.
Teeccino: I really enjoyed drinking this brand and thought it tasted great, but it was more expensive than drinking coffee everyday. It’s also something that isn’t available where I regularly do my grocery shopping, so it would mean making a special trip to the co-op or Whole Foods every week.
Matcha: I found a large bag of powdered matcha for a good price at Costco. I also happened to have a matcha brewing kit that I had received as a Christmas gift, so I even had a special whisk for mixing it. I love the flavor of matcha, but I found making it to be a little fussy and time consuming for the mornings.
Dandelion tea: I had heard from many people that dandelion tea is a good coffee alternative because it has a similar strong, bitter taste. I tried the Traditional Medicinals brand and really enjoyed the flavor, but it was also on the more expensive side and not available at my regular grocery store.
Black tea: There is such a wide variety of black teas available and I like them all. I mainly drank chai, English Breakfast, and sometimes Earl Grey during the switch. I can find these teas in large quantities at my regular grocery store, so I end up spending about $0.04 a serving.
My New Morning Routine
I start my mornings by brewing a cup of black tea, usually chai or English Breakfast. This means I am still consuming a small amount of caffeine every day, but not nearly as much as when I was a coffee drinker. I only drink 1-2 cups of tea a day, but I used to drink 4-6 cups of coffee a day! I also like to unwind with a cup of herbal tea in the afternoons or evenings.
I decided to keep going after the first coffee free month because it was so easy! I didn’t feel any caffeine withdrawal symptoms and I was falling asleep faster at night. My sleep was also more sustained and more restful. Overtime, I noticed less soreness in my jaw due to less clenching. I no longer get that jittery feeling after drinking too much coffee. My blood pressure levels are lower now. I am also spending less time getting ready in the morning since I no longer have to clean the coffee machine, grind the beans, and wait for the pot to be ready.
I am using single use tea bags which does create a little waste. I am able to compost the tea bag itself, but they often come wrapped in plastic. I try to buy tea with less packaging when I can and sometimes brew loose leaf tea in a reusable mesh strainer when I have time.
How I Feel One Year Later
Since I am getting more and better sleep, I feel great! Giving up coffee was something I didn’t think I would be able to do. For weeks after I gave it up, I would crave it every time I smelled it. I no longer have those cravings and I am happy with the benefits I have seen in my health and lifestyle since switching to tea. I have a well stocked cabinet full of tea choices so I am never bored! It was much easier than I thought it would be to give up coffee and I’m glad I resolved to try.