I didn't mean for it to happen, but somehow it did. I quit coffee.
“Oh, Waiter”, I cry. “May I have yet another full cream latte?”
“But sir, that is your third one. You know you would have more energy if you switched to green tea.”
I stand up, wipe the corners of my mouth with the napkin and place it in my top pocket. I take my fountain pen out and leap onto the waiter, stabbing him repeatedly in the neck like Joe Pesci in Casino.
ffft, ffft, ffft
Please see below (contains graphic violence)
Of all the cardinal sins worth a beating in the coffee world, somebody telling you to switch to green tea has to top the list. Runner-up is the barista who takes twenty minutes to produce a perfect replica of the Mona Lisa on top of a ghastly, bitter, milky brew.
I’m sorry to say I’m now a green tea wanker. Please don’t get your pens out yet. Just hear me out, okay?
It all began with some health issues that I faced — specifically high blood pressure (hypertension).
My doctor said it was down to stress but that I should drink less caffeine and eat less salt. I nodded slowly while my stomach rumbled. Later, I mulled it over while munching on a cheeseburger and a Diet Coke.
Being British, I found black tea as a suitable replacement for coffee. Particularly one type: Clipper Organic English Breakfast is as strong as coffee but doesn’t seem to amp you up as much. I like it strong and milky.
After a couple of days of awful headaches, I became comfortable with my new tea-drinking lifestyle and almost developed a cockney accent out of pure British pride. (I live in Australia. This would have surely not happened if I was still in the UK).
I noticed that black tea has a relaxing quality about it, even after a few cups.
The trouble was, with coffee, two a day was my limit, but with tea, three, four, five. I even drank six cups of tea one day.
I was flying, man.
At that consumption level, I found that life on the tea is not much different from life on the coffee. I felt anxious again, and my hypertension continued. I needed to do more.
I have never really liked green tea.
It always seemed too plain, too grassy and just too damn hot. Basically, it tastes like arse (or ass if you are American). But maybe it was time to give it a whirl again.
I was pleasantly surprised with Pukka Finest Sencha Green Tea.
It didn’t taste like the putrid green tea of old. It was smokey and mellow.
I transitioned away from the black tea and into my new life as a green tea wanker.
The first thing I noticed is that almost all of the anxiety I had been feeling recently just dropped away. I have always felt like anxiety was a physical sensation rather than a mental one. Now I am sure.
When my heart isn’t constantly pounded by caffeine, life feels lighter and easier to enjoy.
After spending years in sales, I had come to rely on caffeine stimulation for speaking. These days I live the lonely life of a green tea-sipping loser writer, so I do not need such social skills.
My writing ability is unaffected.
This is the biggest fear for me, as I’m sure it is for many writers:
The fear is that without coffee, you won’t be able to write anymore.
This concept is nothing short of absurd.
In my experience, what happens when you don’t drink caffeine is that your writing slows down. The ideas themselves are unaffected. You just become more present, more meticulous in putting them together. So fear not.
Look, I’ve got to go because I am starting to sound like a real green tea loser. I just want you to know that life still goes on if it happens to you, okay? You can still work.
You can still write.