Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How To Drink Less Coffee

I have been drinking coffee as long as I can remember. Well, maybe not quite that long, but for a long, long time. I love coffee and everything that comes with it: its smell, its taste, and the ritual of taking a “coffee break.” And I love the little kick it gives me to get through the afternoon, and I couldn’t live without it. Well, at least that’s what I thought for a long time.

Coffee has some potential health benefits, but too much coffee is certainly not good. Over the years, I have tried to “quit” a few times as I felt I had become too dependent on coffee, but it never worked. I always attempted to quit “cold turkey” and was left with horrible headaches. Plus I felt like I couldn’t get through the afternoons. So I tried to “cut back.” And I always would for a while. I’d have a cup in the morning and one in the early afternoon. But I would always slowly but surely increase my intake to two cups in the morning and to two in the afternoon and then some.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I was tired of my “coffee cycle” of trying to drink a reasonable amount and ultimately always ending up drinking too much again. I remembered when I stopped drinking diet soda. Several years ago, I drank way too much diet soda but was able to stop completely by first banning it from my house and then elsewhere.  I never thought I could live without my diet soda, but I can and life is a lot better…

I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stop drinking coffee “cold turkey.” I had tried it before, and it didn’t work. Plus, I still wanted to drink one cup a day, and I was pretty sure that I could do it. And that’s what I did. I also knew that making a pot of coffee, which somehow always meant “extra coffee,” would be a problem, so I switched to single serve instant coffee (I really like Starbucks Via and buy it at Costco). While I prefer organic, fair trade whole bean coffee, I knew that having whole bean coffee and a coffee maker in the kitchen would just tempt me too much. I therefore used up the last of our coffee beans and didn’t buy anymore. I also “retired” our coffee maker. Hubby was shocked. I actually “made” him start drinking coffee a few years ago, and he now drinks one cup a day. He has also tried to tell me to drink less for a long time…

So how is it going? Great. Much, much better than expected. Honestly. I get up every morning and make one cup of instant coffee. When I finish it, I’m done with my coffee for the day. My brain gets it! Do I get any headaches? I had a very slight headache the first two days, but I’m not even sure it was from the “coffee withdrawals.” How about that afternoon slump? It didn’t really happen. In fact, hubby commented just yesterday that I seem to have a lot more energy now that I drink less coffee…

How about the coffee ritual? I replaced my many cups of coffee with other beverages, mostly green and herbal teas. And I love it. Green tea does contain some caffeine, but a lot less than coffee. Plus, green tea has a lot of health benefits. Dr. Weil just recently wrote about the benefits of green tea on his blog.

If you want to drink less coffee, here is how you may be able to break the coffee habit:
  • Only make one cup and not a whole pot
  • Plan for a substitute drink – I like green and herbal teas and “interesting” water with frozen citrus and berries
  • Treat yourself to a new mug and thereby start a “new ritual”
  • Consider retiring your coffee maker
Questions: What’s your favorite beverage? Do you drink coffee? If so, how much do you drink? Do you think you drink too much? Have you ever cut back or given up drinking coffee? If so, what was your experience?

Be well,


  1. Favorite beverage? Espresso coffee with hot milk :)

    I drink too much coffee too, one of the things that comes with a desk job. I drink tea in the afternoon. I know too much coffee isn't good but I have no intention on drinking less coffee. I love it too much.

  2. I just had one of those single serving packets yesterday morning! I love everything about coffee too..the taste, smell, ritual, kick. But I never drink it everyday. I don't like to be reliant upon things, so as much as I would enjoy a cup everyday, I alternate between tea and other beverages instead. Also, decaf's never a bad substitute.

  3. Great tips. It's just so easy to drink more than you want/need when it's there in front of you!

  4. Those are great tips, Andrea!!! I think what's helped me drink less coffee is using a french press. I have a smaller one, so it only puts out one cup of coffee. If I want more, I have to wash and redo the whole process which makes it a pain! So lately, I've been sticking with one (okay, maybe another in the afternoon;) ) and that's it!

    I've tried to like tea...I really want to like it... but for some reason, it tickles/burns my throat. Isn't that weird??

  5. Anonymous2/22/2011

    I'm drinking coffee as I am reading your post right now :) But i do only typically drink one cup a day in the morning, and drink tea later in the afternoon.

  6. I have one (homemade) non-fat latte every morning... I love it!

  7. I used to drink too much coffee, too. In college, I rarely slept longer than 4-5 hours and I was a ZOMBIE to my coffee pot in the mornings. It was a major depenency and I recognized it as a problem. I gave it up for a few years and i'm now I'm back to drinking coffee, but just 1 cup in the mornings. It makes my day :)

  8. Lara (Thinspired)2/22/2011

    Oh brother. Okay, I'm really going to try this week to cut down! Thanks for the tips.

  9. I do start my day with 2 cups of coffee and have done so for the past 20 years. The rest of the day I drink mostly water and usually have one or two cups of herbal tea too!

    I think it is moderate caffeine consumption I have no plans of changing it.

    Green tea usually gives me a tummy ache.

  10. Andrea, nice tips...I do drink only one cup of coffee in the morning...and sip on tea during the day :-)

  11. I am a one cup in the morning girl for the most part. I have a little 4 cup brewer and my husband and I each have a mug from it in the morning before breakfast. Once in a while, I will brew some to have with a dessert.

  12. I used to actually be the Starbucks addict. I have drastically cut back and maybe go twice a week. I try to shoot for once a week. I started making coffee from home and bringing it to work with me. I drink about one cup a day.
    Good job for cutting back!!

  13. I have a bit of a coffee cycle, too where I'll consume more and then cut back. I typically have two cups in the morning and one in the afternoon. I try to maintain a level where I don't get headaches if I don't have it. There are lots of times such as when I travel that I can't get that cup, if I don't get a headache and can manage, I feel I'm doing okay. Once I get a headache though I know it's time to cut back. Best wishes with your goal!

    Thanks so much for your comment regarding my book. I really appreciate it.

  14. I often think that I should kick my caffeine habit. I know you've read my posts about caffeine, I drink close to 350 mg worth of caffeine (coffee!) a day. I am now down to about 300 mg, which is under the recommended limit of 400 mg. I know I am "dependent" on coffee, but for some reason it doesn't bother me. I used to consume close to 500 mg worth of coffee, everyday, but then I switched to Maxwell house half decaf. I just LOVE drinking coffee (like you said) but this way I can still have my 4 cups :)

    Good luck to you, and keep up the great work. Also, keep us updated on your progress! I can't believe you retired the coffee machine. I know Nick would love it if I did that!

  15. I've done coffee on and off since I got married. Right now I do drink decaf coffee, but also drink green tea in the afternoon!


    I was just going to post about how I have been off coffee for the start of 3 weeks now. I was just tired of fighting the coffee mate thing, and when I stopped using creamer, I lost my lust of coffee. I still like it, but I have been sleeping better, and wake up feeling bright and clear!
    good for you Andrea!

    and I love tea! besides it's the warmth I need!


  17. I love coffee, I drink 3-4 cups every day. And I'm not willing to change...I think coffee affects different people in different ways, and for me, it's only done good and no harm. I don't get jittery, and I don't necessarily get tired and have withdrawals without it, either.

    My mom, however, is pretty sensitive to caffeine...she feels awful if she drinks over just 2 cups!

  18. Anonymous2/23/2011

    great suggestions.....i drink one cup in the morning usually too and that is it. when i drink more i feel really off kilter

  19. Love this! I have a Keurig which helps (drinking one cup at a time), but the tea intervals are really my favorite thing!

  20. I love coffee too much to give it up, but its rare if I have any more after the morning - about once a week I make myself a latte at work, we have a totally deluxe espresso machine - my daughter saw it and was like "I'd be making coffee drinks all day if I had this!"

    Thanks for your continued support Andrea - I so appreciate it!! :D

  21. Hi Andrea. I LOVE coffee, and I'm not sure if I could give it up - so I ONLY drink it in the morning. During the week, I have a little "two cup" press that I have on my desk, and once it's empty, thats it for the day. At home, I make a latte most weekend mornings, but one is plenty. Have a great day.

  22. Love the mug in the photo...my favorite drink is water. I drink coffee mainly in the mornings--2 cups with milk--though I prefer half and half. At one time I limited myself to one cup in the morning so I bought one of those filter holders you place on your cup to make a single serve of fresh coffee. I also purchased a small espresso pot which makes a small amount of coffee.

    The rest of the day I drink green tea-- unsweetened-- or black tea with milk only. In hot weather I drink my tea iced.

    In hot weather I often drink iced coffee too--with milk and sweetener--using instant coffee to make it.

  23. coffee is definitely my favorite beverage. i drink 3 cups every morning. (i know, right? you must think i'm nuts!) good for you for kicking the habit though! i thought your tips were spot on. :)

  24. I was never a fan of coffee until I got pregnant with Noah. Then I needed it with hazelnut flavouring like nobody's business! LOL Now I drink 2 cups throughout the morning and once in awhile another after dinner.

  25. I quit drinking coffee for a few months and now I'm back to it. I've been drinking one small cup every day in the mornings. I love the taste and ritual of it too. I've found switching to tea to be the best solution for me when I want to stop the coffee. Right now I'm not planning on stopping anytime too soon though.

  26. Anonymous2/08/2017

    Okay, but how can I make green tea taste as comforting and buttery as coffee??