Disclaimer: I’m on my third shot of quite strong Pilon espresso as I write this, despite my recent decision to tune down my caffeine love affair. If you know me, you know I regularly arrive at this verdict and it’s not to be trusted. For the record, when I first discovered Pilon I thought it tasted like paint-thinner, now I think it tastes like happiness.
Most of my workdays go something like this: a few shots of espresso first thing in the morning, reluctantly turn down all offers of coffee before lunch, around noon make a beeline for Starbucks and order the tallest, strongest thing they make. By the time I get home, I can’t even tell if I’m crashing or still amped—it’s a continuous vacillation somewhere between the two. I spend the evening in alternating states of exhaustion and mania with tiny windows of clarity, stimuli assaulting me from every which way, only to fall asleep and do it all over the next day.
There’s nothing good about being a caffeine addict. The first days of the inevitable bimonthly wean-off are hell, followed by a few days of veritable peace of mind. Then I remember how much I love coffee. It’s not just the ritual I yearn for, as some have suggested, though the coffee-drinking ritual is a crucial aspect of my day (I recently tweeted about how hard it is to fall asleep when all you can think about is how excited you are to wake up and drink coffee). It’s also the taste of a good strong coffee. It’s the kick of those caffeine highs—yes, manias even. Going for a run after a giant double-shot of espresso, swerving from tunnel-vision, makes me feel like I’m at a party where everybody loves me and wants to be my friend.
I know all about the strategies for leaving caffeine addiction behind. Substitute for decaf, half-caf-half-decaf, tone it down with tea, etc. The problem is there’s just no room in my brain to devote the energy to the delicate art of caffeine balance. And in the wise words of the Ink Spots, “I love coffee, I love tea, I love the Java Jive, and it loves me” … except for when it doesn’t.
How do you cafanatics do it? Can this be a sustainable lifestyle? How much do other things factor in, like sleep, food and proper water consumption?