5 Signs Coffee and I Don't Click

17 Dec 2016

Regular visitors of this blog probably knew about my love for tea. I even wrote a few posts that include teas, teas and more teas. What people probably don't know is how I used to be a coffee addict instead of tea. Don't get me wrong, I've always loved tea but I was a religious coffee drinker back then. It was only this year that I started to cut down my coffee consumption and decide to drink tea instead, a decision that has helped and improved my functionality in life.

Throwback story

Here's a short recap of how addicted I was with coffee

I used to drink Starbucks almost everyday. Every. Day. Can you believe that? I might even needed the 'Starbucks white girl' hashtag, no joke. My favorite drinks to order were caffe latte, caffe misto, caramel macchiato and cappuccino all in venti size. There were never frappuccinos because I restricted myself from drinking the crazy sugary ones. There were two reasons why I did not touch the blended frappuccinos: one, I grew tired of how sickly sweet and insanely diabetic they are and two, I was struggling and restricting myself from enjoying food due to weight and body image issues, another story for another time. 

I remember how the Starbucks barista in this particular mall across my university greeted me and asked, "what will it be today? Caffe misto or latte?" every time they saw me entering. I went to Starbucks that often to the point where I wouldn't order anything other than those four. I'm not saying I should have ordered frappuccinos but the four drinks of my choice are kind of strong in terms of caffeine content. Other than the Starbucks infamous Caramel Macchiato, the other three are basically brewed coffee + milk so there are no syrup or sugar involved. I personally never add additional white or brown sugar to my drink (even now) but I would sometimes get an extra shot of espresso. Imagine how caffeinated (and sourly bitter) that was.

I may not remember when I started getting addicted to coffee but I remember why. It's the rush of energy, the burning adrenaline and feeling pumped up that makes me want to drink more. I remember the stronger my coffee, the quicker I was into finding new ideas for my project (I was a graphics design student — now a graduate — and creative ideas are everything.)

Why coffee is bad for me

Long story short, I was so addicted I decided to ignore the side effects and discomforts that came along. I'm not sure why I've always ignored them. I probably thought since they are not permanent then they are worth it.

No, they're not. And here's why:

1. Jitters

I would get jitters alongside that rush of adrenaline and abundant pumped up energy. I'd find myself shaking my knees and feeling restless. Even though my brain would come up with a million of ideas all at once five minutes after I was done with my coffee, I was feeling jittery and jumpy.

2. Anxiety and depression

This. This should have been the one and only reason that made me cut down my coffee consumption. But I was too stupid to actually listen to it. After I was done with coffee, I'd have terrible mood swings, overwhelming negative thoughts and feeling constantly worried, like I was standing on the edge of a cliff, ready to fall. I would feel extremely annoyed, easily irritated and ready to snap or yell at anyone who talked to me. It was stupid.

3. Feeling sluggish, tired and sleepless

Yeah sure, the rush of energy was great but it was not permanent. It never is, which is why people go into this vicious cycle of more coffee and less water. Once the effect subsides, I was left feeling sluggish, tired and sometimes sleepy. As much as I loved how coffee helped me to stay in focus and alert, less water equals to slower blood flow which then leads me to feel even more tired than before.

4. Less sleep, more insomnia

I always have insomnia to begin with and my crazy dose of caffeine intake was not helping. My sleeping pattern was more than messed up —  it was f*cked up. I remember going to bed at 5 or 6 in the morning because I couldn't sleep faster and I'd show up in class like a zombie. Guess what I took in class to stay awake? Yet another coffee. It's a never-ending loop.

5. Digestive problem and headache

I am a loyal subscriber of stomach ulcer and gastric acid reflux. It's a genetic condition; my mother has it, my grandparents have it. I remember drinking coffee more than actually eating proper meal. Like I said, I was on extreme diet where I'd jolt down my calorie intake per day and I chose coffee over food. I would also experience headache, have bloated stomach and went to bed feeling nauseous.

Transitioning to tea

I used to have people telling me that I shouldn't rely on coffee so much and I spent years dissing them, defending my venti sized of perfectly brewed cappuccino and telling them I am not experiencing any drawback when in fact, I was. I'm not sure why I was like that but I'm glad I managed to stop myself from the endless loop of caffeinated routine and restless days.

I had a phase where I stopped going to Starbucks although I couldn't remember how it began. I suppose the fact that I am more of a homebody than an outgoing person also helped me to get used to not buying coffee. The lesser I visited Starbucks, the more I start to get used to the absence of caffeine in my body. I first told myself to stay away from coffee for a week and I succeeded. A week grew into a month and from there, it just took its own course.

I wish I can say that I am totally coffee or caffeine-free now but I won't lie about it: I'm not 100% caffeine-free. I still like the caramel macchiato from Starbucks (or other coffee shops, to be honest because let's be real, that drink is bomb) and I still drink it once in a while. I also stopped asking for extra shot of espresso in my drink. If anything, I frequently opt for a decaf choice.

Unlike coffee, teas — especially green tea — are known to contain lower dose of caffeine and provide you with antioxidants. Some teas are also known to boost the immune system, help calm you sleep and relieve nausea or bloating. Transitioning to teas have helped provide me the energy I need without making me feel sluggish or sleepy — unless of course, you're talking about herbal, caffeine-free teas like chamomile or peppermint that are proven to help with insomnia. They also boost my metabolism, memory and concentration without dreadful side effects. Even better, I don't find myself feeling agitated or jittery and I certainly do not experience heartburn, acid reflux or chest pain anymore. This actually makes me appreciate tea even more than before.

A short fun tip: try matcha powder if you are someone who does not like green tea in loose leaves or bags. Matcha powder is one of my absolute favorites when I get bored of green tea bags. You can read more about the benefits of matcha tea here.

I used to think about how do non-coffee drinkers survive without coffee and yet, look at me now.
images via at_bobby

Do you prefer coffee or tea? Were or are you as addicted as I was? Does coffee bring you the side effects that I experienced?


  1. I do rely on coffee just because I get up at 5Am every morning and don't feel fully awake without it. I end up feeling groggy and get headaches without it so maybe I can't survive without it?? Ahah. So I think I am addicted to coffee and I don't think I can ever fully give it up - which is why I think it's super cool that you've managed to wean away your addiction to coffee! I usually go to Tully's because it's located right next to Starbucks, which means the line is usually non-existent.

    When I was in college though, I did drink lots of tea. Teas are nice to drink occasionally and they always have those cute strainers.

  2. I massively cut down on coffee when I discovered that it was making me feel sick. I'm not sure if it was the caffeine or the massive amounts of sugar in the caramel lattes from my favourite coffee shop, but it was enough to make me drink less.

    This year I've got into drinking green tea and fortunately I've found some amazing flavours that have made me love tea so much more than coffee.

    Congrats on kicking the addiction though!

  3. I like both, but I definitely prefer coffee :) I take it latte-style, and if I want something sweet, I get the stuff like mochas and macchiatos. I do admit to be addicted to them, but the weird thing is that I don't think caffeine affects me. I can drink coffee like at 9:00pm and still sleep well at midnight. I guess that's good in some ways, but crap in other ways?

    I should drink more tea. I like green and black tea. Green tea, I'll take plain, but I like adding a bit of milk to my black tea. I tend to drink tea more in the winter time.

  4. yes, it'd be weird to take green tea with milk unless it's a matcha powder then it will turn into matcha tea latte. black tea like english breakfast is perfect with milk and it's my favorite :)

    well, you're one of the lucky bunch who's not affected by strong caffeine level then. i used to not be THAT sensitive but now that i've drank coffee less, i have developed quite the sensitivity.

  5. i find that with sugar, the only side effect i get is feeling sleepy (and hyper) so the caffeine is the perpetrator haha

    yes, tea is more calming! tea all the way :D

  6. I like both though I tend to lean towards coffee. However, unlike others, I tend to like drip coffee more than lattes and fraps. The only coffee I now get at Starbucks is their peppermint mocha. On summers, I like their lemonade ice tea.

    I find Starbucks tea to be delightful (Teavana), both their iced and hot teas. I really dislike herbal tea, though. I do not like the aftertaste that comes with it.

    I generally do well with coffee as long they're not super-duper-extra-mega-strong. The black coffee from our school is so strong that even the smallest cup gives me.

  7. to each their own. i personally applaud people who can cut their addiction from anything so props. i need coffee to function. i only drink it on weekdays and no more than a cup though so i think i'm rather moderate. it's more of another form of breakfast and vitamin though. i simply feel more awake and feel calmer after coffee. i can't explain why! i'm simply at that phase of "when i think about quitting coffee, the fear is not that /i/ will die. it's that /others/ will die, and i will go to jail" lmao

  8. I've never really been into coffee, and I used to laugh at my mama for being such a tea addict (she has like 20 cups a day, it's insane) but I'm slowly turning into a bit of tea addict too hahaha, I could drink it forever. Living in India has turned me into a chai addict, although it comes in tiny little cups that I'm always, always wanting more!

  9. I do drink coffee, but I make a point to limit myself to once per day, usually. I have been very careful to not become addicted because of things I have seen and also due to the fact that I already have enough depression without the addition of coffee anxiety. Tea, on the other hand, is welcome at any time of day or night. I even used to have a bedtime chamomile ritual. I should probably go back to that.

    I also avoid Starbucks like the plague because $$$.


  10. Hi there! I'm both a coffee and tea drinker, I drink coffee in the morning and in the afternoon but I also drink tea. I used to drink a lot more coffee but have cut down on it now because my stomach has been kind of bad so I'm trying to keep it not more than two cups a day.
    I wouldn't agree with you that lattes are strong because it only tastes like milk with a little drop of coffee to me! I always make a cappuccino in the morning and after lunch... I've never experienced any problems with it, unless my stomach is too acid, or any side effects. I love my coffee, but only if it comes from an espresso machine. Filter coffee isn't coffee to me. I wouldn't say I'm addicted, but coffee somehow is a habit. When I get up in the morning, I want to sit on the couch for a while with my cappuccino. :)

  11. Shit man, your story is almost exactly like mine. Today, I drank two coffees and I felt like I was going to faint.

    Take a step back a few years. I was 100% addicted to coffee, I would have it black all the time, and would usually drink the instant kind because I was a student and couldn’t afford to buy coffee. I would take it in a thermos. While I was still studying at university I drank it every morning, sometimes every night. Once I graduated, I was still clinging to my coffee, I’d gone for lattes but then opted for macchiatos (more caffeine yes please). I’d top it with syrup every bloody time then make myself sick from having too much milk as well. It just wasn’t right for me but I couldn’t stop drinking it.

    I still drunk tea, but not as much as I do now. Tea is my drink of choice these days.

    I was eventually able to wean off coffee. I prefer to drink coffee as a treat, now, usually only for desserts, or amusingly enough, when I am in a really pissed off mood, it tends to pick me up. But the thing is, I never drank coffee to keep me awake. I knew it didn’t work. I liked it for the taste and the fullness I felt.

    But yeah, today – I had one too many (I had two, when I usually have none – or one if I am feeling pissed off), and I felt like I was going to faint. I got the jitters as well and I felt totally sick. And that reminded me strongly of why coffee is... well, totally not my best friend 😜

  12. When I was a kid, I swear I hated coffee and look at me now, I entitled myself as the 'caffeinated book junkie' and a lot knew me because of that title. When I started college, the love for coffee grew. Just this month, I was very anxious and tend to overthink everything which my boyfriend was even sick worried of me. Then, one day I read one of your post about coffee making you anxious, I decided to slowly detach from it. I took my box of green teas and prepared mine every single night or when I am in the mood for it and drank a lot of water. It was a life changer.

    Now, that I'm already in my Christmas break, I went back on drinking coffee. I think it's fine because I don't have anything to worry about as of the moment and I get enough sleep. Although, I recently drank my last supply of coffee and I will surely go back to tea now and tell my mom not to purchase any more coffee for me. Hahaha! We have different supplies of coffee here in the house because I don't like my mom's and my cousin's coffees. Lol. 😅 But yeah, I hope I can lessen my caffeine intake and welcome 2017 to a new me.

    BTW, I LOVE GREEN TEAS SO MUCH! 😍 My aunt sent me a lot of tea supply last year. There were a lot of flavors but I didn't like them so I decided to give them to my friends. Maybe if I turn myself into a certified tea lover, I'll haunt for different flavors of tea. I always go for green tea. 💚

    There was also an event two years ago when my classmate's friends were asking for help in selling tickets for a tea party at school. I helped them by selling the tickets to one of my profs. I told him, "Sir, you should buy this ticket for a tea party because you're such a hot tea (hottie)." Hahaha! 😜

  13. I'm currently drinking 'Mint Tea' of The Coffee Bean And Tea Leaf. Drinking tea reminded me of you, Elisa! Hehe 🍵☺

  14. Coffee gives me the opposite of what you experienced. For some reasons, coffee makes me happy and alive [not energetic though] the rest of the day. My main de-stress drink. It sure does give me stomach problems but I bet it's the milk mix with it. If I drink coffee 3 hours before sleeping, it actually helps me sleep better, no more insomnia [weird]. I drink coffee almost everyday especially when I'm lousy, I really that coffee.



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