Discovering my coffee personality (and breaking up with caffeine)

Discovering my coffee personality (and breaking up with caffeine)

Back in January, I gave up coffee for a month during my Whole 30. When my Whole 30 was over, I added caffeine back in, and found out pretty quickly that one cup was my limit.

But since that happy day coffee and I reunited in February, I’ve felt increasingly less well on my one cup. (It gives me headaches and makes me jumpy. This post set off all kinds of bells in my head. Go read it.) I switched to half-caff pretty quickly, and a few weeks ago I switched to 100% decaf. It was a sad day for this devoted coffee snob.

But I feel great.

drink coffee

When I ditched the caffeine a few weeks ago, I viewed it as an experiment, not as a permanent thing.

But last week I was talking to a friend and she happened to say–she didn’t know caffeine and I were on hiatus–“I quit caffeine three years ago, and you couldn’t pay me to go back.”

I realized my experiment was over: I already had my results.

Last week, Jen created a Myers-Briggs-inspired sleep personality inventory. (If you’ve never visited her blog, check out her 21 tips for survival mode while you’re there.) A quick review of my coffee personality made it clear it was time for caffeine and me to break up.

Don’t know your coffee personality? This quiz is for you:

Loves the taste of coffee (L) – (H) Hates the taste of coffee

Loves to sample new varieties  (S) – (C) Committed to one brand

Needs coffee to function (N)(D) Doesn’t need coffee to function

Gets pepped up from the caffeine (E)(F) Falls apart from the caffeine

I am a LSDF, which means I should keep drinking my coffee…decaf. The sad thing about decaf for an LS is there are far fewer options. But as a DF, it’s clear I have no business drinking the leaded stuff anymore.

I’m not committed to being a purist. My husband’s a (fellow) coffee geek, and we love to coffee shop (the verb) together. I’m counting on tasting his drinks, or maybe sipping (tiny) sample cups somewhere.

I may have to reevaluate that decision in the future, but golly, I hope not.

What’s your coffee personality? 

P.S. I wrote a book about personality! In Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, I walk you through 7 different frameworks, explaining the basics in a way you can actually understand, sharing personal stories about how what I learned made a difference in my life, and showing you how it could make a difference in yours, as well.

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  1. Amy says:

    It’s so interesting to read this, because I’ve noticed the same thing about myself. I was drinking 2-3 cups a day with no problems (I thought). I cut it to one cup only and now I feel like it affects me more. I love having that morning cup with my husband. sigh! I might have to try half decaf. 🙂

  2. 'Becca says:

    LSNE, although I can function on tea rather than coffee. Caffeine is a crucial medication for me in the prodrome stage of a migraine. (I realize caffeine triggers migraines for some people; it doesn’t for me, and I don’t have withdrawal headaches when I reduce caffeine consumption, and all doctors have told me I’m using it appropriately.) On ordinary days, as a data manager I need to be very sharp-minded and attentive, and caffeine helps with that, although it is possible to have too much and become distractible. I’m also prone to low blood pressure, and caffeine helps with that–though not as much as salt does.

    I am learning, though, that when I feel unusually anxious, it is better to drink a caffeine-free hot drink than coffee, even if I think I really want coffee. I also managed to go almost caffeine-free from about 3 weeks to 16 weeks pregnant; because coffee smelled horrible to me at that time, I quit drinking it (had green tea about twice a week) and functioned instead on the strange energy that was available to me some of the day.

    Decaf has no role in my life. Not only am I afraid of some of the solvents commonly used in decaffeination, but I find that decaf has a sort of anti-placebo effect, like the taste makes my body expect caffeine and then when there is not enough caffeine (decaf does have some) my circulation and brain activity go wrong. It’s similar to the effect of artificial sweeteners on me, but not as severe. So if I’m not having caffeine but want a hot drink, I have something that naturally has no caffeine in it, like “red tea” or peppermint tea.

  3. Hi! This is my first time reading your blog (I actually read your post about 5 reasons to know your personality type first), but then got linked to this post. Maybe I’m missing something, but was there a “key” to that coffee personality quiz anywhere? I’m a LSDE, but I don’t know where to find what that really means. Thanks!!

    • Anne says:

      Brittany, welcome! I’m glad you stumbled your way here. 🙂

      As for that quiz, I just made it up. But as an LSDF, I’m very jealous of your type! I’d love to have my lapsed caffeine tolerance back so I can sample more great coffee. 🙂

  4. Liza says:

    I came across this post via a link from a different post. I’m weird: I love the smell of coffee but hate the taste. My husband is a coffee drinker and I buy coffee for him based on smell. If I like the smell, he likes the taste. It works well. I finally realized that I like sweet drinks. If it’s not sweet, I don’t like it.

    A decaf tip: you can make decaf from regular coffee beans. Just brew it twice. Brew the regular coffee and let your husband drink it. Then using the same grounds, brew it again. The caffeine in the beans is leached out in the first brew. The second brew gives you the same flavor but is decaf. (You’re welcome.)

  5. Linda says:

    Have you tried Mount Hagen Fair Trade Decaf Instant coffee Anne? Myself and several of my friends all love it. It lasts a long time and you can adjust the strength so easily since it is instant. You can get it thru VitaCost or Swansons where you get vitamins. As for caffeine; I struggle terribly with it. When I am on it, I think quicker but also tend to say things too quick without thinking – but it also makes me more perky whereas I feel dull and gloomy when I am off of it. I also feel like my brain isn’t working and I can’t think of simple words (scares me) I do get horrible headaches after only 1 day of not having caffeine but if I go off it for several weeks, then I can start thinking clear again but it takes a few weeks for that to happen. We are definitely all wired differently as we handle caffeine in different ways. I have a friend that is 75 but looks 60 & doesn’t have a single grey hair; she has never touched caffeine of any form (allergic to it) meaning no chocolate either. Makes me wonder if caffeine makes us age faster!!! My grandma also stayed away from caffeine & she looked 70 when she died at 91; she had beautiful white hair & hardly any wrinkles. It would be interesting to hear what others have noticed on aging with non-caffeine drinkers.

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