I Drank Coffee For The First Time For A Week Straight
Nobody is smugger about being a tea drinker than I am. When that study about green tea possibly causing infertility was trending, I was like, "LOL, sorry future progeny." I once wrote an article about why tea drinkers are better in bed, and I feel remorse for exactly none of it. When I was in a particularly reckless "FIGHT ME" mood back in 2014, I also publicly declared on the internet that tea was better than coffee and got more hateful tweets than I would probably get if I had written an article confessing to be the Zodiac Killer. What I mean to say is my love for tea runs deeper than the 80 bajillion tea stains I've left on my parents' couch — which is exactly why I began this experiment of drinking coffee for a week with a distinct sense of "meh".
See, coffee has always seemed like way too much effort to me. I used to work in a breakfast/lunch shop operating one of those giant hulking coffee machines you had to measure out a human child's size worth of beans to grind, and comparatively dunking a tea bag into some hot water seemed like a much easier way to self-caffeinate. Plus, coffee can get hella expensive if you get fancy with it, whereas tea is tea, cheap and easy (just like me!!).
It would be remiss of me not to mention that people warned me upside down and backwards that this experiment sounded like a terrible idea. In fact, I don't even think I'm paraphrasing our Books Editor Cristina when I quote her saying, "This is a terrible idea." The repeated warnings from my coworkers were slightly reminiscent of the way my weirdly shame-y former gyno used to warn to me about losing your virginity: once it's gone, there's no going back. To quote that song from Ragtime that everyone used for auditions in high school, "We can never go back to before."
Well, y'all, the coffee cherry has been popped. While in the past I've only had a few sips of coffee at a time before getting bored or ditching it, a few weeks ago I went all in and drank it every day. Read all about my adventures with the drug that is caffeine below, and remember, kids: stay in school.
I started Day One with a cup of coffee from the office coffee machine, and because I have the taste buds of a five-year-old, you can bet your bottom dollar I straight up drowned that sucker in milk and sugar packets. I consumed it lot faster than I expected to, which is probably a consequence of having a side of liquid sugar with breakfast. So far, so good ... and then about halfway through the cup, things took a sharp left turn to WOWOWOWOWOW Land.
Let me tell you something, friends: I get into the office about a half hour before everyone else, and by the time my coworkers arrived for the day, I could feel my heart beating in every appendage in my body. Like, I'll admit that I read Twilight as a teen because I need to use that moment Bella woke up from being a human to being a vampire (sorry, spoilers!!!) as the only way I can explain what was happening to my human form: my actual senses were heightened, like I could see and smell and taste everything at ONE THOUSAND BAJILLION PERCENT. Like I had achieved some higher level of being, but in a slightly scary, "WHOA should my organs be moving this fast??" kind of way. (This is no coincidence: caffeine does quite the number on your central nervous system.)
The downside of this is that I am a morning person already, and pretty insufferable with my Monday perkiness to begin with — so it is a testament to everyone working in the Bustle offices that I wasn't straight up shanked on Day One of this experiment. God knows after bouncing up and around the halls like a human Tigger I very much deserved it.
This was my first time ever using a Keurig machine unassisted, and let me tell you: if you've run out of television shows to stream and you need a laugh, go find a grownass 24-year-old woman try to operate a Keurig for the first time. OK, scratch that. Most 24-year-old women would inherently understand how to use what is arguably the simplest machine on the planet. What I meant was watch me, because I am not most 24-year-old women, and somehow managed to spill water all over my human form trying to add more to the machine and then spent five to seven minutes enduring an existential crisis trying to decide what the difference was between "Breakfast Blend" and "Vermont Country Blend".
In any case, Day Two was like a slightly watered down version of Day One. Already my human form was adjusting to the caffeine, building up a coffee tolerance — which is, by the way, something that legit happens. It's supposed to take a few weeks, but then again, I've always been an overachiever.
In honor of Day Three, I kicked things up a notch. I had one cup of coffee at 8:15 a.m., when I got to the office, and then — much to the horror of my organs and my colleagues — at 11 a.m., I had another.
Within minutes, my bladder was collapsing in on me like on a dying star.
Real talk, habitual coffee drinkers: where do you keep all your pee? My body was not having it. I had to park myself outside the office bathroom for three hours just to prevent collateral damage from plowing into my coworkers on my way to empty myself. I couldn't tell if the coffee was making me hyper or if the three hours of living on a dangerous edge of wetting my pants during the workday was doing that all on its own. And guys, I've lived dangerously — OK, dangerously for a Hufflepuff — but never have I lived quite as dangerously as this.
I woke up on this day decidedly Not A Happy Camper. Drinking a cup of coffee early in the morning on days one and two didn't do much to the delicate ecosystem of my brain, but apparently drinking two cups in the morning was enough to mess with my sleep cycle. I was up until a million o'clock in the morning, which gave me ample time to question all of my life decisions, Google sad things like "solo travel package deals," and buy out most of Forever21's online inventory.
But I was committed. And so, on Day Four of the experiment, I let myself do what I had been putting off all week: buy myself a fancy coffee.
I may have been a pasty, sleepless, frumpled mess, but at least I was a pasty, sleepless, frumpled mess who had found nirvana in the chocolate-y goodness of a mini frap.
In true Millennial fashion, once every four months I go out and go hard, swear that I never will again, and promptly forget after three months and 29 days, only to repeat the cycle all over again. In other words, the night before Day Five I was karaoke'ing until midnight, so I was one sleepy mamma jamma. (Midnight is late for me, OK, guys? I am Milliennial Grandma Barbie.)
Weirdly, though, I did not want coffee. The idea of it actually made me feel a little squicky. What I really, really wanted more than anything in the world right then was a hot cup of snobby English Breakfast tea. It was only then that I realized that while coffee is flashy and great, tea has always been my security blanket of sorts — I drink it when I'm bored, when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm hanging out with my mom and my sisters and my aunts, when it's raining, when it's cold, when I just want to hold a mug in my hand and be pretentious AF. Tea is my brand, y'all. And right then, feeling quite off-brand, all I wanted was a cup to set me right.
But I am a true American hero. So I drank that coffee. And dammit all if I didn't love every drop of it.
In the words of my ancestors (probably): ... my bad.
I was wrong, guys. And like Icarus, I have flown too close to the caffeinated sun; my metaphorical wings may not have melted, but they are hella dependent on my morning fix. It has been over two weeks since I wrote this article, and I have not gone a single one of those days without drinking coffee.
To be fair, I still drink tea first thing in the morning — but by 11 a.m. I am coffee trash. I opened Pandora's Box, I ate the apple from the tree of caffeinated knowledge, I did all those things that women got hella and irrationally punished for in folklore, and now I too must pay the price: caffeine addiction is some real sauce. And in the two weeks since this "experiment" (aka, life ruiner) began, I have moved on from being a sugar-and-milk weenie to drinking my coffee black like the joyless corporate lawyer in his mid-50s I always suspected I was deep down under my adorable exterior.
I would follow this up with an experiment on getting over my coffee withdrawal, but there are two reasons I cannot: one is that another Bustle writer already did that. But the overwhelmingly more important reason is that I have no intention of ever stopping forever and ever for the rest of my life, amen. #TEAMCOFFEE FOR LIFE.
Images: Courtesy of Emma Lord, and some aggressive in-office selfie-moding