I love coffee, I love the smell when you open a fresh bag, a good shot of espresso on a bleak Monday morning and a lazy weekend with a book and huge mug of it. Although recently I realised my limit for caffeine after getting up at 4.30am for an early train to London and downing 6+ espressos by lunchtime. I felt shaky, wired in a weird way and my heart was racing. This was waaay more coffee than I’d usually drink (and any normal person – usually I’d have a couple of cups over the course of a morning). I really didn’t like the feeling after 6 shots.
You’re probably thinking ‘idiot’ I know, but it got me thinking about the overall affect of caffeine on your body. So I did a little research… and based on my crude understanding it seems that caffeine mimics the shape of adenoside (a chemical which makes feel sleepy), it fits into adenosine receptors like a puzzle piece, blocking those sleepy molecules and stopping us from getting tired. While this is going on adenosine builds up and other chemicals like dopamine are thrown out of balance, increasing and giving you the short term ‘caffeine kick’ energy boost. As long as the receptors are blocked with caffeine you won’t feel sleepy but as soon as they free up the adenosine molecules that your body has kept producing flood back through their receptors and you’ll start feeling sleepier than before. Coinciding with this I read another blog post about how caffeine can slow fat loss when you’re dieting or exercising which isn’t surprising now I know a little about how caffeine works.
I’ve been experimenting with caffeine free options for a while but recently I’ve upped the focus. I still have a full on caffeinated version first thing but after that I drop down to lower caffeine or caffeine free options.
Here are my recommendations if you’re trying to cut caffeine but don’t want to compromise on taste:
Carvetti – Finca Las Flores – decaf ground coffee. £6.50 for 250g.
“The dry grounds have an aroma of treacle toffee which gives a hint of sweet things to come. This coffee has a balanced acidity and a fruity sweetness. Expect flavours of ripe plum, milk chocolate and praline”.
Horsham Coffee Roaster – Columbia – Sugar Cane decaf ground coffee. £6.00 for 250g.
“Toffee, nutty with floral notes.
Marks and Spencer – New York Style Half Caf – ground coffee. £4.00 for 227g
“inspired by the half and half blends service in New York coffee bars the smooth, nutty flavour is perfectly balanced with hints of citrus fruits.”
Heart and Graft – Brazil Santa Lucia – ground coffee. £6.00 for 250g.
A blend “between caramel roast notes and more savoury herbal aromatics. A cracking example of how decaff is more than just decaff when well sourced coffees are decaffeinated using atop quality process.”
Wise Owl – Night Night tea. £5.50 (ok not a coffee but it’s perfect for a late evening brew or just before bed).
“A blend of organic botanicals chosen for their calming and relaxing properties for mind and body (liquorice root, chamomile flower, lavender flower, lime flower and valerian root).”
Let me know if you have any other good recommendations!