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Why I Stopped Drinking Coffee

Have you ever wondered how to stop drinking coffee? This post and podcast episode is my journey of why and how I did it, plus the unexpected results of how it really changed my health and life!

{To see what I drink instead, check out my favorite Decaf Chai Latte recipe or this list of my favorite decaf teas to drink.}

how to stop drinking coffee

Any time I mention that I no longer drink coffee, I get so many questions on why and how I did this. I decided it was high time I write a post about my journey with quitting coffee!

Why I stopped drinking coffee

Let’s be clear. This is not something I ever wanted to do and I never ever dreamed I’d be a non-coffee drinker!

{So there’s still hope for all you coffee drinkers out there who would like to try giving up caffeine but can’t imagine a world without your coffee!}

I started working with a nutritionist in August 2016 in hopes of clearing up my eczema and acne, and one of the first things he told me was that I had to stop drinking coffee.

I immediately replied to him and said, “Hold up. I’ll do anything else that you say, but I can not give up my coffee.”

He told me to just give it a try, trust him, and see what happens. So I did (reluctantly).

Crystal Paine holding Give Me Jesus coffee mug

Giving up coffee wasn’t easy

If you’ve ever wondered how to stop drinking coffee, I’m here to tell you that it was not easy.

Prior to that I had been drinking two BIG cups of coffee every single day for a really long time — and even three cups on the really rough days. And let me tell you, it was really, really hard to think of giving it up.

I ended up deciding to stop drinking coffee cold turkey, and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that method. I started drinking a gallon of water every day, and I was also doing a cleanse at the time — eating only greens and then slowly adding foods back in.

The first 8 days were awful. I had a horrible headache and I craved coffee like crazy. I missed it SO much.

Mostly, though, I missed the routine of my morning coffee. I had a ritual of getting up and pouring my cup of coffee, and I didn’t know what to do without that morning ritual. I really loved savoring my morning over a cup of coffee, and it was something that was really cathartic for me.

Because I couldn’t drink coffee, I had a horrible headache and was extremely lethargic. All I wanted to do was sleep nonstop! I was sleeping about 10 hours every night in the beginning. (And this is a lot more than normal for me. I typically only need about 7 hours for a really good night’s rest.)

But you know what was happening? My body was finally trying to get caught up on all the sleep I had missed! My body had become SO dependent on coffee for so many years.

I didn’t even realize this until I stopped drinking coffee, but I had been masking my exhaustion and lack of energy with caffeine.

Crystal Paine holding Get After It coffee mug

How giving up coffee was life-changing for me

I never imagined I’d learn how to stop drinking coffee, and it did take a few months for me to stop craving coffee.

(And honestly, every once in a while — even after two years — I still crave it! But it’s not worth the headache I immediately get even if I just have a few drops of caffeine!)

Over time, it got easier and easier, and I slowly started noticing significant health changes from not drinking coffee. And I learned I can actually survive without drinking coffee — something I never thought would be possible for me!

Giving up coffee was a radical choice for me, but the radical results and changes were totally worth it:

  • I finally felt rested. For the first time in months, I felt caught up on sleep. Because I was getting enough sleep every night, I wasn’t getting tired in the middle of the day!
  • I felt happier. I had SO much more energy and was way less irritable. All around, I was just in a much better mood every day.
  • It helped my anxiety. I didn’t realize giving up caffeine would help my anxiety, but this was a life-changing result I wasn’t expecting. I’ve now realized I am extremely sensitive to caffeine, and I can immediately feel the effects even if I have a tiny bit. Not drinking coffee has helped me feel calmer on a daily basis.
  • It improved my overall health. This — combined with drinking more water and eating better — really helped improve my overall physical health.

Also, it’s been really empowering for me to realize that I’m not dependent on coffee anymore and I have the energy to get through my days without it!

Crystal Paine drinking tea

What I drink instead

Since the morning ritual was what I missed most about coffee, I had to replace those habits so that I could still enjoy waking up and savoring a hot beverage first thing in the morning.

Because I’m highly sensitive to caffeine, I don’t drink caffeinated teas. So I’ve replaced my cup of coffee with a huge cup of strong herbal tea. I typically use two bags of tea so that it’s super strong, I add lots of cream (just like I did when I drank coffee), and I add honey to sweeten it.

This strong cup of herbal tea with lots of cream and honey has become a great alternative for me without sacrificing my morning ritual.

If you’re looking for some tea ideas, you can check out my favorite Decaf Chai Latte recipe or this list of my favorite decaf teas to drink.

Listen to the Podcast on This Topic

For more about how and why I stopped drinking coffee, listen to this week’s episode of The Crystal Paine Show.

In This Episode: 

[00:41] This is going to be a hot button episode – learn all about why I stopped drinking coffee!

[01:44] Jesse and I chat about the Spartan Race the family ran.

[05:54] Mint Majesty Tea is saving my life these last few weeks!

[07:09] Check out The Only Plane in the Sky. I finished it this week and it was captivating.

[10:10] So… why did I stop drinking coffee? 

[12:49] What did it feel like to even think of giving up coffee? 

[13:39] It was hard… awful… miserable… yep, all those things!

[16:56] But I stuck with it — and I’m so grateful that I did! 

[18:22] Jesse too has been focusing on drinking more water and it’s changed how his body reacts to caffeine.

[19:23] I had no idea how much caffeine was affecting my sleep and my overall health.

[23:11] Do I miss or crave coffee still? 

[26:02] If you’re feeling tired or sluggish, here are some others options for a pick-me-up.

[27:03] Learn more about my favorite coffee replacements!

Links and Resources:

How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show

The podcast is available on iTunesAndroidStitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.)

Do you have any other tips on how to stop drinking coffee? I’d love for you to share them in the comments!

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62 Comments

  • anonymous says:

    I am only 36 and have been having ongoing heart issues (!!!) for about a year- I recently went to the cardiologist, had to wear a monitor for a week, and then it was determined that it was probably due to too much caffeine (2-3 16 oz cups a day- yikes!)! So this is perfect timing, I am looking forward to trying some of these chai recipes!

    • I’m so glad this was helpful!!

    • Laura says:

      When I found out I was pregnant in 2017 I stopped drinking coffee and mostly any sort of caffeinated drink. After I gave birth in Jan 2018 I found I’m not interested in drinking coffee anymore. However, I do from time to time enjoy a frappuccino. Since we live 1.5 hrs from the closets Starbucks I get that about once a month if that. Thanks for the ideas and suggestions on the herbal tea!

      • Jennifer says:

        There are frappuccinos that are caffeine free if you really want to avoid it. The Double Chocolatey Chip, Vanilla Bean Cream are 2 that I know of for sure.

    • Cindy Simons says:

      I have heart issues also and use decaf coffee and tea. Works for me. Maybe this would be okay with your doctor?

  • Jenny says:

    I stopped drinking coffee cold turkey just 6 days ago due to some health issues. So far it hasn’t been too bad even though I had been drinking 3 big cups in the morning every day. But on the upside, I’ve already seen some improvement in my sleep. Thanks for your tea recommendations. Drinking something warm in the morning has been a ritual of mine for many years. I’ll give those teas a try.

  • Joanne Peterson says:

    A caffeine free beverage that’s really good and good for you is Dandy Blend. It has dried roasted dandelion root, dried roasted chicory root as the main ingredients. It’s good for your liver and your digestion, and it’s delicious with milk and a tiny bit of sweetener. Some people think it tastes like coffee. It’s equally delicious hot or iced.

    When I was pregnant I was advised to give up coffee, and I did cold turkey too. My hat off to you because I know how hard it is!

  • Christine says:

    Just curious….since you can buy decaffeinated coffee as easily as decaffeinated tea, why wasn’t that an option for you? Not judging or questioning your choices, simply playing devil’s advocate I guess.

    • A few reasons: 1) I don’t like decaf coffee. 2) The process that they use to make decaf coffee isn’t very healthy for you.

      • Christine says:

        I never thought about looking into the decaffeinating process. My dad drinks decaf constantly. Maybe I can get him to switch to something better. Thank you so much for sharing this!

      • Stephanie says:

        I drink decaf after giving up caffeine over a year ago. You can buy swiss water process decaf which is better for you I hear. I also drink herbal tea. I eat WFPB so overall I don’t let it bother me about the process of decaffeination but I completely understand the headaches and lethargy! Great job!!!!

      • Becky says:

        From the research I’ve done, tea and coffee are decaffeinated by the same chemical process so drinking decaf tea (unless it’s naturally decaf, such as herbal tea) isn’t any healthier than decaf coffee. At least with coffee you have the option of swiss water process decaf which is the healthier way to go. I never liked decaf coffee either but when I had to cut way back on caffeine I eventually found some brands that I like and I’ve found that buying medium roast increases the odds of a yummy decaf coffee. Right now my favorite is Stone Street Mayan Swiss Water Process Decaf, Medium Roast.

        Also, for anyone who loves coffee shop espresso drinks like frappuccinos or lattes–they can all be made with decaf espresso if you ask. There’s so much sugar and milk in these drinks that you don’t even notice a difference in taste between regular and decaf, lol. A decaf Americano (hot or iced) with lots of cream is my go-to when I’m at a coffee shop because most of them do not sell decaf drip coffee or decaf cold brew.

        • Yes! I’ve heard this, too. So that’s one reason I have cut back to only occasionally drinking decaf tea and usually drinking naturally decaf tea! I don’t like decaf coffee at all, so I haven’t even been tempted to consider it! 🙂

  • Sarah Clews says:

    I actually stopped drinking coffee a couple months ago partly because I kept seeing you say you had quit. My acne/facial redness has improved a lot!

  • CC says:

    Do you feel like it helped your eczema and acne?

    • He actually didn’t have me stop drinking it for that. The nutritionist just had me stop drinking it for my overall health. I realized that could be confusing in the post. However, drinking more water and sleeping better DEFINITELY made a big difference in my skin… as did eating healthier. And I was able to get off all my meds I was taking for acne and allergies!

      • Janelle says:

        I stopped drinking coffee last week so I was happy to see your post. I was often anxious and jittery after drinking my 1-2 cups/day. I actually started drinking green tea and it gives me some energy, but it’s not as overwhelming as coffee.

      • Laura says:

        My chiropractor just told my son that drinking more water would help his acne.

      • Teresa says:

        What were all the health benefits you noticed? How do you know they are attributed to stopping coffee when you say you also changed your diet? You changed your diet how (no dairy, no sugar, gone vegetarian?) I’ve been wanting to stop drinking coffee as well. Since my 3rd child I have been drinking decaf. I was not aware of it being unhealthy. I enjoy your posts.

        • As mentioned in the post, here were the health benefits I’ve noticed since I stopped drinking coffee:
          I finally felt rested. For the first time in months, I felt caught up on sleep. Because I was getting enough sleep every night, I wasn’t getting tired in the middle of the day!
          I felt happier. I had SO much more energy and was way less irritable. All around, I was just in a much better mood every day.
          It helped my anxiety. I didn’t realize giving up caffeine would help my anxiety, but this was a life-changing result I wasn’t expecting. I’ve now realized I am extremely sensitive to caffeine, and I can immediately feel the effects even if I have a tiny bit. Not drinking coffee has helped me feel calmer on a daily basis.
          It improved my overall health. This — combined with drinking more water and eating better — really helped improve my overall physical health.

          I don’t think coffee is unhealthy for everyone, but for me, it was causing me to feel all jittery and anxious which was then not allowing me to sleep well which was then contributing to me feeling anxious and it was a cycle that only stopped when I stopped drinking coffee. I have gone back to eating a normal diet again and these changes have stuck. However, the few times I have had something that had a little coffee in it or a lot of caffeine, I’ve gotten a headache and felt all jittery again.

  • Mary Bond says:

    Coffee has never been on my menu. It is a big culprit of bad breath. However; recently I started drinking coffee in the mornings as early as I can. And…the results you got from not drinking coffee I am having for drinking coffee. I need no nap during the day, I have more energy, and projects get done. And anxiety is calmed down. I do have to make sure coffee is an early morning treat, though. Drinking caffeine to close to bedtime can interfere with nighttime rest. Isn’t this interesting how this worked out for you and for me.

    • That’s so fantastic it has been helpful for you!

    • Guest says:

      Please know I am not trying to ‘diagnose’ you with anything but I thought it might be interesting to share something I recently learned. People who have ADD or ADHD often find caffeine very calming and it often helps them feel more focused and clear headed. A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with ADD in her 30s and she said it now makes so much sense why drinking a soda or coffee in college helped her relax when it keyed up other people!

  • Jo says:

    Celestial Seasons Bengal Spice tastes like an herbal Chai Tea. I’ll make a huge batch of it every day and keep it in the fridge. Add some milk (no sugar for me) and you have iced chai. I swear I empty the grocery shelf when I see it.

  • Savannah says:

    I have also quit drinking coffee recently to see if it would help acid reflux and anxiety attacks. I weaned myself off slowly though. I went to one cup of half-caff, then to decaf, and finally completely off. I drink decaf green tea on the regular and have been trying several teas but yet to find any that I love.

    Removing coffee from my diet has made a HUGE impact on my overall health. Specifically with my anxiety attacks. I’m happy to see that you are sharing your experiences to your audience!

  • Sarah says:

    I used to LOVE coffee. I still like the smell and crave it sometimes, so I feel ya there. I got extremely sick a couple months ago and now I can’t drink coffee! It tastes so gross now and I don’t understand it- I joke that whatever I had rewrote my dna. But I am not nearly as dehydrated! I love that I don’t have to drink a ton of extra water just to make up for the dehydrating effects of the coffee. I do drink tea, which I love a lot more now!

  • Danna says:

    I gave up coffee in around 1995 and I gave up sodas in around 2012. I pretty much just drink water now. It’s a lot cheaper, healthier and I think, better for you.

  • Laura says:

    I gave up caffeine last fall after getting the flu (already felt like garbage so the withdrawal wasn’t so noticeable, ha!) I was up to two cups of coffee and a couple caffeinated sodas a day, yikes! I too found improvement in my anxiety levels, and my digestive health. I get fewer headaches now. I do tend to get sleepy in the afternoon, so I’ll have decaf tea or decaf coffee for the placebo effect. (Hard to always get enough sleep with 3 small children). It took me nearly six months to stop craving caffeine, but it has been SO worth it. Never going back!

  • Tera says:

    I recently cut out my midday Diet Dr. Pepper and I sleep so much better! Thinking about cutting out the morning iced tea next. My question is – does chocolate bother you?

  • Karen A Jury says:

    May I ask where you buy dandy blend and approximate price? I am going to try to stop drinking coffee and would like to try this alternative. Thanks

  • Shirlee says:

    Okay, after reading this I’m going to TRY it. I’ve had severe stomach issues- ulcers and acid reflux. I have 4 kids and coffee literally gets me through the day. I do drink warm decaf tea at night. But I’m like you- I love my coffee morning routine. Think I’m going to try this. I need to try and heal my stomach. Thanks so much! Praying this works as well for me!

  • Angie says:

    When you were talking about anxiety, and you mentioned your high sensitivity to caffeine, I knew I had to try to stop. I also knew I needed a replacement as I was equally addicted to the awful sugar creamers as the coffee. I bought some tea , heavy cream, collagen, and Truvia. I noticed a difference the very first day of not being nearly as irritable or anxious. Now I am 60 days in, and I feel amazing! I don’t even crave it any longer.

    It’s been good for my entire family because they were beating the brunt of the anxiety and irritability. (Sorry family! 🙁 ) I can’t thank you enough for sharing. I don’t think I would have made the connection without you. Oh, and I also realized slowly drinking coffee all morning made me not drink water. My skin isn’t noticeably more hydrated and less red now that I’m drinking water instead!

    It’s definitely a feeling of freedom as well knowing I’m not relying on something external to get through my day. It doesn’t have to be coffee and Jesus. Jesus is always enough.

  • Erin says:

    I’ve given up caffeine/coffee but I REALLY missed coffee, and herbal tea only partially filled the void. I tried your advice to use two teabags and that has helped so much! I don’t know why I never tried it before!

  • Laura says:

    Hi! You say that now anything with even a tiny bit of caffeine upsets your body. What do you do about chocolate?? I think I could give up coffee but not chocolate!

    • For some reason, I can still have some chocolate, but not much. Maybe because it’s not as strong? I can still have a little bit of black tea on occasion. But coffee just really wreaks havoc with me.

  • Samantha says:

    Do you think some coffee creamers would go good with some of the teas you’ve mentioned? Like pumpkin spice creamer coming up for the fall!

  • Kristin Dunlap says:

    I was a dedicated coffee drinker for 20 years and had to quit cold turkey when I suddenly became miserably allergic to it. Thankfully, I am not sensitive to caffeine and still drink very strong tea and sleep just fine! 😊 I do miss coffee though, especially when I can smell my mother making hers every morning.

  • maggie says:

    do you react to decaf coffee too? just wondering.

  • Martha says:

    I was wondering if giving up coffee helped with your eczema?

    • I talk about that on the podcast. I think drinking more water and healing my gut really helped with that, but getting more sleep probably also helped — which was a direct result of giving up coffee.

  • Val says:

    An “energy drink” that has helped me lots has been any of the matcha teas from Steeped Tea. My friend introduced me to it when I was complaining of being exhausted. It does have caffeine, but it’s not an “instant” kick like coffee, it’s a “slow burn”… at the end of the day, I realize I had gotten more accomplished than usual without fading by the time the kids got home from school.
    The taste is more bitter than I like, but I like what it does for me!! I started drinking coffee to get through the day several years ago, but Steeped Tea matcha is a healthier option!! (Maybe other matcha teas work too, but I’ve only tried this particular brand!)

    • I’ve heard great things about Matcha tea! Unfortunately, I tried it once in the last year and after a few sips, could tell it had way too much caffeine for me because it was starting to make me feel very jittery.

  • Joan says:

    I so understand. I had to give up caffeine because of my heart and it was sooo hard, especially since I was told not to eat chocolate! I didn’t realize that chocolate (milk, dark) had caffeine in it. I had to switch to white chocolate, decaf tea/coffee and I had to watch what was in desserts and coffee’s when I went out to eat. It was hard at first but with any habit/addiction, you can get thru it. It just takes lots of patience and practice.

  • Jamie says:

    Great article! I loooove coffee. Anyone interested in this stuff should definitely check out the book Everyday Roots. It teaches you how to replace all the toxic chemicals in your life with healthy organic alternatives. Its completely changed my life and how I feel everyday! 🙂

    Heres a great review of everday roots: http://reggiesreview.weebly.com/everyday-roots-review.html

    Keep up the great content!

  • I’m so glad to hear cutting out caffeine has had such an incredible impact on you! I switched to decaf for my anxiety about a year ago and it’s been HUGE for me! Most days, I either drink a single cup of black tea (Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Sunset is my absolute fave) or decaf coffee to start my day, then a lot of water and herbal tea for the rest of the day.

    But for a while, I only drank decaf and herbal tea. For me, switching to black tea, then green tea, helped me taper off of caffeine over time. I’m also pretty careful about monitoring my sugar intake for my anxiety. Also something I never thought I’d do, but when I cut out processed sugar and sweeteners, I stopped having panic attacks. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt after cutting caffeine and sugar!

  • Val Clark says:

    I go caffeine free a few times a year because I hate the concept of being dependent on a chemical. I have tried to kick it completely, but after 25-30 of being so unproductive, I usually give up. I can barely pry myself off the couch, and fall asleep in the midst of doing things. Is 30 days a fair shot? I would think chemical dependency would be over in 5-10 days. How long did it take to feel better? I drink 1 cup strong coffee in the morning, sometimes a soda on my weekly shopping trip.

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