Coffee is one of the great pleasures of life. I love my cups of coffee. It has to be good coffee – a good strong, but well-rounded roast, not too bitter, definitely not burnt. I love the ritual of coffee; placing the order, sitting in a nice cafe, the anticipation, the knowledge I’ll have a few minutes to relax, read a newspaper or a book. When the coffee arrives I lift the cup and breathe in that scent – the smell of fresh coffee is often the best part of coffee for me. Unfortunately, it is also the reason why I don’t have coffee at home. My husband detests it. He couldn’t live in a house full of coffee. Oh, and I make terrible coffee. (My excuse is lack of practice).
Besides, as I am writing this I am listening to a report on National Radio that coffee lowers the risk of death by up to 15%. I’m good with that.
But two months ago I got sick. I couldn’t leave the house, even if I had wanted to. Getting from my bed to the couch was about all I could manage. Finally, after about three weeks, I ventured out cautiously. “Coffee,” I thought longingly.
So my first coffee after illness should have been amazing. But I was tentative, knowing that coffee was a known trigger for neuralgia attacks. One coffee with a single shot of espresso should be okay, I reasoned (specifically not choosing a cafe that gives double shots). It didn’t trigger a full attack. But for the next two or three hours, my heart raced, my hands shook, my body was out of control. So for several weeks, I was off coffee, waiting till I felt stronger, waiting till my body was ready, hoping it would one day soon be able to cope with caffeine. Because even though lemon and ginger herbal tea after brunch at my favourite place is nice, it just wasn’t the same.
I am now pleased to report though that my coffee diet is over. Still, I’m conscious that I can in fact survive without coffee. And so, unless we specifically go out for brunch or lunch on weekends, and if I’m working at home one day without a reason to go out, it is quite common for me to go a day, two or even three without coffee. Even when I’m not sick. Yes, indeed, quite voluntarily.