Coffee is awesome for so many reasons, not the least of these being the energy and mental boost the caffeine content can give you. But what happens when you need to cut back on your caffeine for one reason or another?
For the past several months I've had to stick with one cup a day, and I'm still looking at several more weeks of the same. This seems terrifically unfair to do to someone when her physical energy is dropping and all the while her brain is getting fuzzier.
So what can you do to make sure that you are getting the most out of your one (possibly two) cup(s) of coffee? I'm glad you asked...
If you are downsizing to just one cup for caffeine-avoidance purposes, then you should choose wisely when you have that cup. Our bodies' circadian rhythm has cycles of natural alertness and energy and cycles of not-so-much alertness and energy. Basically you want to time your coffee for those periods when your body isn't producing cortisol aka that hormone that makes you want to fight or take flight.
Alternatively, you can drink your one cup and then take a 20 minute power nap. Caffeine typically takes 15-20 minutes to kick in and a power nap should be at most 20 minutes. (Any longer and you will go into a deeper sleep cycle and negated that refreshed just-took-a-nap feeling.) So drink your coffee, take your power nap, and wake up ready to conquer the world!
Check out the fantastic info graphics regarding The best time to drink coffee according to science (over on the sidebar there) and The Coffee Nap from the very fun and informative blog: http://en.ilovecoffee.jp/.
If you spend any time at all around Kaffeologie then you know that we are big proponents of a quality coffee experience. It's especially true of limiting yourself to one cup. Why waste your precious coffee allotment on something that's not wonderful?
A good brewing technique can elevate so-so coffee, but it works the opposite way too. Poor brewing can make an awesome roast taste so-so (or worse!). So you really owe it to your taste buds to do some trouble shooting if necessary and become a brewing Jedi. (Questions about grind, taste issues or just how to brew? Chances are we've covered it in a blog post.)
3. Splurge (reasonably) & Savor
This is it for the day. Your one cup. Think about what will make it be the treat you want. Is it that new seasonal drink (or drinks) you've been dying to try? Go for it! Make it your splurge for the day. (Just be aware that not all coffee shops' calorie levels - or caffeine levels - are the same.) Get some exotic beans instead of your usual grocery store purchase. Call a friend and spend that cup catching up. Just want to drink that cup in peace and quiet? Do it! Most people will gladly leave you alone for 5 minutes if it means you'll get back to them as soon as you're done all refreshed and reenergized. And if they won't? Distract them with shiny objects and moving pictures.
Just because you are cutting back on your caffeine doesn't mean you have to cut back on your coffee experience. After all, there's a lot of wonderful in just one cup.