The End of an Experiment

This is an pretty old post from my blog, which has been preserved in case its content is of any interest. You might want to go back to the homepage to see some more recent stuff.

A year and a half ago, off the back of a holiday that was largely caffeine-free, I decided to bite the bullet and ditch my high caffeine intake for a life of tea. Up until that point, I was getting through around four cups of instant coffee a day at work, and suffering for it on the weekends – I’d forget to keep my Saturday caffeine intake as high as my weekday intake, and by Saturday lunchtime the headaches would have set in. I frequently solved that problem with Red Bull, which in turn often left me feeling sick for the rest of the afternoon.

It was almost six months before I had my next cup of coffee, bought for me by someone who hadn’t remembered that I was trying to avoid it. And oh boy, how good does a cappuccino taste after half a year without!

At that point I decided to relax my self-imposed regime – I would allow myself “proper” coffee, but not instant. Instant coffee was the only kind I could sensibly drink at work, so the “no instant” requirement would still prevent my excess weekday consumption while still allowing me to drink cappuccinos on the rare occasions I made it to a café.

Though my promise still stands mostly intact – I have had only one cup of caffeinated instant coffee in the last 18 months – the idea behind it has fallen by the wayside. The culprit? Our office’s coffee machine.

It’s more expensive than making my own tea, but it’s much less hassle. The cappuccino it produces is dubious, but its idea of tea is much worse. But more than that, it’s more social. On a normal day as a tea-drinker, I only had to venture five metres outside the office for hot water, usually meeting nobody on the way. But as a coffee-machine-user, I get to chat to dozens more people every day. It’s a small change, but it makes taking a break from work an order of magnitude more enjoyable. And once back in the office, the caffeine rush from coffee hypes up my productivity far more than a cup of PG Tips ever did.

It was a nice 18-month experiment, but I think it’s time to close it down and see what happens next.

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