Why I’ve Had to Give Up Coffee

Coffee. That single word can bring up so many memories- maybe of parents or grandparents drinking it, maybe of a special coffee date or maybe as recent as this morning when you were brewing your first cup.

I know that my first thought when my alarm goes off is,”I can’t wait to have my coffee”.

Coffee is more than a drink to me- it is my time in the morning to regroup. I drop the kids at the bus and then I come home to make my cup of coffee. It is a ritual I enjoy and that can’t seem to be truly replaced by another drink.

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First, there is the opening of the beans and the pouring of them into the grinder with that wonderful rattle. This is when you first smell the wonderful aroma sneak into the room. The water boils for my French press while I slowly measure heaping spoonfuls of the coffee in to the press, inhaling the scent deeply. I pour the water and set the timer for five minutes.

The five minutes of brewing time allow me to tidy the counters or check social media. I stay close by so that I can smell the water becoming coffee. The timer beeps and I slowly press down on the French press handle, while I exhale a releasing breath. Pouring the fragrant brew into my cup, I feel as if my day is about to begin.

The best part is that I work from home. I can sit on the couch with my hot cup cradled in my hands, take in some of the news and a moment for myself. Slowly, I inhale the thick scent of my coffee, taking great big sips before it gets cold. It is my me-time; my grown-up time.

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In fact, as a child, coffee was presented as just such a grown-up ritual. Leaning in close, adults would repeatedly whisper to me that it was a grown-up’s drink but someday I would be able to try it. That word “able” made it sound like a privilege, as if proof of being mature and adult would need to be presented before coffee could be tried, at last.

Since coffee was always presented as a grown-up rite of passage, I couldn’t wait to try the bitter smelling stuff. It smelled awful to me as a kid but I would watch the grown-ups wait impatiently for it to brew and then hold it up to their face with a deep inhale. The whole thing seemed a lovely way to start the morning, in my opinion, and doing the same with my cold glass of milk didn’t have the same affect. My family on one side wasn’t religious- coffee was their religion.

When I finally got to try coffee in my teens, it was at my grandparent’s house. They told me I was old enough to drink it and presented me with a cup. I was overjoyed- I was being seen as an adult! It was met with indignation when I suggested sugar or milk. Something as sacred as coffee shouldn’t be sullied in such a way!

That day, I was poured cup after cup of strong black coffee and practically vibrated my way back home. I was in love. Coffee is terrific, I thought, and I am devoted to it for life. I even worked at Starbucks for years and years and it never bothered me that I came home smelling of coffee and espresso. I happily devoted myself to it all of those years.

But all good things must come to an end and the honeymoon period has ended. Coffee, I’m breaking up with you.

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When I drink coffee: my skin breaks out in deep and painful cystic acne,  my gut cramps up, and sometimes it makes my stomach hurt as if I drank something caustic. Some even make me feel physically ill (I was told because of possible toxins and mold)- with the same affect as gluten-poisoning: flu-like symptoms, blurry vision, painful joints, diarrhea and tiredness. I used to drink a lot of coffee but have been limiting myself to one or two cups for over a year now, with the same effect.

The acne is the main motivation, actually, since the stomach problems aren’t consistent. I am in my late thirties and when I give up coffee my skin (finally!!) clears up. But if I indulge every day, my skin breaks out in deep cystic acne and it hurts a lot. It isn’t the same as your teen acne variety, that’s for sure!

I may have the occasional cup as a treat, but once a week or even once a month. Beyond that, it just isn’t worth it.

I feel like brewing tea may be my new grown-up ritual.

Are you a coffee drinker?

Is there a food or drink that your body can’t handle either?

Comment below!


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