What’s the Best Way to Get Caffeine?

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s been a long week. It’s been the kind of long week that leaves me wondering about the fastest and most efficient ways to pump caffeine into my system. It’s been the kind of long week that makes me wonder if maybe I could shotgun some Coca-Cola for breakfast.

Caffeine, ah nectar of the gods. Caffeine evolved in plants as an anti-herbivore defense; the chemical was present to ward off insects that might eat the leaves. Apparently, caffeine can paralyze and kill insects just chowing down on things like the leaves of a tea plant.

But humans? We love it, we crave it, we develop mild addictions which result in headaches when we get a break from the stuff. I’ll be honest though: I was resistant to caffeine’s charms for many years, preferring to plow through on sheer willpower alone. This was not an acceptable solution once I got to college (mild caffeine required) and graduate school (mega caffeine required).

The unfortunate part of caffeine is that it tastes  bitter.  You know, it makes things really a kind of acquired taste. Like, coffee always smells amazing, but the first time I had a cup, I was wildly disappointed that the rich aroma did not translate to the flavor of the liquid. Sometimes, finding an appropriate vessel for your caffeine can be hard.

This task is complicated by the fact that there can be some sensitivity to the effects of caffeine ““ the first time I had an espresso, my hand shook and I got cold sweats. It was an adventure! My tolerance has built up since then, but experiences like that keep me from getting too friendly with bottles of Red Bull ““ it might give you wings, but it gives me heart palpitations.

Fortunately, there’s lots of caffeine I like. I like soda (shock! Horror!).  No, actually, that aside might be accurate. Soda is obviously not the healthiest thing in the world, but combine carbonation with caffeine and you’ve got a winner in my book.

Then there’s the ever-trusted coffee. Mocha java? F-in’ delicious. This odd yet pleasing Peruvian Blend (that’s the name, folks, at the coffee shop I frequent )? I love it. I’m not strong enough to drink it black, so I get some soy milk and sometimes a little sugar to lighten it up just a smidge.

And lately I’ve been diving head first into the world of teas. Yerba mate (a type of holly plant, not technically a tea plant) has enough caffeine to power an average me for about 6 hours, give or take. Plain black or green teas are fantastically peppy, too. Herbal teas can be ignored, delicious as they can be, in favor of their caffeinated cousins. The past few months have been mostly tea for me, and the switch from coffee has for the most part gone pretty well. I doubt I can abandon coffee forever, but now ’tis the season of the jasmine-infused green tea.

If all those liquid options fail, I can always get some coffee-covered espresso beans ““ they’re delicious and caffeinated. Doubly caffeinated actually, since both the chocolate and the bean contain a little hit. It’s easy to develop an unhealthy love of that snack, regardless of any potential caffeine-related side effects.

How do you get your caffeine? Does time of day/year dictate your choices? Who here drinks their coffee black?

15 replies on “What’s the Best Way to Get Caffeine?”

Coffee! Brewed strong with plenty of cream/milk and sweet n’ low (or with flavored creamer. mmm). I have Dunkin Donuts coffee every morning, and treat myself to Starbucks about once per week (I’m partial to soy mistos or lattes). And I love iced coffee in the summer. I like it for both the caffeine and the taste.

I also enjoy tea, and mate is a favorite. There’s a local tea shop that serves a mate latte with mate, milk (I like it with soy), and almond syrup. It’s amazing.

I don’t drink much soda. I beat a Sprite addiction years ago, and only allow myself to have it when I’m out at a bar. If I do have a craving, I’ll pick up a Diet Dr. Pepper, but more to satisfy a craving for bubbles/carbonation than for caffeine. It makes me feel gross and gassy to drink a lot of soda, so it’s not a daily thing for me.

I’ve never tried an energy drink. I tried a caffeine pill once in high school when I needed to pull an all-nighter. I couldn’t sit still to work and I had heart palpitations, so that was never repeated.

I am very, very prone to caffeine addiction. Just a couple of days with it will mean a migraine the first day I don’t have any. So I don’t get much, very often, even though I love love love coffee. I’ve actually started drinking de-caf, which is something I formerly considered blasphemy, just so I can get the warm drink feeling without the risk of tomorrow’s migraine.

I only very, very rarely take tea. I don’t really like it. The only thing I like is rose tea with two spoons of honey, and even that I have to really be in the mood for.

I am a latte addict. Seriously, I cannot start my day without a non-fat, sugar free, vanilla latte from McDonalds (or a fancy one from Starbucks if I have $).
Then I get another one at lunch.
And if I have class at night, I get another one.
And then I can’t sleep at night.

But on a completely serious note, I’ve been thinking of having kids, but I know that you’re not supposed to drink coffee during pregnancy. That is my biggest fear, that I would have to give up my caffeine and wouldn’t be able to make it through the day.

I don’t drink coffee at all, but I do drink a lot of tea (and pop, sometimes.) It helps me manage my ADD. Yesterday morning, I missed my morning tea, and ended up having to stop and get a chai on my way to work as my thoughts were roughly

“boatCARbuilding!MONSTER!that truck had a bumpersticker and I like Smarties and ooh maybe chocolate and LOOK AT THE WAVES and it’s raining raining RAIN RAIN RAIN CAME DOWN DOWN DOWN IN RUSHING RISING RIV’LETS and shoot I never embroidered Pooh for my cousin and DOG and there’s a CAT ON THAT ROOF AND IT’S NOT EVEN TIN OR HOT and” so it continued.

Had tea, 10 minutes later my brain was in working condition. It calms me down and helps me focus.

That was actually one of the questions my doc asked me when I first got ADD meds. Not surprisingly, most ADDs self-medicate with caffeine because it’s the easiest to get (legal) stimulant around and stimulants allow our thoughts to calm down (our=add people, not neuro normal people!). My dad used to always have a half glass of diet coke before bed because the caffeine calmed his thoughts just enough that he could sleep.

Black coffee, yes!! My Keurig shoulders a heavy burden getting my non-morning person butt to work. I was drinking Millstone Breakfast Blend, but I just got Caribou to try. There’s about 2.5 cups in my thermal travel cup, which gets me to work, and then it’s Diet Cherry Dr Pepper at lunch, and maybe another DCDP in the afternoon depending on if I’m in my office or with defendants. The key to maintaining energy after lunch, though, is whole grains. No amount of caffeine can get me through a post-lunch food coma if I haven’t had proper nutrients. I was never really into proper eating until I got a job and realized afternoon naps are less feasible after law school

I’ve been drinking chai yerba mate for breakfast (which means 2.5 mugs of tea), because I love the earthy/spicy flavour. I switch to Earl Grey in the afternoon, and decaf Earl Grey or vanilla rooibos at night.

I find if I drink coffee daily I feel sick. I don’t know if it’s the higher caffeine levels or what, but it decreases my energy & productivity. I coffee or cappuccino for a treat if I’m out, but not on the regular.

I drink tons of coffee – I hail from Seattle, after all – but my go-to drink after quitting Teh Alcoholz is Diet Coke, in a can. I go through soooo much of that terrible stuff. But I love it. Want proof? Check out the featured image on all the Dry Wit posts. lol. My designer knows me well.

Coffee. Hot. The stronger the better. Cream and sugar.

I make mine in a French press, and you can generally stand a spoon up in it. One of my eyes is stuck shut until my first cup in the morning, and I don’t dare leave the house until at least my third cup.

Leave a Reply