Coffee had been my constant companion since I was a teenager. At home, in school, at the university. I was hooked on the stuff early on, partly because my parents used to drink the black energy liquid one cup after the other when I grew up.
It was normal to drink coffee. For breakfast, after and during lunch or dinner, or in-between whenever one felt like it. We would walk over to the machine, place a cup under the dispenser and wait for the rhythmic noises in anticipation of the delicious odor that would soon fill the air. Coffee was my family’s hot beverage of choice. It was the default option.
In high school, we had coffee machines at the canteen and I would pour myself a cup whenever I had the chance to do so.
During the first years at the university, I regularly drank coffee from vending machines around the campus, but it was during my Master’s that I increased my consumption even more. I picked up the idea that ‘science is fueled by caffeine’ and made sure to be part of it.
After starting my PhD I introduced a bunch of changes to my life and built several habits. In the course of this, I restricted myself to drink only four cups of coffee per day.
This held up for about three years. There have been exceptions of course: One day during a road trip in Arizona with friends, I bought a 1.5 liter bottle of unsweetened Starbucks espresso in a grocery store. While driving that day, I kept sipping from that bottle all day long. When we arrived at a Motel in the evening, I started to feel a little uneasy and sick and had to stop. That was the only time I can remember feeling that I had too much coffee.
Generally, though, my ‘four cups’ restriction held up until recently. As I worked more and more from home, my coffee consumption increased to about five or six large mugs of instant coffee per day.