Coffee addiction in the working world

I never liked coffee as a kid. I was first introduced to coffee via my father who used to make an instant coffee mixed with cold water. Either he was to lazy to warm up the water or he just didn’t care what he was drinking as long as it had caffeine in it. His coffee was dark, bitter and cold. Yuck.

Eventually, I was old enough to go to high school. This time period usually marks a new phase of your life, during which one transforms from a child into a sophisticated adult who drinks coffee, discuss politics and smokes a pack per day. Little do the high schoolers know that drinking coffee is not what makes one an adult.

The coffee addiction slowly grew over time. During my college years, I often spent an entire day in the classroom, sleepy and bored out of my mind listening to an old guy mumbling something about the integrals. The only coffee that you could get nearby was the one from the coffee machine on the 3rd floor which produced a dark liquid that tasted like poop 1. Still, we drank that broth out of sheer necessity.

That awful coffee drinking went on for a while until I was gifted a thermos cup and a brilliant idea popped into my mind. I could make my own coffee in the morning and drink it still hot and steamy during the boring lectures throughout the day. I had to get up half an hour earlier, a big trouble for the sleep deprived students, but doing it for the tasty coffee was worth it every time.

One morning while I was leaving the house with a warm thermos in my backpack, I sensed that something was wrong. For the first time during my morning routine I felt something warm going down my right leg. Turning around revealed a dark river flowing from my backpack spilling everywhere. Now I know why we played the “floor is lava” game when we were kids. It prepared me well into the adulthood for the floor is coffee situation and I jumped away from the massive puddle that was slowly spreading with no end in sight. I didn’t know that coffee could cause such a destruction. That was a sad day.

Eventually, I made it up into the work force of nine to fivers which was quite an experience. It was as if an entirely different world has opened, the world that you were never even aware of. Everyone was so damn older and they were discussing things that I had no opinion on; like best places to take your family to during the weekend.

At some point during the introductory meeting I was also introduced to the shiny Mr. CoffeeMaker, free to use for anyone in need for a dose. It turned out that a large percentage of the working world is completely addicted to coffee to the point where they can’t function without it. These old people were gobbling cup after cup every single day, while inviting everybody in the office to join them for a brief cup. I like coffee, so I often joined them. Occasionally, I saw some graybeards who were for some reason always huddling around the tea kettle; apparently they only drank tee. I found their behavior odd, but I never interrogated them why are they avoiding the liquid of the gods.

Over the years, with more coffee cups per day, your body starts to change. Suddenly, a cup in the morning no longer triggers your digestive system and despite drinking it, you still feel a little bit drowsy. Your heart says “STOP,” but the body screams “MORE COFFEEEEEEE!!!” Having a coffee machine located on the same floor also makes brewing another cup very tempting. Maybe today is just one of those slow and boring days, is what you are thinking while pouring up a new cup.

After a while, every day becomes one of those slow and boring days and the productivity is at an all time low. Maybe I got tired of this job? Maybe I got older and grumpier? Maybe I just got up on the wrong side of the bed and another cup might cheer me up?

It almost never does, and the gift of another cup usually lasts only for a few hours. This revelation finally came down to me once the world moved towards the work from home mode. The brief coffee debates in the middle of the day have ceased to exist, which limited my coffee consumption to only one cup in the morning. With less coffee in my belly I gradually stopped feeling tired towards the end of the day.

With the remote work in place, my awfully long morning commute also went away which led to more free time. With all this extra free time, people started rediscovering their old and abandoned hobbies. I’ve spent that extra time wisely and slept for an hour more. I’ve always thought that I hated mornings due to me being a proud member of the “night owls”, but in reality I was sleep deprived and was expecting to not feel tired. Oh, well… You live and you learn.

At that point it occurred to me that the coffee might be the source and the solution of all these tiredness problems, thus I stopped drinking it for a week. On the first day of abstinence I got a massive headache 2, but after a few days I was free of this dark spell. The morning cups were no longer necessary for me to function like a normal human being and I stopped becoming tired towards the middle of the day.

As for the graybeards only drinking tea; they learned their lesson and so will you.

Notes


  1. Why are these public space fancy looking coffee machines producing such an awful coffee anyway? The machines have all the capabilities and some of them even grind the beans just before the water is poured over, but I have yet to find the one that produces good coffee. I am sure people would use them more often if the coffee wouldn’t taste so bad. ↩︎

  2. Well known problem due to caffeine deficiency. Thankfully it doesn’t last long. I still drink coffee on weekends and somehow that’s infrequent enough for me to not be addicted or feeling any consequences. ↩︎