My Relationship With Coffee
Whether we know it or not, most of our first experiences with nootropics are through natural caffeine.
Before I even knew what the word nootropic meant, I was sucking down pots of coffee daily. While I loved it at first, the inevitable effects of physical dependence and tolerance were soon to follow.
Ever since then I have had an on-again-off-again relationship with the stimulant. I’ll have a couple of years of unabated consumption punctuated with three month periods of steadfast abstinence before plunging right back in with complete abandon.
Gaining Control Over Caffeine Intake
I have come to find however, that this emotional roller-coaster technique of dealing with caffeine is not the best way.
After some deep reflection, I decided to moderate my caffeine consumption without total abstinence, and I think I have since discovered a helpful way to keep the effects of caffeine reasonably high.
I was at three mugs of joe a day when I began. If random internet sites are correct (the internet is always right ;)) then a typical mug of coffee is somewhere around 200 mg of caffeine. That’s 600 mg as my daily total.
The Tea Grenade Substitute
I decided to change out my last mug of coffee for a cup of black tea for caffeine. Sources say that’s about 50-60 mg. It wasn’t so bad because this was in the afternoon, and by then I was pretty awake. After a week to readjust, I continued.
Here is where the “Tea Grenade” method comes in. By replacing a mug of coffee with three cups of tea (or an explosion of teas, get the pun?) I keep caffeine coming in at a steady rate. This eliminates the negative side effects of withdrawal, while overall decreasing caffeine intake.
I then split my second cup of coffee into three tea servings. Two black teas (60+60=120 mg) and one green tea (25 mg). After my previous reduction of 140 mg of caffeine, I was now cutting out a further 55 mg. This totaled 195 mg of caffeine out of my day, or, essentially, an entire mug of coffee. In addition to getting all my caffeine from tea, tea also contains l-theanine, which helped to reduce the anxiety typically associated with caffeine.
A week of this to get everything up-regulating in my brain and it was back to reducing. I cut out my last black tea and the second black tea. I was now at 1 morning mug of coffee (200 mg), 1 black tea at noon (60 mg), and 1 green tea in the afternoon (25 mg). That’s 285 mg of caffeine. That is a significant difference for two basically pain-free weeks of caffeine reduction.
I must note that as my daily intake of caffeine goes down, caffeine becomes much more enjoyable and stimulating due to a decreased tolerance.
Let me tell you: no regrets. In the morning, I can actually climb out of bed and feel somewhat clear headed before fueling up on java, and if I miss my last tea (only 25 mg of caffeine) I don’t drag.
See? Handling caffeine addiction can be not only beneficial, but also enjoyable!