Lessons from my first month of drinking coffee

Do you drink coffee? Do you love coffee? Do you drink too much coffee? Do you spend too much on coffee? Do you just want more coffee? Do you want to marry coffee?

After happily surviving five years of university, five years of hosting overnight sports talk back radio, nine years of parenting and ten years of being married to a coffee lover I figured coffee was never going to be for me. I was a tea guy, or a rum drinker. However, for some completely unknown reason that all changed recently.

“Almond milk mocha, extra hot please”, I politely asked the friendly girl behind the counter. “Yeah, I drink coffee now”, I proudly boasted with a cheeky smile, turning to my younger sister.

“That’s not a coffee!” She quickly explained, shutting down my excitement. Then she started laughing at me.

Fair enough too.

I wonder if coffee helps with writing? What a revelation?! (Credit: Pixabay on Pexels.com)

I am 41-years-old and I have just started drinking coffee. Not much coffee, never more than one shot and always accompanied by some sugary, chocolate flavoured goodness and loads of milk. Generally only one or two per week and predominantly when I am with someone else.

It has been a fascinating journey full of personal lessons, experimentation and epic failures.

Coffee is expensive

Like most Dads over 40, these days when I spend money on myself it tends to be in larger chunks. Like a fancy date night with the wife, the latest Call of Duty, a fishing charter with mates or a quick trip over to Vegas. I do not smoke, I rarely use the car and probably only frequent a petrol station once a month, I do not drink routinely, I take my lunch to work and I am not into comics or fast food (oh shit, am I boring?!) Therefore, there is not a lot of regular ongoing expenses in my regular ongoing life. And I am not keen to introduce one now. Certainly considering Mrs DD has done an amazing job of being organised and now making most of her coffee from home. Plus buying coffee is hardly an insightful return on investment.

…there is not a lot of regular ongoing expenses in my regular ongoing life. And I am not keen to introduce one now…

We have all heard the rhetoric around the compounding costs of caffeine habits. If you stopped buying your two coffees per weekday for 48 weeks of the year at $5.50 per serve you could save $2,640 annually… and be completely deprived and miserable! Who is spending $11 per day on coffee anyways?! Nevertheless, for me it is more about the value than the cost. It is a pleasurable experience especially if you mix in some quality company, a lovely comfortable setting, an unmistakable aroma, and that overall set of sensations which makes you feel like George Clooney. When I buy a coffee, this is what I am paying for, this is what I value. I want the positive experience not just the dirty liquid.

Coffee varies a lot

I have been a coffee drinker (my label not my sister’s) for only one month, and I have probably ordered and paid for less than ten coffees during that time. Already it is clear that there is a vast spectrum of quality available in the marketplace. My goodness, I am shocked at how “good” some of my experiences have been and how shockingly, spit-up awful some others have been. Seriously, you are giving that to humans? And charging them for it? And your entire business model revolves around this disgusting commodity offering, surely not?! It has directly occurred to me as a consumer just how powerful product quality, reliability and consistency are as business concepts. Think McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Qantas and Nike. I have already formed a list in my head of places I am happy to pay for my coffee and several joints I will never visit again. I get it people, I finally understand.

Humanity runs on coffee. (Credit: Burst on Pexels.com)

Coffee can be horrible

This morning I went to the gym (humble brag, hold your applause). I do not usually exercise in the mornings. Like ever. “I’ve just never been a morning person!” So not being used to the timing of the earlier commute and workout and how it relates to my start time at work, I was well early. Turns out I had around 20 minutes up my sleeve and cleverly there is a cafe right inside my gym. I’ll treat myself I thought, I had some emails to send from my phone so I caved and placed my order. I can profess, without exaggeration I nearly spat out my first sip. Whoa. It was horrible, I had no idea something people pay for could be so un-pleasurable. That coffee sparked me to write this post, I have learned a lot about coffee I thought to myself. One lesson I learned was never to order my coffee at the gym ever again. Did I mention that I went to the gym?

I can profess, without exaggeration I nearly spat out my first sip. Whoa. It was horrible, I had no idea something people pay for could be so un-pleasurable…

Coffee is enjoyable

I have no idea how I got here. For the first 40 years of my life I hated the taste of coffee, the flavour on the whole. I have always disliked coffee scrolls, iced coffee and even tiramisu. These days I am loving them all, it was like a switch was flicked, it was that sudden. I am baffled by this, astounded in fact. I love the aroma, the first sip and even the pompous froth on top. Get in my mouth.

Coffee is powerful

Going for a coffee has provided me with another unforeseen effect, that of feeling like a grown up, an adult with free will. In this crazy world of parenting and taxes and toll roads and conference calls and incessant obligatory kids birthday parties it is nice to have… choice. In this privileged, developed world we live within such a large percentage of what we do and how we spend our time feels mandatory. I love choosing to have a coffee for the same reason I love deciding to consume beer or play video games, because I fucking want to.

Me, being a try-hard yuppie coffee hipster in South Melbourne. (Credit: Downunder Dad via Instagram)

Coffee is unhealthy

My insides do not seem to enjoy coffee as much as my awaiting nose and taste buds. Consuming coffee has changed my toilet visitation schedule (!) and my general overall internal feelings throughout the course of the day when I drink it. This has been educational to monitor because I am coming from a baseline of zero and still not having coffee most days. The other observation I have made about my own consumption is that coffee suppresses my appetite, considerably. Maybe it is the missing ingredient, the secret potion for shifting that stubborn ten kilos from around my waist?

Coffee is effective

There have been two instances in particular when coffee has changed me immediately. Once when my wife and I were out together chatting about our financial plans for the short term future. In the space of five minutes I turned into a ranting ideas-machine, full of fast-talking enthusiasm and annoyingly long sentences. I could hear myself, but I could not stop myself. It was hilarious, and something we both picked up on right away. The second instance was overcoming a mild hangover, I think I am onto something here.

Coffee’s BEAN missing from the DD lifestyle, until now. (Credit: Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com)

Coffee is addictive

This has been undeniable. Following those days when I do consume coffee my body wants more coffee. I consciously resist the temptation, even the thought. Mainly because I am such a tight-ass. Plus I figure there are so many of my friends and family trying to reduce their coffee intake and expense, why would I come along twenty years later and partake? The science is evident, it is happening. When I have coffee, I want more coffee.

…right now I feel as though I am teetering on a precarious infliction point of my middle-aged life…

In summary, right now I feel as though I am teetering on a precarious infliction point of my middle-aged life. On one side is what I have always known, the safety and familiarity of no coffee habit or reliance. A world filled with glasses of water and cups of tea. But something is pulling me from the other side, a shift in mindset that I cannot seem to ignore. A place where I grow unintentionally compelled to spend over five dollars at a time for only 28-cents worth of ingredients. Am I being drawn in by the sheer gravitational force of the masses after all this time?

I do not know what will happen from here.

The physiology-type experiment of introducing the substance to my system has been fascinating to observe. And right now I feel conflicted and open to suggestions or advice, just not from Mrs DD who (as it turns out) is a coffee enabler of the worst possible kind imaginable!

To finish I tried to source a clever coffee quote from a famous person that you might have heard of to add validity to my writing, however I failed. Every coffee quote I read was lame, but that might be because I am still grumpy after my rotten coffee experience at the gym this morning.


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