One Week Without Coffee: The Setup

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I was sitting on a patio eating frozen yogurt on a warm, breezeless Easter Sunday.  In between bites of “Grandma Ruby’s Cookies n’ Cream,” I mentioned to my girlfriend that I needed to stop by the grocery to get a few things on the way home.

“What exactly do you need to get?” she asked.

“Eh, a few things. Coffee, oatmeal, eggs, etc.”

“Well isn’t tomorrow…”

“Crap.” I cut her off.  I had already forgotten.  This isn’t going to be easy.

I’ve been drinking coffee since I was sixteen and can say with some conviction that I’ve hardly gone a day without it since.  I’m not just a morning coffee drinker either; I have a cup before I leave the house, another once I get to work, one more in the dead hours of the afternoon and occasionally another before dinner.  It’s delicious, calorie-free, and I love it beyond words.

I had never really felt any negative effects of drinking coffee, except for its impact on my wallet, until last week’s challenge.  Since I normally go to bed between one and two in the morning, my caffeine blitz usually wears off by bedtime.  When I tried to go to bed early in order to wake up at dawn, however, I found myself staring wide-eyed at the ceiling for what seemed like forever.  The message was clear: it was time to cut back, and what better way to get started than with the highly anticipated, and much feared, One Week Without Coffee.

Even before the challenge began, I started to notice the benefits.  My grocery bill was nothing, since I stopped buying meat, the most expensive single purchase has been 12-cup Keurig pods of coffee.  Not this week.

While browsing through the produce aisle, the clouds parted as I spotted the small Starbucks kiosk.  What the hell, I might as well have one final cup, I thought.

As soon as I walked away, with coffee in hand, I felt the boiling liquid bubbling out from underneath the seam of the soft plastic lid, searing my knuckles.  No matter what I tried, I couldn’t keep it from leaking out, and I lived with this hardship for the duration of the trip.  The coffee seemed to know my plans.  It was fighting back–punishing me for what I was about to do.

Alas, I refuse to be beaten by an inanimate object.  Thus, today begins One Week Without Coffee.  For one week, I’ll try not to become a lifeless, withdrawn zombie while living without my miracle elixir.  Though I’ll try to avoid replacing coffee directly with any vice, the kind folks over at Cognitea sent me over a few bags of their tea which I highly recommend.  In times of trouble, I’ll turn to tea to comfort me, and I’ll gladly pocket the two dollars I would have spent on a cup of moderately satisfying coffee.

As always, I’ll post a midweek update and a wrapup here on OWW, and will cover the day-to-day on twitter (@scottmarquart).

may we all get better together.


Start your own One Week With/out challenge!  Begin here.


  1. Kelly says

    Best of luck to you on this one… this may be the hardest yet. At least it would be for me. Get ready to keep the advil handy for caffeine withdrawals, they are nasty! Can’t wait to hear how this one goes.

  2. Urban Gypsy says

    God speed! Perhaps if you place the cash you’d normally spend on coffee each time you refrain from doing so in a jar, it could be even more motivating? Just a thought!

  3. says

    Ahhh, best of luck! The week I gave up coffee was hell for me, but I’ve heard that it gets better for most people after the first three days. I look forward to reading about your experience!