I love a good espresso but I can proudly say I am a slave to coffee no more, thanks to a bad coffee machine at a holiday house and my discovery of celery.

Yes, this is not the typical article you’d expect to read from someone running a coffee business but everything about Baristador has been based on enjoying the flavour of coffee and not the “kick”.

That’s not to say I’ve used coffee for a pick me up for most of my life but it does mean that was always a fall back position, a last resort. It was never part of our “spirit of espresso”.

How did I start drinking 8 espressos a day?

If you’ve been part of the Baristador family for a while, you’d know that this business was founded when a health professional advised me to quit or severely cut down on caffeine consumption.

I nodded in that session but inside I thought, there is no way I’ll ever drink decaf.

To cut a long story short, I applied my double roast obsession to Swiss Water Method decaffeinated beans. It took a while, but when I found the beans we use today, I knew instantly that I’d found a way to make decaf palatable.

The next step was incorporating these decaf beans into my main double roast blend, thus creating coffee of various caffeine strengths: some with only 70% the caffeine of standard espresso, some with 30%, and some left as pure decaf.

But over the past two years, after discovering intermittent fasting, I leaned heavily on the insight that pure espresso, without milk or sugar, did not trigger any insulin response from the body. This meant that when my stomach growled, I could slip in an espresso and feel satiated for an extra hour, thus enabling me to hold off breaking my fast until 1pm or 2pm or sometimes 3pm.

As a result, my usual 3-4 espressos a day climbed to 8-10 and I did start wondering whether sometimes I was making a coffee out of habit instead of need. I was.

ANZAC weekend 2023

In the days leading up to a family holiday over an extended ANZAC Day weekend this year, I’d heard a discussion about diet on the Blind Insights With David Olney podcast and one of the speakers said they started their day with a stick of celery.

I’d been starting my day with a shot of espresso but was curious.

As fate would have it, when we arrived at our accommodation on the Friday afternoon, I headed straight to the coffee pod machine and made an espresso.

It was vile.

It was actually worse than instant coffee. Worse!!!

I went to the shops to try to find some different pods using the Vittoria system, got some, and they were equally horrid. Even though I am not a pod coffee person, I do find the Starbucks pods in the Nespresso system “okay” for emergencies.

It was then that I made THE decision.

I went to the shops to buy a Nespresso machine as a gift for the holiday home host but as I reflected on how extreme that measure was, I spied a pack of pre-cut celery sticks.

Freedom from being a slave to coffee

The next morning, at 6.30 when I woke up to do my morning meditation, instead of settling myself with an espresso, I munched on a stick of celery.

It was different, crunchy, and it was amusingly satisfying.

Then it got weird.

I didn’t feel like a coffee.

I’m sure it was a curious mix of my repulsion related to that coffee machine coupled with whatever biochemistry that celery unlocked.

Since that day, I have had one day in which I drank 3 espressos, about three days in which I’ve consumed 2 espressos, and on all other days other than two, I have consumed only 1 espresso.

What happened on those other two days? I had zero espressos.

What have been the consequences of drastically quitting espresso overload?

There are three things I’ve noticed, since this change that took place about six weeks ago.

Firstly, there were no side effects at all. I hear people talk of headaches, etc, but I had zip.

Secondly, a few weeks in, I commented to my colleagues that I feel much calmer. They noted that there’d be a lot less cortisol and adrenaline coursing through my system.

And, thirdly, when visiting North Adelaide yesterday for my Covid booster and flu shot, I was across the road from Cibo cafe and unlike any other time I passed a Cibo, I not only didn’t go in; I had no urge or desire to go in.

I am a slave to coffee no more.

I’m sharing this with you because there are many things in our lives, many actions, that we do out of habit. Sometimes that can be good, but it can also be sub-optimal. My hope is that I can continue expanding the reach of my mindfulness so that my consumption of alcohol and foods becomes more and more a conscious activity.

For you, I hope it gives you pause for thought so that when you do sip your Baristador, you can do so slowly as you savour it as the fine beverage it is.