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Day One Without Coffee

by Going Slowly

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.

Nadine Making Coffee

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.

Iced Coffee Stand

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!

Street Seller Making Iced Coffee

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.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

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…

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LOL. I quit drinking coffee while I was pregnant and have continued not drinking it while I am nursing and dang....I still miss it!
Posted by Amanda on March 11th, 2011 at 4:53 PM
I'm now a loner...Sarah quit cofee about a month ago. She completely switched over to tea, mostly decaffeinated.

I don't think I am putting words in her mouth but it seems "everything about her mind, body and spirit feels so much better."

I on the other hand in a feeble attempt to "not waste" have all but stopped grinding my special dark organic blend, abandoned setting the nightly program on the Cuisinart, only to drag myself through the morning until I can finally reach my desk for a cup of defogger.

I'm hopelessly addicted... I took the day off today, ground beans for a 10 cup heavy brew and I'm still drinking it as I write this. I think I still have one cup left...
Posted by Dad on March 12th, 2011 at 12:48 AM
Oh don't worry Dad, you won't be alone forever! I fully intend to go right back to drinking it when Eli stops nursing around the clock and until I get pregnant again. I love it too much to give it up forever and you only live once. AND I am sure there is coffee in heaven too :)
Posted by Amanda on March 12th, 2011 at 4:01 AM
This post leaves me conflicted between deciding it's time to go off coffee, and wanting to try expresso with sweetened condensed milk! I think I will aim for both - as my reward for breaking the addiction (I get *very* addicted - headaches if I miss my usual coffee time, groggy, etc) I will allow myself a nice weekend espresso with sweetened condensed milk, as a treat. Time to get off mandatory morning coffee however....
Posted by Jackie on March 14th, 2011 at 4:46 PM
I have to admit, I love good coffee...but nothing can induce me to drink foul stuff! So being picky has its rewards since I'm in Mississippi not Vietnam with that delicious sounding iced coffee! I enjoy a good cup, and drink one or two almost every day, but then for no apparent reason, I'll go "off" the coffee for a while, substituting teas, ice water, or whatever. Maybe the reason for the lack of addiction is that I've drank coffee off and on since I was a very young girl, and having ADHD, it just doesn't wind me up the same way it does other people. I can drink a pot of the stuff and then sleep like a baby, and while I do have was worse after 18 months of a no caffiene regimen than it had ever been before.

I do get the addicted thing, my other half is probably a coffee addict. I typically will make it before waking him up, I've seen him even drink cheap instant coffee stirred into room temperature water! Either he has no taste buds or likes the taste of flood water remains. Still, despite the delicious sound of the Vietnamese iced coffee, it's probably a very good thing you two ride a lot of miles in a day.
Posted by Gia Scott on March 15th, 2011 at 3:06 AM