When we were deciding to give something up for class as a group, I really hoped they wouldn’t agree on giving up coffee. I nearly panicked when coffee was decided upon. Before that moment, coffee had been such a huge part of my life. I hadn’t started drinking coffee regularly until I moved to Australia, but even before then, it seemed to have been a part of my everyday life. One of my earliest childhood memories was sitting at the breakfast table with my mum stirring creamer into a cup of hot coffee. It was instant coffee. And it smelled good, much better than I thought it tasted.
When I was a child, I would take a sip of coffee from my mum or dad, once in a while. I never liked the taste back then. It was bitter. It burnt my tongue. It just tasted strange. So how did I get into the coffee habit? I think it started with Starbucks and another similar coffee shop called Seattle’s Best. Growing up, a cup of whatever from Starbucks was like drinking a bit of luxury. In the community I grew up in, Starbucks was considered quite pricey. So having a drink from Starbucks was definitely something to look forward to. I would get cream frappuccinos, slowly graduating to coffee based ones, until I developed a taste for the bitterness of coffee. It was almost like milky drinks were for kids and coffee ones were for adults, and if anything, I always tried to prove I was an adult. I still wouldn’t just order a cup of coffee because that was still too much for me, instead I had it mixed with lots of milk, sugar, and flavourings.
When I moved to Melbourne last year, I was introduced to the vast and complex world of coffee. I learned Melbourne has a great coffee culture, even if I had no idea what that meant at that time. I learned about different types of coffee and different coffee shops which would have “the best coffee around.” As an international student, I wanted to dive and embrace as much of Melbourne’s culture as possible. Which meant, I HAD to become familiar with the varying flavours of coffee from around the city. I started having a cup of coffee maybe once a week. Then I’d go for 2 cups every week. Eventually, I was taking 2 to 3 cups everyday.
It became an addiction. I started taking it out of habit, but as time went by, I ended up feeling more and more dependent on it everyday. I would feel drowsy without my morning cup. I would have headaches and sometimes even felt sick when I couldn’t get my daily coffee intake. I realise now how bad that probably was for me. I don’t want to have to rely on a cup of coffee to get me up in the morning.
Abstaining from coffee hasn’t just taught me about how I can change the world, it also continues to teach me about myself. It’s taught me that I can accomplish things without caffeine pumped into my system. It’s taught me that I can do so much if I just put my mind to it.
Avoiding coffee is still hard for me. I get tempted to cheat and buy a cup of coffee every once in while. It would just be too easy, but giving it up has so many benefits. It’s for a good cause. It’s worth giving up little bit of pleasure for. I’ll be taking coffee again eventually, but I’m not going to let it take hold of me. I’m going to enjoy it in moderation, always being aware of the consequences as well as the benefits it may have on me, others, and the world.