A Year Without Coffee

In 2017, I spent 9 months without drinking coffee.

I admit that I cheated a little bit in the title, since 9 months is not a year, but 2017 felt like the year without coffee for me. During Lent, I abstained myself from coffee as a form of penance; and a few months later I chose to stay coffee-free for the rest of the year as part of a religious promise.

Before starting to write this post, I saw that there are a lot of texts in the Internet with identical titles and themes. I chose not to read any of them; what follows are simply my impressions.

Drinking coffee is a habit

This may sound obvious, but my strongest impression is this: what I missed the most was not the taste of coffee, but the ritual of drinking it.

I quickly got used to drinking a cup of tea in the morning and right after lunch. But this was when I was by myself; it was particularly hard to watch my family drink the usual espresso after our meals, or to not join my wife for a nice warm coffee in Copenhagen cafés.

From what I read about habits and addictions, dealing with these triggers is the first step in managing good and bad habits, and my experiene proves this.

Coffee ≠ caffein

The worst side effect I expected was worsening my ability to focus, or feeling drowsy all the time. I was particularly worried about this because I started this experiment right before going to Denmark for my PhD external stay. However, by drinking black tea regularly (in its various forms, like English Breakfast and Earl Grey), I managed to feel almost the same stimulating effects as regular coffee would provide me.

As I said in previous posts, my period in Danish land was very productive. Abstaining from coffee did not affect this, nor did it affect my sleep. I don’t usually sleep very well, mainly because of anxiety issues, and trading coffee for tea did not change anything.

Religion is a great motivation

During preparation for going to Denmark, many things started to go wrong, and I became pretty desperate; I then prayed and prayed and promised that, if God provided myself with the solution to my problems, I would stop drinking coffee for the whole year. Because of His Infinite Grace, He came to my rescue, and so I kept my promise.

Every time I felt the urge to drink coffee I reminded myself of my motivation, and the desire quickly vanished. This was not a game bet or some joke; this was a minuscule action to thank God for the incredible experience He provided me.

And for Him, I would do it again.


Por Fábio Fortkamp

Pai do João Pedro, Marido da Maria Elisa, Professor do Departamento de Engenharia Mecânica da Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina, católico devoto, nerd

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