White Coat Underground

I miss you!

When you walk into a good coffee shop, you can smell it. It’s a smell nothing like the smell of the old, sour coffee sitting in a carafe at the office. It’s the smell of dark, dark beans, cracked open, releasing complex odors of fruit and of heat. And as much as I enjoy sitting in a coffee shop reading and writing, I don’t get much time for that these days. But I can bring it home.

I love opening a new bag of beans. They have that shine to them, a shine that is lost very quickly. And when you pour those fresh beans with their volatile sheen into the grinder, they jostle and release just a bit of their aroma. That intensifies the moment the grinder blades cuts into the beans. Sometimes I use a drip coffee maker, sometimes a press, and rarely an old copper Turkish coffee pot. I think the press is my favorite. I warm it up first, and then dry it and pour in the course grounds. I pour the hot water over them, give it a stir, put on the press, and set a timer for three-and-a-half minutes. The smell in the kitchen isn’t as intense as when using a drip pot, but when you press the coffee and pour it, there is a small crema in the cup, and the coffee has real texture.

I usually wait a few minutes for it to cool comfortably, then sip it, taking in the smell, taste, feel. I love to read and I love to write with a cup next to me. I rarely finish a cup, because it gets cold, so I pour a bit out and freshen it up. And I feel, in the most subtle of ways, the little boost as the caffeine hits.

The weekend is a great time for me to enjoy coffee. I love to sit around and sip it doing something completely relaxing. But when one of my 14 hour days is dragging on, I want to have a cup to get that extra little something. And I love to sip it when I’m bored.

Now that my coffee is nearly devoid of caffeine, I’m developing a new relationship to it. I took a small amount of regular this morning, as medicine really to ward off the withdrawal symptoms that have been pestering me. That sip, and a half a cup of half-caf today was it. I’d love a cup now, but I’m not sure; the caffeine in it apparently meant more to me than I thought.

But I’ll be content with good decaf. There’s plenty of good decaf beans out there, and once the worst of the withdrawal is done, I’ll be happy.

It’s a good thing I’m not an addict or something. I can’t even imagine what that must be like.

Comments

  1. #1 Jason G. Goldman
    June 24, 2010

    Well, if nothing else your withdrawal makes you quite the poet.

  2. #2 D. C. Sessions
    June 24, 2010

    It’s a good thing I’m not an addict or something.

    Keep telling yourself that ;-)

    Or, ask around among the people who fast for Yom Kippur. Food is nothing, but caffeine withdrawal on top of dehydration …

    I hear that patches have made a huge difference in recent years.

  3. #3 Cuttlefish, OM
    June 24, 2010

    Very nice, indeed…

    Hey, though, since you aren’t an addict or anything, you’ll be happy to know that there are now machines that can take over the task of smelling those pesky, wonderful espresso beans for you:
    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2008/02/singularity-cant-come-soon-enough.html

  4. #4 ewe-man
    June 24, 2010

    I quit all but decaf. I’m still tapering down caffeine (via split caffeine supplements, as my consumption was best measured in ‘grams’ before I decided to eliminate it, so I decided a careful downward titration was best, especially since I also take Adderall XR–legally prescribed and, indeed, it was the period of time when I chose to treat my ADHD in a ‘less addictive’ manner, going unmedicated/poorly medicated* that got me to the heavily-dependent state in the first place).

    I miss it muchly. Decaf is…okay, and I do note the psychological effect of ‘had my coffee’ on the few days a week I drink it. But I know now how addicted I am to caffeine. (Currently, my caffeine consumption is ~50-60 mg/day….enough to keep full withdrawal at bay, but certainly less than 1.7-2g/day it peaked at. I’m waiting for a slow week at work to take the next step down.)

    *my old p-doc was the one who recommended the switch from Adderall XR to a long-acting methylphenidate compound…because she just didn’t like having patients on the ‘more addictive’ amphetamines. Ironically, now that I’m back on it, I never crave Adderall, even when I’m in physiologic withdrawal/drug ‘holidays’, except insofar as it helps me stay on-task during the day, and I am tired and hungry if I abruptly stop taking it. Caffeine? That is an entirely different matter. I am dependent in all ways and genuinely crave the stuff. But I guess that outcome seemed ‘preferable’ to my doctor. Because it’s just coffee/tea/energy drinks/whatever, and who isn’t dependent on those?

  5. Don’t know why, but your headline remind me of “Missing” song by an indie group called Everything But The Girl. I’m a coffee lover too by the way.

  6. #6 Donna B.
    June 24, 2010

    If doctoring fails to keep your interest, I think you have a future writing coffee romances.

  7. #7 k8
    June 25, 2010

    Not an addict? This is how I used to think about vodka! The romance of the process and what I did while I drank it.

    I’m so thankful there is a substitute for you in decaf. Once the craving is gone, it’s really the habits and routine that are the toughest to break. And you don’t need to do that. So enjoy, my friend!

  8. #8 DrugMonkey
    June 25, 2010

    It’s a good thing I’m not an addict or something. I can’t even imagine what that must be like.

    heheh. troll.

  9. #9 rob
    June 25, 2010

    is there a CA* meeting somewhere near you? :)

    *caffeine anonymous

  10. “It’s a good thing I’m not an addict….” Yeah, me neither!

    Slightly OT, but UPS does not deliver here in Geographic Isolation on Saturdays. I will have to wait until Monday to try the fancy-sounding Swiss Water Process decaf beans that I’m going to blend with the high-test. (I’m going to start with 50/50, and see how that goes for awhile…) I will be forced to drink my regular coffee in the interim. It’s not my fault the decaf beans aren’t here… UPS is the enabler!

  11. #11 Jim Thomerson
    June 27, 2010

    Unfortunately I have drunk coffee in Colombia. Also in Venezuela, which is almost as good. I have given up on finding comparable coffee in the USA, grinding beans, etc, and just drink a pot of Folgers for breakfast. I occasionally do not get my morning coffee, and it does not bother me. A friend is an addict. He has to have a cup of coffee at bedtime, or he will wake up in the middle of the night with a splitting headache.

    If you go to Peru, be prepared for Nescafe instant.

  12. #12 bsci
    June 28, 2010

    I really just don’t get this. Quitting coffee is easy. My mother quit caffeinated coffee at least 15 times while I was growing up. (apologies to Mark Twain)

    Semi-seriously seeing my mother’s extreme addiction to coffee/caffeine made me have no interest in actually drinking it. There’s a nice cup of tea next to me right now, but that will pretty much be my caffeine for the day.

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