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Decaffeinated against my will

I love coffee, it has to taste good. I love espresso, people think I am snob, but I’m not. I like to drink good coffee, fine-cuisine desserts that are not overly sweet, a glass of good wine, and overall, I prefer quality to quantity. However, I totally got this funny story, and I’m sure you’ll love it too.

Decaffeinated against my will

Doppio Espresso

Coffee Brewing Methods

I love coffee.

Nothing fancy, just a good dark roast with no room for cream. Ever since college, I have had a cup of coffee in reach.

It is my treat, my writing fuel, my liquid security blanket.

The only time I’ve given up coffee was while pregnant and when nursing my babies. I remember clearly the last time I nursed my last baby. Once done, I laid her gently in her crib, went straight into the kitchen and put the coffeemaker back on the counter.

That was 17 years and roughly 37,000 cups of coffee ago.

My friends and family no longer ask if I want a cup of coffee. They just hand it to me. Maryann Angelo, the wonderful owner of Barista Blues, hands me a carafe instead of a cup when I eat there.

Do I get headaches?

Yep.

Do my hands shake?

Sometimes.

Do I have manic periods where I can’t type as fast as my brain is thinking?

Oh, yeah! I love that.Decaffeinated against my will

I know this bad, which is why I rejoice when studies come out lauding the health effects of coffee. It’s rich in antioxidants. It fights depression. It’s been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s and dementia.

These findings help me fend off the fact that one day some doctor is going to tell me to cut back. Not even the most liberal study would recommend the daily amounts of coffee I imbibe.

Sure enough, a few weeks after I turned 46, I was in a doctor’s office, holding a magazine, while a specialist asked me the “caffeine” questions.

“Do you drink energy drinks?”

No.

“Soda?”

Nope.

“Coffee?”

My face when pink.

“How much?”

Now the magazine was over my face.

“How many cups a day?”

I’m not sure exactly.

“Approximately?”

Let’s just say my husband and I brew 12 cups of coffee in the morning and split the pot down the middle. And some days I drink one more cup before dinner.

When I lowered the magazine the doctor’s mouth was a thin line. She told me I needed to cut back my intake.

How far back?

“Ideally? Zero.”

To my credit, I didn’t cuss. The doctor did suggest I reduce my intake slowly, to avoid headaches. I moped all the way home, wondering if I had to switch to (gasp) herbal tea.

How am I supposed to write the great American novel on herbal tea?

My non-coffee-drinking son was the first human to cross my path after the bad news. I told him about the coffee problem.

“So, why don’t you just drink decaf?”

Decaf? I don’t put cream and sugar in my coffee because I want it to smell and taste like coffee. Decaf doesn’t smell and taste like coffee.

He shrugged.

Later, I moped around the Internet looking at decaf coffees. I found other coffee snobs who had to get off the juice. These were my people, folks whose pain I felt. They wrote exhaustive reviews on decaf coffees, giving me a couple of recommendations, one of which I bought begrudgingly.

My plan was to reduce the good stuff and use the fake stuff for emergencies. I was not excited about this plan, which is why I had yet to brew the decaf, despite suffering a few emergencies.

That Friday, I went to visit family for a couple of days. I tried to be good about sticking to two cups of coffee a day. When I returned, my husband was nursing a cup of coffee and a headache. He wondered if he was getting sick.

I went into the kitchen and saw he had brewed my decaf by mistake. He wasn’t sick, just under-caffeinated. Before telling him so, I had to ask.

Did the coffee taste good?

“Yeah.”

Good.

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