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The End of Coffee

I realized, after working with a colleague all week, how much my coffee-drinking disrupts my work. Each morning he’d be ready, but I would need a cup of coffee. An hour later he’d be focused on work, but I would need to urinate. After lunch he’d be ready to continue, but I would need another cup to clear my head. I probably spent fifteen to thirty minutes acquiring and disposing of coffee each day.

All activities and choices have an end—a purpose. Why do I drink coffee?

Primarily to keep me focused on more important ends, like my work. I do enjoy the taste too, but to be a net good the coffee would need to save more than fifteen to thirty minutes of work each day. I don’t think it does. Not only does it waste time, but also it is a tempting diversion when I should stay focused on working. If slept consistently and ate less for lunch, the caffeine would be less necessary, and there are safe and reliable caffeine pills that I could use in a pinch.

If coffee drinking extends my workday and takes away time from my wife and daughter, I should stop drinking it. I can still drink coffee in social situations when its sole purpose is mutual enjoyment.

Many people would not consider the choice to drink coffee to be an ethical decision, but I think it is an ethical decision—just a small one.

Two weeks have passed without coffee. The headaches subsided on the fourth day—except when I ran to catch the bus, then it would returned briefly. I was tired for a few days, which made me doubt my logic for quitting since it is difficult to work when one’s tired, but the fatigue too faded. I need to remind myself to drink more water now, and when I pass a coffee shop, I need to remind myself not to get excited, which is a little sad.

There are welcome changes too. My mornings feel sparser. I don’t miss the morning brewing routine, a routine that blurred together the days. I think I’m more focused, and the money is nice too.

Quitting was easier than I expected. Reason, so far, hasn’t had much difficulty controlling the appetites. As Aristotle said, ”things in accord with virtue are pleasant to the lover of virtue.” I enjoy knowing my will has power over my habits, when reason dictates.