If you’ve followed along with this series for the past couple of weeks (okay, it’s been months, longer than anticipated but i promise to do better next time), then props to you! And chances are, you probably don’t remember me mentioning the tapering method of quitting coffee, but not to worry as I’ve linked it here.
Today, I’ll be sharing a breakdown guide in case you’ve chosen to taper off your caffeine cravings. And though i can’t promise that it’ll be a speedy route or journey, it is the more effective option as it still allows you to indulge, just not as aggressively, and will ultimately help you adjust to lower levels of caffeine, in the process. And if you’re willing – to quit caffeine altogether.
P.s. this is the final post of the series, so if you would like to stay in the loop for the next series, hint **it’ll be on all things wellness tea**
Guide to effectively tapering your coffee consumption
When it comes to gradually reducing how much caffeine you consume, it’s important to look at your habits. Obviously, if coffee is your only vice, then it of course, makes sense to focus your reduction here. But if you love a choccie too, then it may be worth looking to cut down there also.
Ask yourself if you want change your habits, and if you’re ready to do so, then consider the tips mentioned below.
Take a look at your caffeine habits. If you have, say, 3 coffees in a day and 2 chocolate bars, with the odd energy drink throughout the day, it’s best you take note of how much caffeine you’re getting.
Since we’re talking about coffee here, we’ll stick to this.It’s recommended you reduce by 1/3 cup over a period of time. By brewing your coffee a little weaker, you’ll still be getting your fix, 300mg is the recommended daily amount; about 3 mugs of filter coffee.
Avoiding caffeine after 3pm has also been suggested, because as mentioned in an earlier post it can take between 7-9 hours for caffeine to leave the bloodstream.
Keep on the lookout for coffee alternatives, which we discussed here. For more tips, you can visit the US Health News suggestions
the best time to start was yesterday, the second best time to start is now
It’s been fun doing this series, and i hope you enjoyed reading as much as I’ve enjoyed researching and sharing my findings. If you’ve been read part 1 to 5, you’re the real MVP, and I appreciate you! Till the next series, which will begin in August (but the introduction to the next series will be up on 20th July)
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From me tea you!
Hi, I’m Bola. A writer and tea enthusiast. In June 2019, I decided to take my avid tea drinking that bit more seriously and Bola Talks Tea was born. The place where i document all things storytelling, tea and intentional living.
As I shared in the introductory post to this series, I mentioned talking to multiple people (of varying ages and lifestyles) asking about their experience with quitting coffee, (some of whom still continue to drink the beverage following their intermittent quit).
To remove a part of your daily routine that you’ve gotten so familiar with, no doubt can be a challenge, but in the long run, if reducing your caffeine intake is something you want to do, then it’s best to be know what to expect, which is why today I’ll be sharing with you the 7 most common withdrawal symptoms of quitting coffee.
7 most common caffeine withdrawal symptoms:
Having spoken with a number of people who have experienced their own caffeine withdrawal symptoms, below I’ve listed the 7 most common symptoms they all shared.
One of the earliest symptoms you may experience from cutting down on coffee is a pounding headache. This is due to the increase of blood flow to the brain, which caffeine often reduces. So as your body readjusts to its regular and natural rate of blood flow, headaches will be one of the few inconveniences.
Depending on coffee for an energy boost; be it in the morning or midday, creates a dependence and a fix to the energy slump. So, naturally eliminating coffee from the routine will of course mean the slump remains.
3. Irregular sleep patterns
Like the point above, the fatigue you experience is similar to the effects of a detox, as your body re-calibrates to it’s natural rhythm.
As the slogan goes, ‘you’re not you when you’re hungry’, but in this case it’s easy to feel like you’re not yourself without your daily caffeine dose, so as you strive to be your best caffeine-free self, be it permanently or temporarily, expect a bout of irritability along the way.
This goes without saying, but the sleep deprivation and the ongoing irregularity of slumber may have you feeling sleepy in the day and awake in the night, so it’s good to know that drowsiness is among the withdrawal symptoms.
6. Brain fog
Brain fog or lack of concentration was reported as one of the most difficult symptoms to deal with because in the case of work, not being able to bring their A-game was a concern, however given that it is a short term effect, you may just have to soldier through it.
7. Flu-like symptoms
As if all the other symptoms weren’t enough, some people shared that they felt like they had the flu. However, this is more likely to be the case for those who consume large quantities of caffeine. Mind you though, the caffeine may be from coffee, but it could also be down to other foods too.
How long the caffeine withdrawal symptoms last?
Given that caffeine has between 4 and 6 hours in our bodies, hence the need for a pick-me-up, it can take from a few days or weeks for the symptoms to subside.
Is there anything you did to help to help?
You’re probably wondering if there are any solutions to the withdrawal symptoms mentioned above. And luckily, this is one of the questions I asked the people who i spoke to; if there was anything in particular that made the symptoms any bit more bearable.
And a few of things they mentioned are:
1. Staying hydrated: Though it seems like a no-brainer, apparently making a conscious effort to drink your H20 can help.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about how broad the world of tea is,. And you may be thinking, “what’s this got to do with coffee’? Well, I’m glad you asked because i asked myself the same question. And as I started thinking about the similarities they bear, it was the fact that though they both contain caffeine, it’s how their effects and levels, differ that caught my attention.
The caffeine in tea and Coffee:
As a fellow tea drinker, if I’m in the mood for a calming or restful drink late in the evening, i can always reach for a chamomile (which isn’t really a tea, it’s a tisane but we won’t be getting into that today), or a silver needle white tea which is rather low in caffeine, meaning i wont have to worry about a caffeine-related sleep disruption.
However, when i thought about tea’s stronger distant cousin, I struggled to think of and find the alternative/low caffeine options (other than the decaf options, of course). But i wasn;t about to leave things like that, i did what any other curious beverage drinker would do, and off to Google galore I went.
Advice from a friend:
In good will, I will spare you the lengthy details, but what I will do is share with you what I’ve learnt. And not only from Google, but from journals, articles, and speaking to caffeine-free converts and coffee drinkers who’ve changed their caffeine ways.
Often, when we think of the world of coffee, it’s pretty much an unspoken code that the coffee is full of abundance niche, and from this i too can assert there is much to learn.
And speaking honestly, I want to use this series as a way of sharing more about the teas out there, not just the kind that tea lovers adore, but the kind that coffee lovers too can substitute from time to time, for their coffee, or if they’re brave enough completely.
Other documenting their experience:
Now back to weaning off coffee. If there’s been a challenge I’ve seen multiple content creators who try cutting out coffee for a number of days, or months. And a quick search on YouTube, Google or Instagram will quickly reveal, there are a lot of people who have given this a go.
If you’re in the mood for evaluating your relationship with coffee, then take a look at this article from the Well and Good team.
What you can expect:
From this series, here’s a few things you can expect over the coming weeks:
-The difference between quitting coffee and quitting caffeine
-Different methods of reducing your coffee consumption along with,
-Substitutes for coffee, which are similar in taste, but diffferent in substance. I am aware that the rustic coffee flavour is difficult to emulate, but what’s the harm in giving them a try?
-Alternatives to coffee, some which include caffeine-filled drinks and non-caffeinated alike
-The benefits of living a caffeine free lifestyle (Including the benefits)
-There will also be a bonus part, so feel free to leave suggestions below of what you’d like to see.
If any of the things mentioned above are of any interest to you, then why not sign up below to be notified of each post within the series? (i’ll be posting every Friday this month, so sign up to stay in the know)
This, is the story of Sam has been drinking coffee since she started freshman year of college, though she initially refused to join the bandwagon, the demand of deadlines caused her to give in. It’s been 5 years and though she’s finished university, the habit of coffee is one she’s not been able to leave behind. And her single cup as a energy source for pulling all-nighters has upgraded to multiple a day. Leaving her exhausted in the absenc of her daily dose(s).
*FYI: Sam doesn’t actually exist, she was actually created for the purpose of this post.
Perhaps your relationship with coffee started in a similar manner, or perhaps the overwhelming workload of work and/or life has got you reaching for this energy stimulant. And if the side effects, as mentioned in part 1, and as seen here, are similar to your own experience, theI hope the list of caffeine-free substitutes to coffee.
the bone of contention
If the idea of quitting coffee altogether is too daunting and you cant quite stomach the idea of going ‘cold turkey’ (check out the last post here for more on this), not to worry.. Or perhaps, you’re not yet willing to compromise on the full-bodied, robust flavour but you’re all in for cutting down on the coffee caffeine, then you’re in luck, because this post is for you!
Having to give up something you’re so used to and love is hard, and I’m not here to make your life harder but smooth. (I had to!).
Spilling the (roasted) beans
There’s no point in wasting anymore time, so without further ado, we’ll dive right in! (you coming or what?)
First things first, I must say that the beverages I am about to mention are not the real thing, and while some bear the name of ‘herbal coffee’, this may give off a pseudo effect that you are drinking the ‘c’ culprit, but be warned, though they may be similar, there are no coffee beans in the beverages I am about mention.
*Oh and very quickly, i just want to mention, all the following substitutes are caffeine free and instant:
5 Caffeine-free Coffee Substitutes
1. Whole Earth Alternative (Decaf)
This could be your preference if:
You want something quick, weak and warm. It does have a slight roasted flavour to it, and while it can’t compare to the taste of coffee, it is great for soothing the craving of a warm beverage.
2. Prewett’s Roasted Chicory drink
Compared to the above, this one has the upper hand for 3 main reasons, the ‘strength’, scent and flavour. Granted, this may be because the chicory is roasted, but I can say that the difference in taste is clear. Aso, this one isn’t
That’s right, Teecino (like cappuccino but minus the coffee). While I haven’t had the chance to try this one yet, there are plenty of reviews out there which many are a fan of, I’ve listed below the review of two different people.
If you’re after a milder in taste, but a strong scent (without the depth or bitter end to it, then you might prefer this. This is also a caffeine-free and is made up of chicory, grains and acorns, Also, this does already have sugar in, but unlike these other substitutes, this one froths at the top once you add hot water (and milk – optional) to the granules.
So this substitute is made of a dandelion (root), an Eastern medicine which many former coffee-lovers have switched to, and wellness expert and nutritionist, Robyn Youkilis thoughts on this, then you can read it here.
This might be for you if:
This is hailed for its caffeine-free, and herbal medicinal, namely for gut health as it has probiotic properties.
Click here for more on dandelion, which is apparently the next coffee, (or matcha for the tea drinkers out there).
If you enjoyed this post, or you missed the previous part to this series, then click here (insert link) to get caught up. And if you want to receive a notification for the next post then join below to stay in the know!
hours minutes seconds
Part 3 upload
See you next Friday for part 3, till then
Happy Sipping TEAsers,
P.S. If you want to read p1, you can find it here (*insert link)
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my own journey into the world of tea, but that’s probably of little importance to you. However, if you clicked on this then chances are you too have been thinking about your relationship with tea, or it’s widely debated opposition counterpart – Coffee!
And before we get into it, I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know a whole lot about coffee, but what i do know, first hand, is the effect it can have on your body. Unless you’re a part of the 1% who remain unaffected by it’s caffeine levels, then this post may not be for you.
But if late nights have gotten later thanks to the evening cup of arabica, or the mid-noon slump brings on fatigue, headaches, or any other symptoms, then you’re in the right place.
You know the symptoms I’m referring to:
-The dependency of a midday pick-me-up when your energy crashes once the caffeine levels in your system dip
-Feeling like you can’t be as productive in the absence of the cup o’ joe
–Insomnia if you drink coffee too late in the day
-The jitters you get after your second latte, or your americano, with a double shot of espresso each time. (or maybe your tolerance is stronger than mine)
When it comes to giving up or weaning off such an addictive substance as caffeine, some opt for the cold turkey approach while others prefer a gradual decrease over a period of time. While I could project one approach as being better than the other, I’d rather present the facts and allow you to choose your preferred method.
Cold Turkey vs Weaning/Tapering method
Cold Turkey: The idea of abruptly quitting something you are addicted to altogether
In choosing to quit coffee cold turkey, within the first couple of days or weeks, there are a number of withdrawals symptoms you’ll likely experience, those of which include:
-Irregular sleep pattern
Most people who choose this method often do so in the hope that this’ll delay the onset of the symptoms they would experience if they were to just stop altogether. In the grand scheme of things, this option allows you to have your coffee cake and eat it, but it comes with the same withdrawal symptoms.
Some people claim the symptoms settle a lot quicker with this method. Apparently, it’s likely that your sleep will suffer within the first few days.
Why should you listen to me?
While I admit that I’ve never been a coffee junkie, I once had a short-lived dependency on the beverage and quickly switched to once the jitters became a regular side effect. But in taking this topic seriously, what did i do? I enlisted the help of those more experienced than me in the world of coffee to share their experience of quitting altogether (and temporarily) to learn of the similarities and differences in their experiences.
Also, if you’d like an in-depth, day by day account of quitting coffee, experimenting with the weaning and coffee approaches, check out this article.
What is your relationship with coffee like?
When we think about the things we are reliant on, especially when it’s a co-dependent kind, we often apply the ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it’ mentality, but its always worth at least knowing why you like coffee. If it’s for taste great. If it’s for the benefits, good for you, but if it’s because you ‘can’t function otherwise’, you can understand why that might be worrying.
So now onto:
The 5 reasons you (came for) should consider
1. Your sleep
Perhaps you’re tired of the disruption to your circadian rhythm as a result of you having say three cups (or ,more) a day, or maybe you’re one of the lucky few whose sleep goes unaffected. But if you relate with the former, perhaps you’re looking to reclaim your functional sleeping pattern. And if that be the case, you could consider the tapering method.
Perhaps you’ve had enough of not being able to ‘function’ till you’ve got some caffeine in your system, and while habits can be hard to break, the operative word here is ‘break’. Breaking the habit by quitting coffee altogether (or reducing your consumption) will allow you re-regulate your natural levels of energy.
We all know about coffee’s acidity and because of the caffeine, it’s ability to flushes out the kidneys, which in turn flushes out vital minerals and nutrients, like magnesium and calcium.
4. to kick the addiction
As the saying goes, ‘the first step to overcoming an addiction is admitting the problem’ and if you’ve gotten this far, you probably know your dependency has progressed further than you intended. Not to worry though, it’s not the end of the road, as this may be a turning point, either to reduce how many cups you have, or the type of caffeine-filled you opt for instead.
5. Duty (dooty) calls
Perhaps you’ve noticed (or you’re so accustomed to it now) that you make frequent visits to the toilet, be it to pee, or if you drink enough in the day, to let the bowls run loose. This is due to it’s laxative properties which can affect the digestive tract, but as mentioned in number 2, it’s diuretic properties also causes you to expel more sodium and water which would explain the frequent trips.
I must mention here though that the caffeine itself isn’t the problem, but rather overdoing the recommended limitthat creates these side effects. And given that caffeine isn’t in coffee alone ,it’ very easy to overdo it, with other things like chocolate, tea, soft drinks among others.
If you’re interested in more in-depth info on al things caffeine, the Caffeine Informer is a great source to consult.
Now that I’ve done my part, I’m out. Happy sipping TEAsers! If you’d like to stay up to datte with the upcoming posts then drop your email below.
Till we stir the next set of leaves,
P.S. Next up we’ll be talking about the coffe substitiutes you can try in making the switch.
Sources (and further reading list, should you wish to check it out):