The caffeine conundrum


I didn’t expect to have so much energy.  Explain this, please.  I thought caffeine was the bringer of zing and zip?


Day one and, by the afternoon, my sense of reality was a little awry.  Not so seriously that I couldn’t function; just the occasional bout of unintentionality.  Apparently, caffeine withdrawal doesn’t kick into until about 12 to 24 hours after the last cup.  That would explain why people have to start the day with a coffee.

Day two and the obligatory headache kicked in.  I thought my sense of reality was still off-centre because I couldn’t find the disconnection I usually feel when I haven’t had caffeine.

Day three and the headache comes and goes.  Why was I feeling so much livelier than usual?

By day four, I’d decided my expectations had no basis in reality.  This was nothing like the withdrawal I’d been told about.  I had so much energy and felt quite sharp.  In fact, I felt sharp at times of the day when I’d normally be dragging myself around.

I worried people would think I was on something!


Earl Grey TeaGrowing up, we were a family of tea drinkers.  The smell of strong tea drowned in milk is never forgotten.  Oversized metal pots, needing two handles and two hands, were brought out at high teas and suppers after tennis matches, golf days and dances.  The brew was designed for adults.  As a pre-teen, I was not a fan.

My cup of tea was weak with three drops of milk carefully administered.  No sugar.  It took a long time to empty a milk carton.  So.  Much.  Wastage.

At a work tea break during my twenties, there was no milk.  I gave it a try, thinking how much easier life will be if I tolerate this.

When asked how I like my tea, I now suggest that the colour of amber will be fine.


Queen Mary TeaIn my thirties, sitting around a table with friends, or when on a date, it felt uncomfortable ordering tea while they, or he, ordered coffee.  Up to that point, the time had been spent trying to make connections, to get along, to seem compatible.  The spell broke just as the order was placed.  The different worlds were starkly evident.

There ach, or he, sat with the single cup of potent brew served ready to drink.  There I sat with the paraphernalia that accompanies a restaurant-ordered cuppa – the empty cup, the pot of tea, the small vase of milk.  The pot might have the tea bag’s label hanging down the side.  I then “assembled” my own, and the spout of the teapot leaked everywhere.

So, I changed my order in an effort to present myself as someone I wasn’t.

The fiasco of bumbling into a strange world … my first order was Irish coffee.  It contained whisky.  Not much was consumed, which was fine because by this point of this particular date I was not feeling much like another.  Men of a certain age have their retirement plans all worked out.  They’re just looking for someone who thinks “That’s a great idea” and stump up some extra superannuation cash to make their plans feasible or less risky.

I eventually settled on a flat white with no sugar as my regular order.


Assam TeaTea pots are different to coffee pots.  Coffee pots inevitably attempt to be stylish.  Tea pots delight in abandon.  Coffee draws on a European heritage such as Paris or Milan, centres of a certain style.  Tea draws on two separate and very distinct heritages.  There’s the Japanese tea ceremony and the beautiful pottery cups that evoke earth and eternity.  And there’s the English tradition with ceramics that whisper daintily of the polite drawing room; a whisper that playful artists have used to produce all manner of witty and colourful pieces.


My caffeine problem was not born of my introduction to coffee.  It started well before that with the black soda drinks.  A cup of coffee is a shot of caffeine in a short space of time.  A bottle of black soda could be sipped as needed throughout the day.  A coffee often came with a headache – too much too quickly.  The black soda could be paced.


So, back to my original question … why do I have more energy now that I’ve given up my energy booster?

My first thought was the reversal of some negative effect on liver function.  However, the internet tells me I’m wrong.  In fact, there are so many articles about coffee being good for the liver that perhaps I should take it up again.

Once again, life has presented itself as a conundrum.  I like the new energy, so I won’t be returning to the overindulgence of bygone days.  But should we give up something that is supposedly good for us?

So for the sake of my liver and family tradition, it is with much relief that I wouldn’t dream of giving up tea.


But here’s a thoroughly funny thought, could drinking extra water give you more energy?




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