Update on 9/9/2022: Yea… nevermind. I still suffer from chronic insomnia. I trashed the tea, switched to instant decaf coffee. I save the occasional use of regular coffee when I really need a pick-me-up to get going in the morning. Most of the time, the placebo affect I get with decaf works out well. Plus, with being instant (err, “freeze-dried”), I don’t need to wait to heat up the coffee. Just add water, and go. I tried rooibos and dandelion teas; while in the past they may have satisfied that coffee-like taste, I no longer think they taste similar. Decaffeinated green tea just tastes too watered down, even with four bags in my work cup. Even when I was a barista, I never mocked decaf, because I understood its place in society; as someone who suffers from GAD and bipolar disorder, it works great for us who still want to chat during coffee breaks and social hour, when we go on dates to the coffee shop, and just need something without calories to sip on throughout the day.
Update sometime between 10/2022-11/2022: Again, never mind. Switched to instant regular coffee. No need to make super hot stuff, only to add ice to cool it down, but also weaken it.
I’ve been drinking coffee since I was 15. Even after my gallbladder was removed in 2014, I was able to continue drinking coffee. Coffee was there when I went through two dark times of my life, where I suicidal, from 2008-2012, and from about 2015-2017; something about its aroma kept me from taking my life. Coffee was there when I went through my sex change; each successful step in my transition was celebrated with a good quality bean from my local roaster. Coffee helped me bond with my dad when I started drinking it at the age of 15. Most of the few times I went on first dates with someone, it was to either Starbucks or Panera over a cup of coffee.
But just like a lot over this past year, things have changed. As someone who suffers from GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), I really should not be drinking coffee. It worsens my symptoms, which is mainly catastrophizing, adrenaline staying in my system for far longer than other people after stressors have stopped, persistent inflammation … and chronic insomnia.
I’ve tried cutting back—one 25 ounce pot split between to two small cups in the early morning before heading to work, and one work mug within the first couple of hours of starting my shift. Then I tried to cut it off after 9 or 10 am. Tried diluting my coffee. The insomnia, in this case just trying to fall asleep, persisted.
Another worsening issue is the increased heartburn/GERD it’s been causing, or at least worsening, lately. Yes, other foods have been causing it, even without coffee .. I’m chalking that up to still being overweight, and will lessen as the weight comes off.
While I worked for DFTBA back in Missoula, my coworkers more often drank tea than coffee Unlike most of them, who preferred loose-leaf over bagged tea, I keep things simple. A cheap $15 electric kettle I found at my local Target (because stupid me threw out my drip machine, not thinking I could’ve saved it to heat up water for tea), and a variety of herbal and decaf teas. Stuff I’ve had back in the day, or herbal teas that had flavors I knew I liked. With the exception of senna and dandelion teas to help treat occasional constipation, I’m not drinking anything in particular because of some alleged health benefits. I’m drinking herbal and decaf teas more like “flavored” water to prevent me from constantly snacking, thus trying to help me lose weight.
Previously there were plenty of times I’d drink tea if the heartburn/GERD was bad, if drinking too much espresso was making me jittery, or if it was real late in the day and I didn’t want to worsen my insomnia. When I used to work for Starbucks, we ended up making more iced tea refills because I would constantly be drinking the “passion” (read: hibiscus blend) and green teas undiluted without ice or syrup, in large cups. (Okay, once in a while if I wanted something sweet, I’d mix it with some stevia.) So, drinking tea is no foreign concept to me.
As I learned from downgrading from coffee snob down to regular joe (pun intended), I have no desire to become a snob. This includes going out of my way to “purify” my experience with getting a brewer, buying “premium” loose leaf teas from “dedicated” tea dealers, keeping an eye on the kettle to make sure it doesn’t overheat the water, sneering at “blended” teas, debating whether milk should be added before or after (neither, imo, should be taken plain!) or if it’s okay to reboil water, what the “correct” way to make tea involves, or any of that shizz. Bagged tea is convenient—it allows me to keep a few bags of different types in my travel bag, make my tea quickly in the morning before and at work, and make it on the go in my travel mug. Bagged teas are also cheaper, which is a priority for us on a budget. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dabbled with loose-leaf tea back in the day, but just like with manual pourover coffee, to me it’s just too messy, time-consuming, inconvenient. I brew most of my teas for 5+ minutes for a hearty flavor, so if I’m missing out … I can’t taste the difference, or I just don’t care enough to want to deal with the mess and process brought on with using loose leaf teas.
Loose leaf and bagged teas both have their place; some people are really passionate about their tea, some people really do believe in the supposed health merits. As mentioned before, I’m drinking it as flavored water to help me lose weight, improve my insomnia symptoms, and lessen other symptoms of my anxiety disorder. It may not be waking me up in the morning, given they’re herbal or decaf teas, but the warm beverage itself puts me into a better state of mind at least, to help me start my day.
I got nothing against coffee now that I drink tea. It’s just that, I’m getting older, and I need to make adjustments to what I consume, and switching out coffee for tea is far cheaper than buying antacids or other OTC meds to treat my digestive issues while continuing to drink coffee.
As for iced teas? Nah, I’ll pass … iced drinks give me the same health issues. 🫖🍵🧉