Having worked in a coffee store for eight years I have learned a number of important life lessons. The earlier your day starts the better, even if that start is 4am. The customer you serve after the last explosive customer is always the nicest person you will meet all day, and perhaps most importantly – it’s okay to say no to having that cup of coffee writes Sebastian Briguglio.
Everyday at work I would have three seperate cups of coffee, somedays more, well, most days more – and on my days off this same trend would continue. After the years I decided to do a personal stocktake on how much coffee I was going through – it was here I met my first confronting figure. 1092. That was my yearly intake, per cup that is – times that by three to grasp just how many shots of espresso I was having, and for extra fun times it by eight to see how many cups that has been while working in a cafe, now imagine every cup you buy costing you $5 and we are entering the realm of lunacy. I can safely say that in that time I have not drank nearly half that amount in water – and yet I survived.
The big question here is though, why was this a problem?
Sure, you can look at my water intake comparatively and draw a pretty obvious conclusion, but then there’s the obvious defence, if it isn’t broken why try and fix it. To that I both sympathise and whole heartedly disagree though. Thinking back on history and acknowledging that while coffee has a vast and rich history, humanity did in fact exist without it – quite well in fact.
I don’t recall the cause of Napoleon being defeated because he missed his morning latte, or how Captain Cook was slain only after his first-mate slipped him decaf by mistake.
So I did what I thought was right – and cut coffee. Well, to be more accurate, I cut all caffeine. No more breakfast teas, no cola, not even decaf or chocolate – I cut it all.
The first few days went by as expected. A headache here, maybe even bordering on a migraine – but nothing overly severe.
When days four and five came around though I found myself to becoming overly irritable, having to actively not have a go at people, having to centre myself – to play things out as they were rather than my instinctive response of anger.
This whole experience had thrown a spanner into my work life balance. Finding myself becoming sapped of all energy by mid-afternoon, I was no longer able to push myself into the late hours of the evening.
Of course none of this was unexpected – having done my research prior to this I went in expecting a whole list of addiction based responses and comparatively compared to much harder drugs, my experience was nothing short of a vacation.
My moment of clarity however came at day nineteen. From then on I found myself waking up earlier, beating my earliest morning alarms. I would arrive at work with a newfound abundance of stamina, often outlasting my peers both in patience and energy. I had formed a healthier sleep pattern, my body worked itself into a functioning routine, and perhaps best of all I had begun to lose weight. I found myself functioning on a meal to meal basis, not eating only due to hunger but to literally fuel myself to get through each day.
But, that’s just me. My grandfather, 95, can’t go three hours without a coffee – and I can’t argue with that fact or his age. All I can say is that after eight years of being a serial coffee addict and three months of going caffeine free, I have no reason to ever go back.