Tuesday, May 4, 2010


For about a week, I’ve been humming along without caffeine. (See blog description above, at least for today.) I’d say I’m surprised, but in my caffeine-free equanimity, I’m only mildly puzzled.

My withdrawal began without intention. For several days, for no particular reason, I was drinking only tea, without my usual cup or two of coffee. (I like tea.) Then I began drinking less tea, more water, just to see how I would feel. (I felt fine.) Then I began drinking one cup of tea with breakfast, and decaffeinated tea and coffee for the rest of the day. After a couple of days, I could feel the unpleasant difference — call it vague anxiety — that the one caffeinated cup was making in my mornings. So I switched to decaffeinated, period.

Decaf tea and coffee make me think of filter cigarettes: flavorwise, there’s something missing — not caffeine, but whatever else gets lost in decaffeination. But I suspect that decaf, like soy milk, will soon enough turn into a real thing in its own right.

[May 22, 2010: For several days, the “blog description above” read “Now caffeine-free.” Still is. Still am.]

comments: 7

macon d said...

Exactly! I'm amazed at what a difference it makes to not be hooked on a regular dose of that drug. I do feel less-to-no anxiety; I have more energy overall; I'm in a better mood most of the time; I get by on less sleep (presumably because my body/system doesn't need to recover from the drug dosage); I'm more clearheaded, and it's like, just about all day long, instead of just a few hours of the day; exercise goes better as well.

I'm also amazed at how many people are addicted to this drug; how many don't actually think of it as a drug; and how many have little to no idea that they may well be better off overall without it. It seems like a crutch, really -- a crutch that people inflict on themselves, and that they could toss aside with relative ease.

Michael Leddy said...

Yep, yep, and yep. What I most notice is that I wake up more easily and don’t lag late in the day. And I like not having to refuel when the caffeine reserves are low.

Nora said...

Supposedly you can decaffeinate tea yourself by brewing a cup for about 30 seconds, then throwing that out and brewing another one, as caffeine brews away more quickly than the tea flavor.

This is easier to do with green tea because it rebrews more easily, but you can do it with black as well.

Matt Thomas said...

Funny, I just bought a 13oz can of Chock Full o’Nuts. To paraphrase Twin Peaks’s Agent Cooper, makes a damn fine cup of coffee.

Benjo said...

I did the same thing last year, starting from a daily intake similar to yours. Not to tempt you, but the best part of the experience was my first cup in 6 months - productivity has never been quite as productive as it was that afternoon (nor as fun).

Nowadays I do coffee 2-4 times per week, which I find keeps my tolerance low enough that it really boosts productivity. And it's still not quite enough for me to have any withdrawal or grogginess the other few days.

Good luck with your own decaffeination - beating an addiction, even a mild (and often pleasant) one like caffeine, is a very satisfying thing, and I hope you continue to enjoy it.

Michael Leddy said...

Nora, I’ve read about the 30-second rule, but I’ve also read that it isn’t true. For whatever it’s worth, I’m finding the decaf versions of Red Rose and Twinings Irish Breakfast to be very good.

Matt, Chock Full o’Nuts tastes great. As does the Twin Peaks clip. Thanks.

Benjo, I salute your relationship with caffeine. I miss your writing too.

Michael Leddy said...

Oops — it’s Chock full o’Nuts.