By: Rhea Cortado

A few months ago, I quit coffee.

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I love the scent of coffee and the community of coffee shop lingering with a friend. I love the focused tunnel vision and mental efficiency it gave me. It jolted me awake to focus on the day’s tasks and while on deadline, I re-upped after lunch to stay in the air.

One day when I didn’t feel like refilling, I became useless the rest of the afternoon. My mind wandered down internet rabbit holes, nothing was crossed off my To-Do list and it ended in me taking a nap. At 3pm. Even with the most delicious cake, inevitable sugar coma forces you put the fork down. It was time to detox from my dependency on the liquid motivation.

I started on a weekend. You need a couple of days off to sweat it out. It feels like being hungover without the fun of the night before. You’re going to get headaches. Drink a lot of water.

Substituting tea helps taper down through the transition. One cup of black tea or Yerba Mate tea is something like ¼ cup of coffee. For all you coffee drinkers, that’s like eating a bite of Hershey Kiss. Not even close to satisfying.

But after a few weeks, my body adjusted. I embraced the variety of tea flavors: spiced decaf chai with extra cinnamon and almond milk and floral green teas. My energy was more even throughout the whole day instead of big high and low swings. If I hit a creative block and need an extra energy jolt, I take my dog out for a quick walk to clear the mind.

It’s not that coffee is totally bad for you (unless you’re drinking calorie rich lattes with a lot of syrup). Similar to juice cleansing, it’s refreshing to reset and recalibrate the body from caffeine excess once in a while. Plus, my worst coffee benders were intensifying high-strung deadline stress, and that’s a no-no for keeping skin clear of breakouts.

I started up drinking coffee again slowly, with strictly half a cup a day. It’s not only much more potently effective, it becomes a special treat to really savor a quality roast.