by Aparajita Bhandari

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons” -T.S. Eliot

Coffee, as everyone knows, is a fundamental part of the student diet. Since starting university my own coffee intake has definitely increased a lot. In high school I used to drink a lot of tea, and not that much coffee, but along with the late nights of university came my slight coffee addiction. Now, I don’t think I drink so much coffee that it should be considered a real problem or impairment, but I am pretty reliant on my morning coffee. The bulk of my midterms finished last week, so I thought that it would be a good time to try something I’ve been meaning to do, an experimental one-week coffee detox. It’s been an interesting journey, so I thought I’d share with you some of the highlights of the detox so far.

Not sure if headache from too much coffee or not enough

Day 1

I went to bed earlier the night before in anticipation of the start of the detox, so I woke up feeling very refreshed. Everything was going great until after breakfast when I started making coffee, then realized my mistake. The rest of the day went fine, although my routine felt off all day.

Day 2

I felt pretty tired and drowsy when waking up in the morning, but that’s not really uncommon for a university student. I started really craving coffee at around noon and the intense craving lasted all day. It felt like I was enveloped in a heavy fog. I was so disoriented that I actually walked down the wrong street when going home after class, essentially getting lost on a route I’ve been walking every day for the past five months. Not my proudest moment.

Day 3

I woke up feeling really great, energized and calm. I started to get prematurely confident, telling myself, “This isn’t bad at all, I definitely can do this”. Then I passed a McDonald’s, saw a sign that said they were giving out free coffee this week, went inside and got in line, then realized my mistake and dejectedly left. Other than that incident, though, the day went really well, coffee withdrawal-wise. I went to bed still confident that I could easily finish the week and the feeling lasted until…

Coffee shop window

How can I give up coffee when there are so many nice cafes like this one at Bloor and Bathurst?

Day 4
The actual worst day ever. I woke feeling extremely tired, and it felt like someone was constantly hammering my skull ALL DAY LONG. I was extremely irritable and impatient, snapping at all my friends. Luckily, it was the weekend so I didn’t have to deal with going to class with my headache. I was unproductive, and sluggish all day, and I went to bed so early it must have been a record.

I don't have a problem with caffeine. I have a problem without caffeine.

Day 5

Today has been okay so far. I’ve been drinking ridiculous amounts of water to keep the cravings at bay, and it has definitely helped. However, all around campus I’ve had to see people enjoying their coffee, which has made it hard to feel motivated to stick with the detox.

Fancy coffee maker

One day I will buy myself one of those fancy coffee machines.

So those are some of the general highlights from my coffee-free week. I’m not planning to quit coffee; the detox was mostly just to see if I could. It has definitely been difficult and to anyone trying to quit caffeine, I would recommend drinking lots of water, getting lost of exercise and eating extra well. Avoiding all people and coffee shops, and lying in your bed all day would actually be my preferred way to go about it, but obviously that’s not feasible, so I wish you the best of luck. I, myself am going to go drink some herbal tea and wait for the end of the week, when I can go treat myself to a large latte.

How do you guys feel about coffee? Have you ever tried to quit caffeine, and was your experience with it better than mine? Comment below and tell us about it!