Current Magazine

Kicking the Caffeine

Posted on the 02 September 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost

Kicking the caffeine

It is my dawn chorus: the soft putter putter of my Bialetti stovetop. I drag myself, eyes half-shut, to the cooker to get my hit; a tiny drop of hot milk turning it the colour of dark fudge. Coffee, for me, is the scent of morning, the promise of a new start. I love the deeply civilising ritual of it; quietly, accurately measuring the beans, grinding, spooning and levelling. I am near fetishistic about cups and spoons and the right kind of milk. Coffee is my passion. But I have decided to give it up. Not to cut down, but to stop drinking it altogether.

This is a long time coming. I have been thinking for some time my caffeine intake was getting a little out of hand. My husband and I would have no trouble polishing off an eight-cup pot before work. Then there might be a short, milky macchiato on the way into the office. A quick, bitter espresso with lunch, maybe another mid-afternoon… the coffees were adding up.

I am on day two of cold turkey, and my deep addiction to the black stuff is becoming painfully clear. By 11am yesterday morning I had an excruciating headache. Right behind the eyebrows, pressing forward, my synapses crying out for a drug. I went to get some air and all I could see or smell was coffee: people sauntering down the street with polystyrene cups in hand; earthy fumes from coffee machines on the air. By 3pm I had desperately bought a decaff espresso, in the hope that I could fool my brain into thinking it was the real stuff. The headache persisted; I began to feel nauseous, dizzy.

By the evening, I was stretched out on the sofa at home, under a duvet; more exhausted that I can ever remember being. “You’re through the worst of it,” comforted my husband, after-supper demitasse in hand. This morning, have I turned a corner? I don’t think so. I passed Monmouth Coffee this morning with clenched fists, eyes rooted to the pavement. The headache is back. I am sipping on endless, soulless, boring cups of teas – green, fennel and hibiscus. But can I do it? I think I can. I don’t want to be 32 and addicted to anything. But saying goodbye forever to those small, perfect, creamy cappuccinos you get in Italy? Ruling out for all time an inky cup of coffee savoured after a feast? Let’s just say we’re on a break.

Hannah Shuckburgh is Commissioning Editor of Easy Living magazine. This article originally appeared on the Easy Living blog.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog