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[personal profile] jack

As a teenager I never drank tea or coffee. I must have tried them at some point, but never felt the desire.

At university I started drinking both. I can't remember exactly, I remember having them as a ritual something to do when hanging out with friends. IIRC I drank instant coffee, and real coffee tasted too bitter.

And I think I reached a point where I needed coffee and got dopey and too tired to get up without it, either at university, or after I started working. Unrelated to the caffeine (I assume?) I also had student-y programmer-y sleep patterns, always wanting to sleep a bit later. I don't know how much that was inbuilt physiology and how much it was putting things off, including going to bed and doing things in the morning.

At some point, I started drinking real coffee for preference, and instant coffee tasted bad.

When I started dating Liv, I drank a lot more tea, because we'd usually make a pot together. And I started to feel like coffee was too abrupt, and tea gave a slightly slower caffeine release, and gradually switched to drinking tea almost entirely: I'd happily drink coffee if it was served somewhere, but didn't usually drink it at home or at work.

When I started dating ghoti, I started drinking coffee again, because she drank coffee more often and I liked companionably drinking the same thing. I started with mostly instant coffee, and to date, still mostly drink instant coffee, although I also like real coffee when I have it.

Now I tend to switch, drinking instant coffee at home (because it's quicker), tea at work (because I want a break from the screen to faff around in the kitchen for 10 min), and whichever I feel like if I drink something out.

I never really learned to like espresso based coffee, espressos taste much too strong, and all the mixed drinks taste weird. I used to like mochas occasionally. I usually like plain black tea with milk, or plain coffee, with milk.

Except when I'm abroad, I generally drink whatever's common locally if I'm ok with it at all.

I don't track how much I drink. It's probably quite a lot, because I drink it whenever I feel like, not at fixed times. But I used to feel like it was doing something weird, when I'd be completely wrecked when I *didn't* have caffeine, whereas now, I definitely need some, but if I get a drink within an hour or so of getting up, I don't feel completely zombified until then.

So I used to toy with the idea it'd be healthier to give up (ie. awakeness juice was just borrowing future awakeness and immediate gains were offset in future losses). But now it feels like, the status quo is doing ok.


A couple of people have commented that they have ADHD or suspect they possibly have subclinical ADHD or something related, specifically that mild stimulants make them feel calmer, even right before sleeping.

That's very me. I've never tried to avoid late-night caffeine have haven't noticed it having any affect on my sleep. Which inclines me to think the status quo is possibly fine.


The one big inconvenience in needing caffeine used to be when I'm away, especially at a con in a conference centre, but also, just anywhere on holiday where I'm out all day and don't have decent tea or coffee facilities where I'm staying.

I found it a big faff needing a certain amount of coffee or tea, but that not always syncing up with when I want to sit down and "have a coffee". And a crapshoot whether there'd be somewhere providing bog-standard coffee or tea cheap, or if the only source was a fancy coffee place. Especially if I'm in a rush, or it's all in a foreign language, or whatever.

At some point, I experimented with bringing caffeine pills. I'd studiously avoided them before since having caffeine without the ritual of drinking it seemed like it would only exacerbate the feedback loop of taking more and more to make up for potential caffeine-crashes. I still avoid them when I'm *not* away somewhere.

But I actually found it really helpful, it basically solved the problem for me. I usually need a couple of actual hot drinks throughout the day, usually one or two in the morning with breakfast and one sometime during the day. But otherwise, having a couple of pills in the interim, either physiologically or placebo-y, made me feel fine. I also remember to drink liquid. It made the whole thing a lot simpler.

I can't help other people though, especially tea drinkers in places where there's not much tea.


Which bits of those experiences resonate with you and which don't?

Most of my friends seem to default to tea *or* coffee, even though I remember by parents drinking one or the other depending on the circumstances. Do other people drink both at different times?

What is the relative caffeine in a cup of tea, a cup of coffee, and caffeine pill?

Does that status quo sound sensible or is there something else you'd recommend?

Date: 2017-08-21 06:00 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
I very occasionally drink caffeinated coffee or tea- tea by taste preference, but either when needing caffeine. In college I had classmates who seemed unpleasantly or possibly dangerously dependent and I vowed to get through school without developing a caffeine habit like theirs, so I very carefully avoided all caffeine. I've since relaxed my caution, but still get by without caffeine whenever possible.

Date: 2017-08-21 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
I have an ADD diagnosis (inattentive type), and stimulants do make me feel... not calmer, exactly, but better able to not be distacted by anxiety, which amounts to much the same thing.

Caffeine, however, doesn't agree with me in other ways. I am fine with maybe one or two cups of tea now and then, or moderate quantities of chocolate, but if I have, say, three cups of black tea in a day, the next day I will have a headache. (I don't know about coffee, it tastes terrible to me in all forms.) Additionally, it takes about a week for my caffeine tolerance to get to a point where rather than caffeine giving me a gentle advantage, I need caffeine just to feel "normal" relative to my unmedicated status. I can make the headache go away by having more caffeine, but I don't like needing it to feel normal. Additionally, if I'm taking a reliever inhaler for asthma, too much caffeine (again it seems to be about three cups of black tea) gives me heart palpitations. So, I tend to be careful about caffeine, saving it for "special occasions" -- times when I know I'm going to be really busy or under a lot of pressure for two or three days. And during those times, I still avoid coffee; instead I will have one can a day, usually in the morning, of some kind of energy drink like Red Bull or V.

My prescription stimulants have none of the negative side effects, and zero withdrawal effects. They're also a slow-release formulation that means the effect is pretty subtle; I don't feel a lot different when I take them but if I look back over the day, I've spent a lot more time doing things I meant to do and a lot less time stuck trying to decide what to do. I tend to take them irregularly because the NHS is regulated in such a way as to make them difficult for me to get: I can't have a repeat prescription so have to see the GP every time I need more, which would be once a month if I took them properly; the amount I'm prescribed is more than a chemist is allowed to keep in stock, so I then usually have to make two trips to the chemist. That's three separate outings for one month of tablets. (Yes, I could probably cut out one step of this by having the GP send the prescription directly to the chemist and just going to pick it up when it's ready. But then I have to deal with an additional time constraint on the GP appointment so I can be sure to be around to pick the prescription up when it's ready, rather than it being ready when I'm halfway to Aberdeen or something.) Oh, hi, I have a condition which makes organising my time difficult. Sigh.

I've experimented with other readily available over the counter stimulants; I think ginseng is, for me, gentler than caffeine, and yerba maté a slightly more jangly experience but also completely different to caffeine.

[personal profile] hairyears is very fond of coffee bags as something convenient for when you only want one cup of coffee. They're especially good for taking along to hotels where there is an in-room kettle but only instant coffee.

Date: 2017-08-21 08:47 pm (UTC)
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From: [personal profile] damerell
I keep being caught out by that. I'm not fussy about instant - well, I'll drink it, although I have a proper coffee machine and grinder at home - but I always forget that the coffee in a hotel is 80% likely to be dead-baby coffee. I should put it on my packing list.

Date: 2017-08-22 10:57 am (UTC)
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
We got coffee bags in the Netherlands, and some of us were wildly enthusiastic, but I haven't seen them again. Where does one buy coffee bags?

Date: 2017-08-22 11:03 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt

I order ours from Ocado, but N has purchased them in shops before now -- I'm not sure which ones.

Date: 2017-08-22 07:43 pm (UTC)
sfred: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
I've seen them in supermarkets in the UK, but have also bought them from Amazon.

Date: 2017-08-21 06:40 pm (UTC)
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From: [personal profile] catyak
I tend to be a tea drinker, I like the smell of fresh coffee but actually drinking it tends to be disappointing so I don't do it that often. Over here when it's hot, I find that water is often good enough, which is probably why I still have teabags left from 2014 when I brought over five thousand or so of them. At home, I start with tea in the morning and then drink water, often with ice, during the day. I don't drink alcoholic beverages and I avoid soda unless there's no other option.

Date: 2017-08-21 07:38 pm (UTC)
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From: [personal profile] mtbc
I've not tried caffeine pills as it doesn't really do anything for me; I'm guessing it's genetic as caffeine didn't seem to affect my father or his brother either. I do enjoy the taste of tea and coffee though and am slightly but not very fussy about them. I usually have them black and unsweetened to avoid the fuss of calorie counting but I certainly enjoy the occasional latte and suchlike. For variety I also have non-tea tisane-like things around too: peppermint, berry, rooibos, whatever.

Date: 2017-08-22 07:47 pm (UTC)
sfred: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
I am too sensitive to caffeine to have coffee from coffee shops - it makes me feel shaky and weird - so out and about I will have decaf coffee because I like the taste. I've recently discovered coffee bags and they allow me to make coffee at a strength that tastes good to me but doesn't make me feel ill.

I much more often drink tea at home and at work, and I only very occasionally start to feel over-caffeinated from tea.

Date: 2017-08-24 11:20 am (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
I drink both, but not dead-baby instant (I can't really say I'm 'boycotting' it, it's nasty tasting so I wouldn't start buying it if they suddenly became less crap). But never with milk (because it is gross, I won't get sick, but I don't drink milk except in chocolate). I like the taste and the ritual of drinking together but I don't notice particular effects until I've drunk way too much (and then I'm jittery). If I'm out-of-it coffee doesn't help but cake (from the coffee shop) does a bit. With age I'm getting better at GOING TO BED which makes everything much easier except late night parties.

Date: 2017-08-25 06:53 am (UTC)
ext_57867: (Default)
From: [identity profile] mair-aw.livejournal.com
I think the status quo where one drinks a reasonable* amount of tea/coffee through the day is not a bad thing, but it has certain disadvantages, particularly when out and about (especially for English-tea drinkers in Europe >_<).

Although they say there are some health benefits in e.g. a cup of tea every day, the status quo where I'm not addicted to caffeine is ime better.

However, it's so very easy to go from "a cup of tea now and again" to "must have tea/coffee - headache/sleepy" ...

* appropriate amounts reportedly vary per person