It has been 295 days since my last sip of coffee.
These past 295 days have definitely tested my endurance.
I am a college student - working through my thesis year - without coffee. What was i thinking?!
Here's what I was thinking: a cup of coffee costs upwards of $2 a day, more if I go to Starbucks or the many lovely coffee places around New York City. When I was in London, I survived - and thrived - from drinking mostly tea. I had boxes of Twinings tea (Earl Grey, Lady Grey, and Chai) on my desk and organic chemistry studying weekends were spent downing multiple chai lattes in one sitting. The only time I had coffee during my semester abroad, in fact, was on spring break when we jetsetted around Europe (Italian coffee is obviously famous and delicious, but possibly the best cup of coffee I've ever had was at a cafe at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens) and a few Starbucks runs during finals week. Plus, a bag of tea is 10¢. Hello, that is a 95% savings.
For 2011, I made a new year's resolution to give up drinking coffee. For a year. Or until I succumbed to weak will. And I have gone 295 days. Still planning to continue, but it's really a struggle.
First of all, I liked the taste of coffee. I am a fan of plain or hazelnut (none of that caramel macchiato frilly fancy business for me) with a little bit of sugar and a splash of milk. This morning I saw a woman at Starbucks fill her grande coffee with eight bags of white sugar and half and half. I felt the diabetes radiating from her cup. Ew. Anyway, yeah so I don't drink coffee necessarily for the caffeine, and I sincerely like the taste.
Second, it is really hard to not drink such a ubiquitous beverage. Every time I walk past a Starbucks in the city, a little part of me withers after I get a whiff of the smoky roast that sails out the door. School events have free coffee but I have to make a beeline towards the tea station. Bobst (our library) reeks of it. Want to grab a cup of coffee? No, sorry, I don't drink coffee. And then I have to answer their inquisitive stares.
I admit, I have slipped up a little bit. The first time was for my mom's birthday, when we had tiramisu cake. I definitely did not even realize there was coffee in it. Then, there was my own tiramisu birthday cake.... *cue flashback*
I spent my 20th birthday in Florence while on spring break with the amazing friends I met studying abroad. We went to one of my favorite restaurants in Florence that night, Trattoria Vecchio Carlino, and I got their delicious tagliatelli con funghi e crema di tartufo (mushroom and truffle sauce) - creamy, earthy, salty goodness, heaven on a plate. After dinner, the lights in the dining room turned off! I was so weirded out...until the waiter brought over a beautifully sculpted tiramisu cake that my friends had arranged. That was one of the best nights of my life.
...And so this year, for my 21st birthday, at my favorite local sushi digs in Brooklyn, these same friends surprised me with a giant tiramisu cake to relive our spring break trip. Oh gosh, it was delicious. The outer edge was studded with fat, chewy lady fingers and the creamy layers were light and sweet. And so I ingested more coffee in the form of a cake. I was a little ashamed afterwards, but it was soooooo good and it was a special occasion. Right?
I think it is a true test of someone's will to give up something, especially to have dietary restrictions. You have to be super dedicated and on your toes at all times so as to not eat the wrong thing. This experiment in coffee abstinence was definitely not for me. At the strike of midnight, January 1, 2012, I am having the most enormous jug of coffee ever. And I am going to love it. And perhaps suffer some really painful consequences from downing so much concentrated caffeine in the span of two minutes. But it will be so worth it...mmm, I can't wait!