kicking the coffee habit

Kicking the Coffee Habit

By on February 1, 2016

I did it, and so can you. Read how I went from five cups of coffee a day to zero, overnight.

I am pretty addicted to coffee, just looking at this featured photo makes me want to drop everything and run out for a double espresso. My recent pattern was to drink two strong cups before I would even get dressed in the morning; another cup mid-morning at work; and another two (or three) in the afternoon. The only thing I can say in my defense is that the coffee at work is very weak…

Many years ago I read the book Caffeine Blues.  The information in that book, plus some health issues I was having, were enough motivation to make me quit coffee for eight years!  (Then started again about three years ago.) There is quite a bit of detail in this book, but here is the main point that struck me: the way coffee works is by triggering an adrenaline response in our bodies.  It puts us into a “fight or flight” mode, which is why it increases our energy and focus.  But at a cost.  This constant agitation triggered by the adrenaline also increases stress, anxiety, and insomnia.  The book goes on to name a whole list of other ailments associated with drinking coffee, such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.

I followed the instructions in the book and went completely off of caffeine for more than two months.  I kept waiting for my natural energy to kick in, and I guess it did, but not as much I would have hoped.  I could function, I could get up, get dressed, get the kids off to school, drive to work without falling asleep at the wheel, make it through the work day…  I survived.  But I felt kind of blah.  I didn’t feel that bursting energy that I’ve grown to love!  So eventually I decided to include some caffeine, and added in green tea.  According to Dr. Andrew Weil, one of my go-to sources for everything health related, green tea has a lot of health benefits.  Here are his ten reasons to drink green tea.

After eight years of drinking tea, I tried coffee one day to see how it felt.  And well, it felt great, and before I knew it I was back up to five cups a day!  One of the problems with coffee is the body does adjust and it takes more and more caffeine to feel that same alertness.  As much as I love coffee, it is depressing to feel like I can’t function without it.  And I do worry about the health consequences of drinking so much.

So, here we go!  Periodically I do a coffee cleanse, to give my body a break, and I decided to start one three days ago.  Yup, that’s right folks, I’m on day three without coffee and I’m still functioning. Here is how I do it, painlessly:  I switch to green tea, a LOT of green tea, to start.  Even though I go cold turkey off of coffee, I don’t abruptly cut off the caffeine.  Then, over the days, I reduce the amount of tea I consume so my caffeine consumption does go down.  This is easy for me to do because let’s face, green tea is okay, but just can’t compare : )


green tea latte - quit coffee

Here is a picture of my yummy green tea latte.  I use Organic Matcha, which is a Japanese powdered green tea, and homemade cashew milk.  I wouldn’t recommend the Starbucks version which has a ridiculous amount of sugar in it.  This has a fair amount of caffeine, and is especially nice in the first week, and first thing in the morning.  I also just brew regular teabags of organic green tea, especially when I’m out and about and don’t have my Vitamix handy.

I’m not sure how long of a break I’m taking this time!!  Sometimes it’s just a few days, and sometimes years!  Time will tell.  I think this will be a long one, I’m motivated.

Featured photo detail: This was taken at my hotel in Maputo, Mozambique. After a week of working 14 hour days, I slept late and then had three of these double espressos before I could even go for a walk.

  1. Reply

    Andrea McCullough

    February 3, 2016

    Lol, I have to admit I was salivating over your picture before I read your blog, hoping it was an amazing creamy rich healthy replacement for coffee. Totally agree that a coffee cleanse is a great way to reset and restore
    your nervous system. It’s always been easier for me when I am on a weekend or 2 week Sufi retreat, away from the habitual grind, and a with heart set on going as deep into sacred presence as possible. I think I tell myself that since regular life is too fast paced to go deep anyway, might as well enjoy coffee.

  2. Reply

    Mark Dillon

    March 11, 2016

    Congrats Amber! Your story is one of inspiration.

    Your journey, with bringing in tea is a great way to still combine some of those rituals that are a part of coffee….the warmth, the preparation…combined it can help.

    I will admit, I’m not there yet! I’ve completely given it up before…for years…but then come back. It’s something to watch…because it’s so easy to go from one to several a day.

    Currently I enjoy about 3 cups a day. I know…that might seem like a lot to some…but it’s better than where I once was…7+!

    Great post…thanks for sharing it.

    • Reply


      January 3, 2017

      Superior thinking detrnsmoated above. Thanks!

  3. Reply


    January 3, 2017

    You’re on top of the game. Thanks for shnarig.


Cambridge, MA

From nine to five, I am a Senior Program Officer at a small non-profit working in International Public Health. In the rest of my hours I am a yoga and meditation teacher, a health enthusiast, an aspiring vegan, an amateur photographer, and most importantly, a mother of two.

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