Coffee overload?

by DaniGirl on May 18, 2010 · 25 comments

in It IS all about me

The people I work with like to tease me about the amount of coffee I drink, I think because finding a way to adapt my at-work coffee habit was one of my first priorities when I got here. “Yes, thanks for the desk and computer, nice to meet you all, but where is the nearest Tim Hortons please?”

And, in the manner of so many addicts the world over, I am a little defensive about my drug of choice. I find myself bracing for people’s reaction when the topic of how much coffee I consume comes up, and ready with a quick justification. “Well, it’s better than heroin, right?”

So by now you’re wondering, how much coffee does she drink anyway? *twists toe in the carpet* Um, not much. Really, just two a day. Two, um, extra-larges each day. It doesn’t seem like a lot to me, but at 500 ml each, when you do the math that’s a litre of coffee a day. And a couple of days a week, I’ll find room for another large cup in the afternoon, or a big mug of green tea, which has less but still a significant amount of caffeine. If I’m at home, I brew a pot in the morning and have two mugs worth, and then likely have another cup, maybe two, somewhere later in the day.

The thing is, I know I’m addicted to it. Physically, mentally, psychologically addicted. If I happen to be feeling sick, even if I can’t stand the taste of the coffee I have to choke down a cup in the morning or I’ll feel really wretched. And if I’m off my routine, it’s important that I find a way to accommodate those precious cups of morning coffee, at least the bare minimum of one extra-large worth.

But really? I’m okay with that. Mostly. Like I said, it’s not heroin. It’s not crack. It’s not porn. There are worse things to be addicted to than coffee. It’s socially acceptable, easily accessible, there are health benefits in moderation, and the amount I drink is not doing a horrendous amount of damage to me physiologically. I think.

Health Canada recommends a maximum caffeine intake of 400 mg daily, which is about three 8 oz/250 ml cups of coffee. I figure my daily intake is around 500 – 600 mg, so there is some room there for improvement. I’m trying so hard to treat my body with respect, to be the healthiest me I can be. So on one hand, the coffee-lover in me says, “If you are living a life of moderation, this one isn’t going to break the bank.” On the other hand, I am intellectually concerned about any addiction.

I’m not sure I’m in a place right now where I am willing, let alone able, to give up coffee or caffeine entirely. Tiredness is my Achilles heel — I can deal with a lot of crap, but if I’m tired or hungry, I am irrational and incompetent. I know this about myself. Coffee is like a balm on my soul, a respite and a comfort, and I truly enjoy the experience of consuming it. But I don’t like being beholden to it. I spend a lot of time lately noticing how much coffee I’m drinking, and thinking. Just, you know, thinking.

So tell me, how much coffee do you drink? Are you a java junkie too? Or do you have another benign addiction that haunts you in guilty moments?

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 roz May 18, 2010 at 7:47 am

Having worked at Second Cup for six years and being a “Primo Barista”, I don’t think I have much of a choice but to love love love coffee. That being said, I’m happy with my one or two mugs a day and if I’m sick, it really depends on how I’m feeling. I would say I’m more of a coffee snob than anything. I like a certain kind of coffee and if something mediocre is the only thing available, I’ll pass, or at least wait until I can find a decent cup πŸ™‚

2 liz May 18, 2010 at 8:15 am

I’m definitely a java junkie.

However, if you want to cut down, I’d suggest cutting the size of your second cup of the day. Try it for a week, see how you feel.

3 kate May 18, 2010 at 8:50 am

I only drink tea, but I drink a lot of it and strong. If I get off my routine, I get a withdrawal headache. Funnily enough, I just started on Sunday to reduce my consumption by half. It hasn’t been fun. But I don’t like being physically addicted… I used to smoke, and I really like being free of those nic fits. I’d like to be free (somewhat anyways) or caffeine.

I used to have a major coffee habit, years and years ago, but eventually I had to quit coffee. I was having stomach pains and anxiety, and quitting coffee helped a lot. I have to say I don’t miss it at all.

4 Finola May 18, 2010 at 8:54 am

I drink around the same amount as you. At home I drink 2 mugs in the morning, then pick up a large coffee at work, also in the morning. An afternoon large goes down nicely too. I don’t worry about caffeine really; I only worry that I get dehydrated a bit too often. Must remember to add some water to the day.

One thing I do at home is to make the pot of coffee half-caf. It was a habit I started when I was breastfeeding, and now I don’t even notice the difference.

5 A Crafty Mom May 18, 2010 at 9:32 am

I am drinking about two kind-of-large mugs a day right now. I’ve done less, and I’ve done more. I love coffee too, and am a big huge coffee snob. There are lots of coffees I won’t drink πŸ˜‰ I have friends who drink much, much more than you, 8 mugs a day or more, so the amount you consume doesn’t alarm me at all! I’m with you, there are worse vices to have, many of them!

So drink up πŸ™‚

6 Simon MacDonald May 18, 2010 at 9:39 am

Well if you’ve ever visited my blog you will be greeted by a cup of coffee on the top of the page. I tend to post a bunch of coffee related articles and book reviews there. Personally I probably drink about three medium cups of coffee a day. My office building has a Tim Horton’s in cafeteria so I have easy access to reasonably good coffee. When out and about I will supplement my coffee addiction with a nice latte.

I’ve looked into coffee and caffeine abuse(?) quite a bit and there really isn’t any danger. No drug has been studied more than caffeine and not any studies that say caffeine will hurt you. I’d say as long as you aren’t getting headaches when you are off the bean you’re a perfectly normal coffee drinker.

Pour out a little double double for my homies!

7 smothermother May 18, 2010 at 9:43 am

sorry. can’t help you here. don’t drink it. i have the occasional cup of tea. i know. i am an anomoly.

8 Liisa May 18, 2010 at 10:56 am

I probably would say, on average, I’m at about an extra large in the a.m. and a medium in the p.m. Plus a diet coke or two to supplement my caffeine addiction.

I wouldn’t be too worried about caffeine abuse either.

BTW, did you know that caffeine can increase your metabolism and can give your workout a bit of a boost? I like an espresso or a cup of coffee a few minutes before my workout.

9 p. May 18, 2010 at 11:50 am

this has been on mind lately as I am 15 weeks pregnant and although I don’t believe it’s necessary to cut out all caffeine while pregnant I certainly support a more moderate approach …that said, I have been too sick to even contemplate a cup and even though my stomach turns at the thought of it, i miss terribly the ritual of it. it turns out that my emotional relationship is even stronger than any physical one. I love my coffee and I am in mourning over the loss of it … and hoping that I will be able to reunite with my love again soon … so curious, did you have similar trouble while pregnant and how did you handle??

10 ShopHaven May 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I am definitely a Java Junkie! I have a large travel mug on my way to work, another cup mid morning and another one in the afternoon. If I am really daring I usually have another in the evening after dinner. Does it make it worse if you are drinking Starbucks “bold”?

11 Shannon May 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Nope! RT @DaniGirl: How much coffee is too much coffee? Is there really such a thing?

12 Pearl May 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm

My poison’s chocolate. It wouldn’t be strange to have 2400g of 70-85% cocoa in a month. It’s my morning coffee. I may supplement with hot chocolate, truffles or cake.

13 Rebecca S May 18, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Does. Not. Compute. RT @DaniGirl: How much coffee is too much coffee? Is there really such a thing?

14 Nat May 18, 2010 at 3:55 pm

We drink a lot of coffee — we’ll do a full pot (12 cups) on the weekdays — two on the weekend, although being home, I found that the amount is a bit less now that I’m home.

I had to cut out the afternoon one, or I can’t sleep.

15 angela May 18, 2010 at 4:22 pm


my habit is ridiculous… lovely;)
i love my coffee, every cup of it.

i gave it up for my pregnanies, but happily returned to my java afterwards.
i was a relative latecomer to the coffee scene…first work coffee at 24, first timmie’s at 29 ( when i moved to ontario…who knew it was a religion )…but have embraced it with gusto…hot coffee, iced coffee..really, it doesn’t matter;). it is just good. and necessary at this poin of my life.

i started off as a tea drinker ( brits abound in my family ) and still enjoy a lovely cuppa in the evening or when i am unwell…but when it comes down to the day to day? it is coffee all the way…

16 Anonymous May 18, 2010 at 6:14 pm

The absolutely wonderful smell of coffee in the morning…..better than po*n. at least you are not adddicted to cigarettes!

17 Janet May 18, 2010 at 7:14 pm

The ONLY thing that gets me out the door in the morning is the promise of Starbucks coffee on my way to work. Gotta have it. Usually twice a day (but I switch to decaf in the afternoon). Mmmm….Starbucks.

18 Rebecca May 19, 2010 at 8:05 am

For me it’s not coffee, it’s diet pepsi. I am terribly addicted, and do that whole justification thing when it comes up in conversation. I try to drink 2 huge bottles of water a day (reusable bottles, full of ice) to help offset the amount of pop (soda?) I drink, but I still drink a ton. It’s very much not good for me but I can’t bring myself to care enough (at least it’s not heroin!) to stop. Or cut down enough.

19 Rebecca May 19, 2010 at 8:58 am

I am trying to keep it under 3 mugs -with nursing etc. I figure it’s best anyway!

I also try to balance between pop (a real vice) and coffee. So if I have a lot of coffee, I drink only water and skip the pop later in the day etc.

Some days it appears I drink 6 mugs of coffee – but really, I might finish 1 or 2. There’s a lot of re-heating and starting/not-finishing that happens for some reason; )

20 Valerie May 19, 2010 at 10:31 am

I usually stick to one cup a day, and that one half-caf maybe half the time. When I dropped it (mostly) during pg’cy, I found it SO hard to give up my one cup that it worried me being so addictive. So when I started again, I tried to stick to half-caf. If you want to try getting back to Health Canada suggestions, maybe make that second or third cup 1/2 caf (or 3/4 caf first). Don’t make it totally decaf or you’ll really notice, but gradually cut it back.

Caffeine is good for you in moderation (like so many things), so I wouldn’t try to cut it totally. Maybe just a bit so you don’t have that nagging feeling… πŸ˜‰

21 coffee with julie May 19, 2010 at 11:11 am

Yes, we are addicted to coffee in our home. My husband and I freely admit to it. Neither of us grew up in homes with coffee, so I have no idea how we managed to latch on so firmly to this drug of choice. I guess university days must have done us in? Who knows. I do know that it is an emergency if at night we realize there is no coffee in the house for the first pot of the morning though! (captcha = of bingeing !)

22 Mary @ Parenthood May 20, 2010 at 11:52 am

Ugh – not a coffee drinker. I used to love the smell and the ritual of grinding coffee for my dad. But then my dad’s small business moved into our home for eight months and the coffee machine was going all the time. Wet coffee filters went under the sink to mould. My job was emptying the garbage because the “office” area was next to my bedroom. The smell of coffee going bad 24/7 has put me off permanently. I still like mocha ice-cream on occasion but that’s about as close as I can get.


23 mapsgirl May 20, 2010 at 10:54 pm

You know how there was talk about a growth chart for babies who were breastfed and another for formula fed? Maybe health Canada needs to come up with a “suggested caffeine intake” chart for moms and the number needs to be calculated based on number of children, ages of those children and number of times those children wake up in the middle of the night.

Based on that chart, I’m in the 95% for coffee intake. LOL!

Cuz, seriously? 3 8oz cups of coffee a day definitely won’t cut it. I get my XL Timmies on the drive to work and I fill that cup at least twice a day. Ya, it’s bad.

24 J. May 21, 2010 at 7:13 am

I’m a guilty java junkie as well. I must have my cup of coffee (or three) in the morning. I’ve considered a few times cutting back or quiting, but I can’t seem to do it. Meh, it’s a guilty pleasure. πŸ™‚

25 Kris May 31, 2010 at 9:24 pm

My caffeine intake has gone up and down over the years. I switched to decaf about 3 months ago, and then tried to quit entirely. I found that now I’m addicted to the sugar in the coffee, and when I quit and have tea (caffeine free with no sugar) I get VERY depressed! I would wake up and think, “I can’t have coffee? Why get up?” So that didn’t last long. πŸ™‚

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