What You're Thinking Before & After Coffee

I used to think morning coffee was a delicious ritual at best, at worst an over-priced fuel without which I couldn't hope to produce, well, anything.

But coffee is more than that. When I decided many months ago to take a break from this precious elixir, operating under the foolish notion that eliminating my dependency on it would make me healthier and happier (?????), I failed to recognize that coffee serves important emotional functions. Coffee is not just about flavor or caffeine. It is about not spending your day as a whining misanthrope who has given up on the future. Whether you're a Dunkin' Donuts guzzler or a grind-your-own-beans pour-over connoisseur, coffee is about worldview.

I'm fairly sure I'll look back on poor decisions I made during this period of coffee deprivation and one day find myself shrieking at a bunch of innocents in a Starbucks line, "We were on a break!!!" But this doesn't have to happen to you.

To fully capture the impact that first cup of coffee has on how you feel about basically everything, here's a handy explanatory chart. There's so much perspective to be had in those first eight — or 20 — ounces of joe. And then of course, there are some opinions coffee could never change — and you wouldn't want it to.

Images: Vitaliy Hrabar/Fotolia, Tumblr, Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle