“I wish I knew how to quit you.”* – Brokeback Mountain
Before I write anything else, it’s probably best to just be up front with you and admit that I’m a coffee addict. There, I’ve said it. It’s out there. I don’t mean ‘addict’ in some kind of light-hearted, hyperbolic way. No. I’m a serious coffee addict. It is a habit I cannot break. I’ve tried and I’ve failed.
For a period of roughly 5 months in 2010 I went completely cold turkey. I boldly committed myself to a complete coffee detox. I went all in. My brain is so addled with love for the stuff that I can’t even remember the ludicrous reason I ditched it in the first place.
I was living in China at the time. Initially I dabbled in various alternatives. Green tea was searingly bitter. Herbal tea was bland. Hot water – a classic Chinese habit, believed to be better for the digestion than iced water, and which I’m still partial to a cup of – was distinctly lacking. Everything was all just a bit ‘meh’.
My loss hit me quickly. I had withdrawal headaches so severe that I thought something was seriously wrong with me. I visited my Chinese doctor week, in week out complaining about the pain. I had blood tests, a head CT and, rather excitingly, a course of futuristic/ dystopian/ 1950’s (I can’t decide which) acupuncture in a Chinese hospital. The acupuncture needles were hooked up to an elaborate Dr Frankenstein-esque electrical generator and I was laid in a room with 20 or so others receiving the same treatment. Although I’m sure none of them were on a coffee come down. The fact that I struggled to comprehend Mandarin, combined with a total lack of understanding of why I was really there fuelled the surreal nature of this experience.
Then it passed. Suddenly the headaches were gone. It felt good. I didn’t miss coffee or, I didn’t think I missed coffee (fool!) Life was good. Well, it was alright. But it lacked a lustre, an excitement that it’d had before.
I hadn’t intended to get back with my favourite mistress. It happened completely accidentally. You know the story, girl walks into a coffee shop, girl orders decaf, girl unwittingly picks up caffeinated coffee and BOOM! It was like Dorothy landing in Oz. The world was in colour. The familiar spikes of excitement prickled through my face and I was in love again. Lust. Off the wagon.
Cappuccinos… oh cappuccinos. I missed you.
Some of the BEST coffee experiences in your life:
- The morning coffee (the work edition.) The first (yes, there will be more) coffee of the morning. It’s gentle, buzzy and it’s your friend.
- Morning tea break coffee. You’ve been hard at it. Productive even. It’s 10.30? 11? Damn. It’s not even half time. Have a coffee. There you go! You can do this.
- Post-work coffee. Sit down. Breathe. Maybe even slide into some jammies. You’ve survived. You have a whole evening of freedom ahead and you want to spend it riding the high of your favourite caffeinated pal.
- Post-lovely-meal-out coffee. You’ve had every course. You ate all the bread. You added a cheese board after pudding (just me?) There’s been wine. Yet, having this coffee makes all of the debauchery feel civilised and adult and readies you for a night-cap.
- The airport coffee. Get pumped up. Adventure awaits.
- The morning coffee (holiday edition.) Get up early doors, go out, walk. You don’t need to know where you’re walking to. Take a book. Find a local cafe. Order a local coffee. You are a sophisticated, chic, world traveller.
Some of my favourite Glasgow coffee experiences of late:
- Riverhill Coffee Bar – just lovely. This place is on Gordon Street so it’s an ideal stop on the way to/from Glasgow Central. Ridiculously good selection of cakes and sandwiches that reaches the level of food porn. Loads of vegan/ veggie options. They serve Dear Green Coffee (one of my coffee passions.) It’s smooth and delicious and blissful. The cappuccino is like drinking a cloud made of magic. There’s a cute little window seat for people watching purposes and sometimes there are seats outside. There are also super friendly, knowledgeable staff. I have also bought bags of Dear Green from here and they’ve ground the beans for me to use in a French press cafetiere. This makes an excellent present or stocking filler for fellow coffee addicts in your life.
- Dear Green at The Briggait – Great location. You can grab a cup of Dear Green here and walk to sit by The Clyde or saunter through Glasgow Green.
- Greggs – its coffee is fair trade, it’s quick and Greggs is everywhere in Glasgow. Aaaaaaaaaand, without fail, you’ll come across exceptional banter as you buy your coffee. Plus, you can get a breakfast roll and a coffee for 2 quid. Belter.
*”Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you” – Rick Astley