I remember the moment I kicked the coffee. It was at our cheesily named college lounge, The Java Joint. I had been up writing some sort of paper, probably about the role of misogynistic archetypes in top 40 songs or something, and went down for a refill around 11 pm. Almost instantly my stomach cramped and kicked–for the tenth time that week. And I said, No more.

Fast forward 15 years. Yeah, I finished college, post-college, early career, even graduate school with nary a sip of the dark brew. Then this summer I thought it might be fun to try and iced coffee from the new local organic place. Organic coffee with soymilk, natch. And omg. Javatastic heaven. And almost every day since–it’s now been a month or two–I’ve gotten my milk-chocolate colored drink. I almost never finish it and mostly nurse it all day like a bottomless bottle of whiskey. Am I in trouble? Sometimes even after a few sips I feel this not unpleasant surge of energy along my arms. My acupuncturist warns against caffeine as though it were crack, a hammer to the adrenals whose function is hampered by coffee’s chemistry. But then there’s the coffee-as-antioxidant argument. This summer an article about the health-related and cons of coffee topped the New York Times’ Most Emailed list for weeks.

So I wonder–is this a gateway to more coffee? Am I already doing damage to my tender chi? Or am I just displacing my usual green tea quota? What’s your relationship to the bean? Love, hate, addicted, hate the stuff?

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