Before this trip, neither of us liked coffee all that much. Actually, we had a mild disdain for the stuff, mostly centered around the fear of becoming dependent on a substance for something as basic as waking up in the morning. In spite of ourselves, we developed a small obsession with cappuccini in Italy. They were so darn tasty! Especially on chilly winter afternoons.
But as delicious as they were, we told ourselves we'd never drink coffee because we needed it to function. Indeed, once we left Italy and weren't presented with easily-accessible, cheap and delicious coffee on a regular basis, we simply forgot about it.
A few months later, our friends Felix and Nadine re-introduced us to the cappuccino with their on-the-road brewing and frothing methods. This stuff was so tasty and comforting on cold, rainy days, we started entertaining ideas of traveling around with a moka pot and mini French press of our own.
But then we just couldn't be bothered. Again, our appreciation for the flavor of coffee fell by the wayside for many, many months.
Enter Southeast Asia.
Thailand was the gateway country, serving up tall, milky concoctions without too much emphasis on the actual coffee part of the equation. Their cold, kafé yens were as refreshing on hot cycling days as the cappuccini were during chilly, rainy rides.
A bit further into Southeast Asia, Cambodia doled out slightly smaller but stronger doses. We had to work harder to get them too, learning to pronounce what sounded like ca-FaY tic tac to da-GAW!
Now we're in Vietnam, and the ca phe sua da here is the best we've had yet. We're not sure if there is a direct correlation between flavor and caffeine, but Vietnamese coffee has enough stimulant to power a defibrillator.
Before we realized what was happening, we were hooked. Coffee was the first thing we wanted in the morning, and not long after that, what we wanted all the time. Ironically, instead of having more energy, our new habit left us perpetually groggy. Drinking coffee all day made falling asleep difficult, and getting to bed late meant not much rest.
Still in denial that anything was wrong, we countered our sleepless nights with yet more coffee. For awhile there, we were drinking one or two glasses every single morning. While more caffeine got us moving, it was less like a replacement for a good night's sleep and more like having a giant truck plowing behind us, forcing us to run.
Ignoring all the evidence, we tried to convince ourselves that we had everything under control.
…we just dreamed of the stuff, thought it was the most delicious thing in the whole world, fantasized about adding espresso and condensed milk to just about everything, and waxed lyrical about waking up every morning to the smell of coffee brewing.
Sure, we felt weird sometimes, and had trouble sleeping, and got lots of headaches, and couldn't think straight, and got crabby all the time, and felt like the walking dead… But oh it was worth it for a sip of that creamy sweet coffee.
Oh wait… that's addiction!
When we finally realized that the simple, natural task of waking up had become a monumental effort requiring us to carve through thick layers of hazy morning fog we'd heretofore never experienced, we decided something needed to be done. So today, we quit.
Goodbye coffee. We love you, but you're a fickle b…