Day 1

Anastasia K.: The first day without coffee went surprisingly well. Apart from a huge existential void that relinquishing the drink of gods has left in my life, I feel much better physically. My anxiety went down quite a bit, and my head doesn’t hurt like I’ve had a three-day hangover. I think what helped was having a big cup of very strong tea (the excellent Yorkshire Gold, smuggled over from the UK) this morning, which meant that I did ingest my usually liberal amount of caffeine, but of a more lenient kind. 

Day 2

Anastasia L.: Surprisingly enough, I didn’t even notice the absence of coffee in my system, probably thanks to a huge piece of chocolate cake, a whole bunch of cookies and liters of cocoa and fancy-pants flavored tea called Bavarian Mulled Wine with cacao beans, paprika and almond slivers (I said it was fancy). Sugar pretty much did the trick, and I didn’t feel too stressed and deprived of something delicious (I love coffee, first of all, for its taste and the sense of comfort it brings). What I noticed was that it was a wee bit easier to fall asleep, but it was not a life-changing difference, and I still went to bed at two in the morning, which was not very fun.

Day 3

Anastasia K.: The emotional void is growing bigger, but so far I’m withstanding it. My supply of good tea is running dangerously low, too, so I plan to look for comfort in more foreign waters of chicory root and barley “coffee”. Funnily enough, these depressing times are characterized by a very bizarre cognitive dissonance: my emotional state is becoming even more fragile as I’m being dogged by coffee withdrawals, but physically I feel better and better, more grounded and thinking more clearly. My life feels rather bleak, though. Thank goodness I’m not renouncing hummus. Will report back on the barley abomination.

Day 4

Anastasia L.: It’s day 4 of our “Coffee, I can’t live without you” drama, and surprisingly enough, I’m still holding strong. I replenished my supplies of fancy tea with chocolate masala and even purchased some matcha powder for the first time ever (late to the party, as usual). To be honest, it wasn’t exactly the taste that I was expecting, but at least now I know that matcha latte is not particularly my cup of tea. To be completely honest, I did drink some coffee today, but it was a decaf version from Starbucks, which doesn’t really count, does it? The good news is that I’m feeling way less anxious and my sleep quality has improved significantly, while the downside is that, though pretty tolerable taste-wise, the decaf latte costs nearly three (!) times as much as my usual one, which means that I’m not going to buy it on a regular basis, in the nearest future at least.

Credit: Jason Leung (@ninjason) on Unsplash

Credit: Jason Leung (@ninjason) on Unsplash

Day 5

Anastasia K.: If my coffee experiment were a movie, its soundtrack would no doubt be Nothing Compares 2 You by Sinéad O’Connor. I’ve tried the barley abomination, which turned out to be just that; chicory root is a little bit more passable, but it really depends on the brand. Nothing truly compares. In terms of the state I’m in, at this point feeling normal has subsided into just feeling dull. I’m definitely not the first person to have discovered this, but life is tedious without intoxicating substances. This experience has also started to remind me of writing a daily log after suffering a shipwreck and ending up on a remote desert island where civilization is but a distant, pain-inflicting memory. “Day 5, water supply at two bottles. Willingness to live, questionable. Just want my coffee back to be honest. [Tear marks on the paper]”

Day 6

Anastasia L.: It’s 3am, and I’m lying in my bed, wide awake, thinking about everything in the world and nothing in particular. I’m completely exhausted but I cannot sleep. Again. I’m wondering if my Google account’s password is secure enough, if the hotel I’m going to stay at the upcoming weekend has received my reservation, if the present that I picked for my friends visiting this week is the right kind of present, and if drinking a huge cup of cappuccino at 8pm was the right thing to do after all. I’ve slipped, I know, and I’m now facing the consequences. The good thing about this experiment is that it allowed me to see very clearly how my body reacts to coffee (not that I didn’t know that already) and, most importantly, how it acts without it. It turned out that without coffee, I don’t immediately turn into a sleepy mess which I thought I would, and there still is joy and comfort in my life.

Day 7

Anastasia K.: I’ve also thrown in the towel, and rebelliously guzzled down two gigantic cups, one after another, Stay Clean by Motörhead blasting in my head (oh the irony). I mean, it felt great and I regret almost nothing, if we overlook the moral failure factor and going back on one’s commitments and all that minor stuff. I’d been expecting for all the usual ramifications to come back with a vengeance, but was pleasantly surprised by the fact that they didn’t, or at least not to the previous degree. Maybe the answer is in not abandoning the drink altogether but just doing detoxes from time to time? Who knows. One thing is certain, though: coffee is damn tasty. Why do all bad things tend to be so damn tasty? Yet another glitch in our matrix, huh.

Credit: Sara Dubler (@ahungryblonde_) on Unsplash

Credit: Sara Dubler (@ahungryblonde_) on Unsplash


  • As with any addictive consumable that you’re trying to give up (and we’re talking about all legal things, of course), try to work on building a healthy daily routine to make up for the short-lived pleasure that this thing used to provide. Point being, make sure to have a good night’s sleep, eat nourishing food that’s good for you, take a walk, or do anything of the sort. 

  • When a craving comes, try to overlook it for a couple of minutes, then for a couple more. Talk to a friend, pet your cat, light a candle, listen to a song, read something, take a couple of deep, calming breaths. You may find that the feeling passes quickly, leaving you to congratulate yourself on your badassery (seriously, well done). 

  • With most guilty pleasures, there’s a reason you’re trying to give them up in the first place. Most of them vanish with some kind of an unpleasant consequence; for example, for many people, having one too many cups of java tends to result in increased anxiety, headaches or insomnia. So if you are seeing this negative impact, or next time you succumb to the craving and feel these negative results, don’t close your eyes to them and don’t just shoo them away. Rather, sit with this unpleasantness for a moment, experiencing its effects fully as they come. This will help your brain to dissociate this thing from pleasure, thus reducing its hankering for it. 

  • If you decide that all things considered, your life is still a little bit more exciting with coffee, maybe learn to have it in moderation. This can be very hard, but the right thing to do. And when you do consume it, savor it to the max – sit down with your cuppa, really enjoy it, pay special attention to its preparation, drink it mindfully and slowly and perhaps you will be able to bump your coffee intake down from four cups (guilty as charged) to just one or two. Also, bear in mind that caffeine is best consumed in the first half of the day if you don’t want it to mess with your sleep cycle. 

  • Experiment with coffee alternatives: we may have hated barley coffees or matcha lattes, but you may absolutely love them. Cashing in for the decaf coffee may also be an option.

  • Doing coffee detoxes (i. e. avoiding it for a couple of days) may help increase your overall tolerance of the drink. The evidence, of course, is only anecdotal, but absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that and maybe a short break will just allow you to take in more of the taste.

Written by Anastasia Krasilnikova and Anastasiia Labunskaia