My First Week Back on Coffee

In the post What I Learned During My Coffee Detox, I covered the results that I experienced by gradually lowering and eventually taking a full 2 weeks off from coffee. As informative as that test was, I have learned more about how my body reacts to coffee since I resumed espresso drinking just a week ago.

The comment by Txomin really resonated with me.

A 30 day experimental window might be sufficient for foodstuffs. It is definitely insufficient for addictive substances.

Although my total caffeine detox project exceeded 30 days, the full coffee detox was just 14 days. During that time, I still getting some caffeine from tea and dark chocolate. Because I was doing 30 day food allergy tests at the same time, I applied the same principle to coffee. That was wrong. Food allergy tests are used to measure adverse responses to protein. Coffee is not a protein. It is an addictive substance. I think Txomin is correct and that 30 days is likely insufficient.

My first week back on espresso was highly educational for me. Here is what I learned.

Taste Surprise

I fully expected the first espresso I had would taste amazing. It didn’t. Nor did the 2nd, 3rd or 4th espresso. It was a let down. I was hoping that the 2 weeks off would have reset my palate. Either the espresso in Seattle just had an off week or I needed a longer detox. Maybe both combined with elevated expectations?

I did talk with a top barista who told me he routinely will take a month off from coffee to reset his palate. 14 days was probably not long enough.

My first cafe espresso after the detox was “OK”.

The Napping Link

I tried to nap 4 times this week. All were unsuccessful. My espresso intake varied from 2 to 4. My last coffee time (prior to nap attempt) varied from 10 AM to 1 PM. Despite being tired, I couldn’t sleep. If there is a sweet spot for napping and espresso, it has to be earlier. More tests will be run.

Energy Level Plummets

This was totally unexpected. Although my morning mood was better, by the afternoon I was dragging and had difficulty focusing. At times I felt exhausted. I read the symptoms of adrenal fatigue and found I had several of them this week. It is interesting to me that I felt it more pronounced after the detox period than before. I would have expected the opposite.

Under Estimating My Addiction

I under estimated just how strong my addiction is for espresso. Although I really enjoy regular coffee, it is espresso that I crave. It isn’t just the caffeine. It represents coffee at its best potential. The flavor stimulus is far greater. Although it has less caffeine, from an addiction standpoint, I am starting to believe that espresso is to coffee what crack is to cocaine.

Now What?

If it were sunny and 70 right now, I’d resume another detox immediately with strong confidence. But it is cloudy and 60 and espresso is pouring oh so wonderful right now. I’ll try and keep my addiction in check, but more than likely I’ll descend deeper into this mess for a while.


Add yours

  1. The thing with drugs is that they fuck with your perception of reality. It is as simple as that. Your experiences on them (as well as coming off them) are not as reliable as drug-free experiences. I guess I am just trying to say: don’t over-think it.

    If you have come to the decision to eventually give up coffee for a full detox, then relax now and drink away. Don’t spend effort before you need to.

  2. @Txomin – Thank you for the comment. The full coffee detox is coming in 2012. For now, I will experiment with quantity and timing and their effect on afternoon napping and performance.

  3. As you might say “your mileage will differ” – My average weekly espresso consumption is 2-3. But, I have found (as has your buddy Tim Ferriss) that drinking an espresso immediately before a nap allows me to “achieve” a 20-minute nap and wake up refreshed, with the caffeine having kicked in nicely.


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