This writer has cut down her coffee intake. A lot. *cue the sad, dramatic music*
All my life, I’ve had an ambivalent relationship with coffee (it’s bitter and smells much better than it tastes), and for the longest time I didn’t drink it at all. And that’s kind of a big deal for a Swede. Swedes drink a lot of coffee—we were on 6th place of the world’s biggest coffee drinkers last year (and I find it very interesting that all five of the Scandinavian countries—Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland—are in the top six!)
And not only that. We take our coffee drinking very seriously in Sweden—it’s a way of life. It’s called “fika” and there’s not really a word for it in English. If you’re interested in knowing more, here’s an article about it. It’s interesting and explains a lot 🙂
Every time you visit with someone in Sweden, they will offer you coffee. If you don’t drink it, your host becomes anxious and tries to come up with a range of other beverages to offer you instead. Sometimes they’ll even offer to run to the store and buy something for you.
It was exhausting to have to explain every time why I didn’t drink coffee. And even people close to me forgot. Like my mother-in-law, who, by the way, is from Finland. (And did you happen to notice which country was at the top of that list I linked to earlier? 😉 ) I’ve been with my husband for well over 20 years, and even after knowing me for 10+ years, she forgot that I didn’t drink it.
So one day I thought Ah, fuck it! and started drinking the stuff.
But here’s the thing. I don’t like it in the morning. I prefer to drink my coffee in the evenings. Especially when I write. So that’s what I’ve done. And for a long time, it wasn’t a problem. But lately, I’ve had a hard time falling asleep.
And, of course, I knew what the culprit was. My coffee. I did some research: I knew caffeine causes alertness, but as it turns out, it can disrupt the entire sleep cycle and circadian rhythm. If I drink coffee late this evening, it might affect my sleep for many nights to follow.
So, last week I decided to stop with my late night coffee. And since I don’t like to drink it early in the day, I’ve dramatically cut my intake.
And…I’m fine. I’ve not had any withdrawal problems and after a few days, I slept much better. The only thing is that I miss having a hot beverage to drink when I write. I solved that problem by buying rooibos tea, which does not contain caffeine.
One funny thing about coffee and fika: I’ve noticed that my Swedish fika-habits show up in my books. All my characters like to sit down with a book and a cup of coffee and fika for an hour or two. If that’s something you’ve noticed and found a little weird, well now you know why 🙂
Like in this excerpt from Find His Way Home. After spending a couple months by himself in the forest, Elliot wants human interactions and real coffee 😀 (Emma, mentioned in the quote, is the person from whom he rents the cabin)
On his way back to the car, he passed a cozy café, and the aroma of coffee wafting through the door as customers exited was strong and full. His feet carried him inside without him giving it a lot of thought, and he spent a few minutes trying figure out what he was in the mood for. After deciding on a frilly coffee drink with a big dollop of cream and lots of sugary syrup, accompanied by an enormous blueberry muffin, he found a table in a quiet corner. The second-hand armchair was as comfy as it looked, and he groaned with happiness as he sank down into it.
He swallowed a mouthful of his beverage and couldn’t help the pleased hum that escaped him. It tasted so much better than the stupid instant shit he had in the cabin. He should tell Emma they ought to buy a coffee maker for the kitchen—a French press would make a world of difference—and he’d be willing to pay extra for the luxury.
My books are still on sale over at JMS Books for the remainder of the day if you still haven’t bough it. Links are listed below.