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Caffeine Conundrum

Let me explain my problem, and then I’ll let you offer your suggestions. I have a long and sordid history with the drug, caffeine. I’ve tried over and over to cut the habit, but I get withdrawal headaches. Plus, even if I have managed to climb on the wagon, soda and coffee is all around me. Especially in America, in the land of free refills, it is very hard for me to say no. (Here, it is a little easier. I just drink beer instead. It costs the same and is perhaps a bit healthier than pop.)

This year, I gave up caffeine as one of my New Year’s Resolutions. It wasn’t something I listed on my list of resolutions, but more of a personal goal. I didn’t have a drop for two months. Then Rob convinced me that it isn’t like blow or Lucy: I can consume it in moderation without ruining my life. So I started drinking one Dr. Pepper a week. That lasted really well until we went to America last month. I did not control myself, and I was disappointed in myself. So there’s problem number 1.

Caffeine problem number 2. When it gets cool outside, I really like warm beverages. But I have never found a tea that I enjoy. Hot chocolate is too sweet. So I opt for coffee. Right now, I’m drinking a powdered coffee drink, a latte macchiato. I’ll have one in the morning, one midday when my fingers get chilly again, and then maybe one more before 7:00 (I have enough trouble falling asleep that I don’t need to add evening caffeine to the mix).

Possible Solutions?

I’m looking for suggestions for replacing hot caffeine, so here are a few things to know about me.

  • I don’t have a fancy palate, so anything powdered works for me.
  • I want a hot replacement, something that takes hot water, preferably. Milk is harder to have at school.
  • As I said above, I’ve never found a tea that I like, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. I’ve tried green tea, strawberry-flavored black tea, Darjeeling… and that’s all I can remember. Oh, and those fancy Lipton tea-in-a-pyramid thingies.
  • Preferable something available in both Germany and America, so I can drink it now and when we move back. But if it’s only in America, I can deal with that. Something else to look forward to. :)

So what are you thinking? I can’t wait to hear!
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10 thoughts on “Caffeine Conundrum

  1. Pingback: Reader Poll: How Long Will the Dr. Pepper Last? | Linden's Pensieve

  2. Linden

    15 Oct on 2008 at 15:48

    @deanna: Actually, I think of you every time I hear “Chai.” :) It’s a tea, right? Maybe it has less caffeine than coffee… I need to do a little research on that, but from what I remember about the way Chai tastes, it’s what I’m looking for.

    @beth: (Or is it James? Recommending beer, I can’t be sure…) Hmm… bringing in the health aspect. I definitely see your point, but I just don’t want to be drinking something that has an addictive drug in it. I don’t want to “have to have my coffee/soda” to wake up in the morning. I know many people do, and that’s fine–to each his own–but for my own body, I just don’t like the idea of being addicted.

    I guess that raises the stakes. I need to find a replacement that’s both healthy and doesn’t contain addictive chemicals. Hmmph.

  3. Beth

    14 Oct on 2008 at 14:54

    Well, I have to agree with Rob. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little bit of caffeine in moderation. I think a coffee with a bit of milk in it is much healthier than a sugary processed drink like Chai Tea. But I’m biased since I take my coffee black.

    Decaf coffee is another very, very viable option! Stick with the beer, though! ;)

  4. Deanna

    12 Oct on 2008 at 20:09

    I’m adding another vote for Chai. I love Chai. Chai is actually a black tea that’s mixed with milk, however the only type I’ve ever made at home is a powered mix. It comes in two types that I know of, the Spicy Chai that tastes like pumpkin pie that Lorraine mentioned and vanilla Chai that I usually drink. I’m sorry, not sure of the caffeine level in it.

  5. Linden

    11 Oct on 2008 at 14:01

    @lorraine: I have a looong time ago, but I think I need to give it a second try!

    @roadtripreading: Thanks for the tip on caffeinated Chai. I’ve considered apple cider, but I don’t think it’s quite the flavor I’m looking for. Too sweet.

    @jennifer: See, that’s my problem, too! When I was in America, I didn’t think it would effect me when I got back here. *sigh* Both of your suggestions sound nice!

    I’m torn on using Excedrin. I bought a bunch to bring with us when we moved here because it’s the only non-script med that fixes my migraines. But I started doing everything I could to avoid it once I ditched caffeine. I can’t decide whether to keep using it or not.

    @ww: I know I can go off it again–that’s not the problem, really. I’m trying to find a substitution. I haven’t tried Pero or Postum, but Christina just introduced me to Caro, which might be a good solution. Tastes almost exactly like coffee, but it’s not!

  6. ww

    10 Oct on 2008 at 21:12

    I’d say if you quit for 2 months you were completely off, so you should be able to get off again and not even do the one a week thing.

    As for hot drinks, I think apple cider is a good idea, and it does come in powdered form here in the States. Also, have you ever tried Pero or Postum? I believe Pero is readily available in Germany.

  7. Jennifer

    10 Oct on 2008 at 12:47

    Also Moroccan mint tea is very good.

  8. Jennifer

    10 Oct on 2008 at 12:28

    It is like blow. 2 months after I quit, I had one caffeine-free root beer and one latte, and a month later I was still craving soft drinks. I felt bad for having undone my previous progress, but glad to have realized what a true beast it is. I won’t even touch the caffeine free soft drinks now.

    Panera bread company has a caffeine free orange ginger mint tea that I drink now. Also you could look into chrysanthemum tea. It’s popular in china, but tastes best with sugar added. Like the other poster mentioned, regular Chai tea has caffeine in it.

    Also, for headaches, you could try taking 1 excedrin. It has a little caffeine in it.

  9. roadtripreading

    10 Oct on 2008 at 12:12

    I recently have cut out caffeine as well. A couple of thoughts…

    I second lorraine’s suggestion for Chai, but make sure that it is decaf. I’ve seen powdered chai mix and for a while we had a liquid version as well.

    What about apple cider? It’s not powdered, but could be fairly easily heated.

    Also, while it doesn’t get you away from coffee, my biggest issue in giving up coffee was the headaches. We did a partial regular, partial decaf method, so that we could adjust the caffeine levels gradually. If you go this route, I would suggest staying away from cheap decaf though :)

  10. Lorraine

    10 Oct on 2008 at 10:36

    Have you tried Chai Tea? It doesn’t really taste like tea: more like pumpkin pie. If you like it, there’s an alcoholic version at the Mudlounge. ;-)