- I have been a daily coffee drinker for 10 years but, for three months, I replaced my cups of coffee with cups of black tea.
- Replacing coffee with tea helped me sleep better and consuming less caffeine and less dairy may have also contributed to making my skin clearer.
- Ultimately, I decided to switch back to coffee — but I will be limiting my daily intake moving forward.
Drinking a morning cup of coffee with a splash of milk has been a daily routine for me for about 10 years. Each day, I would also frequently consume a second cup of coffee and, sometimes, even a third.
Over time, it began to feel like I was addicted to caffeine. Whenever I skipped my daily coffee, I experienced symptoms of caffeine withdrawal — I would become irritable, struggle to concentrate throughout the day, get headaches, and feel a major dip in my energy levels by the afternoon.
And since cutting out caffeine entirely seemed a bit unreasonable, I decided to see what would happen if I replaced my usual cups of coffee with tea instead.
I planned to drink the same amount of tea as I was drinking coffee, so I’d basically be cutting my daily caffeine intake in half. A cup of coffee has approximately 95 mg of caffeine and a cup of black tea has about 47 mg of caffeine.
Here’s what happened when I replaced my usual cups of coffee with cups of black tea.
The first few days without coffee were terrible
When I first made my swap from coffee to tea, I was definitely expecting to experience some symptoms of caffeine withdrawal since I was essentially cutting my caffeine consumption in half.
A recent analysis of studies about caffeine withdrawal published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that caffeine-withdrawal symptoms typically begin about 12 to 24 hours after cutting out caffeine. So shortly after I stopped drinking coffee, I wasn’t surprised when I got a painful headache that pulsed around my temples.
Fortunately, my headache eventually dissipated after a few days. This also seemed normal considering the NCBI-published study also concluded that symptoms of caffeine withdrawal typically last between two and nine days.
My energy levels dropped as soon as I replaced coffee and they stayed low throughout my experiment
After giving up coffee, I noticed my energy levels were lower than usual. I thought how much caffeine I needed to feel energized would adjust to fit my new levels of consumption, but I found myself needing to drink three of cups of tea in the morning just to stave off afternoon slumps.
Trying common natural energy boosters like eating an apple or standing up straight didn’t help me to boost my energy levels very much, either.
Although I was still consuming caffeinated tea, even after three months, I never felt like I had the same levels of energy I’d typically had when I was drinking coffee.
After swapping out coffee for tea I noticed that I slept a bit better
Since black tea has much less caffeine than a cup of coffee, I found that I could drink a cup of tea close to bedtime and not have it affect my sleep very much.
And although in the past I’d never really consumed coffee right before heading to bed, caffeine’s energy-boosting impact can last for about four to six hours. Looking back, I realized that I typically drank my second cup of coffee at around 4:30 p.m., so it could have still been interfering with my bedtime routine by 10:30 p.m.
Whenever I did drink coffee, it became a fun treat
During these three months, I didn’t cut out coffee completely. Less than once every two weeks, I would indulge in a coffee drink.
Instead of ordering an extra-large coffee and feeling like I needed it just to make it through the day, I would order a small cappuccino and view it as a fun little treat.
By brewing tea at home and not buying coffee every week, I saved a bit of money
I had always made my first cup of coffee at home but I’d typically purchase my second (and sometimes third) coffee from a shop. So by buying much less coffee and making my tea at home, I noticed that I saved an average of $10 per week.
I felt like my skin was clearer since I was consuming less dairy and caffeine
During these three months, I noticed my skin seemed a bit clearer and I suspect it had something to do with how I decreased my daily caffeine and dairy consumption.
Some dermatologists suggest that cutting out dairy from your diet can reduce acne and improve your skin’s texture. And although I didn’t totally cut dairy from my diet, I did cut back on it a bit — I was no longer consuming the splash of milk that I added to my coffee one to three times per day. During my challenge, I drank my black tea without any added dairy.
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Plus, chances are my skin was more hydrated than usual since my caffeine intake was essentially cut in half. Since some dermatologists suggest consuming caffeine can dehydrate one’s skin, it would make sense that my cutting back on caffeine positively impacted my skin.
Although there were benefits to swapping out coffee for tea, I still missed coffee
After three months I still missed my daily morning ritual of brewing and consuming a cup of coffee. Sure, I enjoyed drinking black tea, but I still found myself missing coffee and the energy boost it gave me.
And maybe returning to drinking a cup of Joe every day isn’t such a bad thing as long as I’m consuming it in moderation and I’m not adding tons of syrups and creamers to it. I mean, studies have found that drinking coffee could have a bunch of health benefits — consumption of it has been linked to a reducing one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes and even reducing one’s risk of developing cancer.
All in all, I plan to return to drinking coffee … I might just cut back on how much of it I drink each day.