Saturday, August 13, 2011

Paulo now comes in decaf blend...

When I was kid and my mom made her occasional cup of coffee, I knew it was off limits to me.  It would stunt my growth, turn my teeth yellow, and probably kill me in the process.  Besides, the one time I tried to take a sip without her looking I just about gagged and spit it out.  How did I know it needed cream and sugar?  Yeah... I was pretty sure I would never try that again.  Needless to say, I am not much of a coffee drinker.  Sure, I have my occasional frap from Starbucks, but I usually order decaf (you do NOT want to see me highly caffeinated -- or maybe you do, it is quite humorous, eye twitch and all).

And then there is my husband.

Photo from

The first time I visited Brazil I was not shocked by the amount of coffee they drank, really.  It is a cultural difference I expected.  What I did find shocking was heading outside and seeing several moms come out with trays of little coffee cups, serving the neighborhood children what appeared to be espresso shots at two in the afternoon.  The kids would stop from their running and playing, run over, toss back the black stuff, and head back out ready to paint the town red, again.  I have heard that some mothers feed it to their babies in bottles, but I have yet to see whether that is true or not.  The point is, Paulo is a Brazilian man, which means he was once a Brazilian boy, coffee and all.  It runs through his veins like pride on the fourth of July runs through ours, and that is all there is to say about that.

(And coming in at over six feet, I cannot say that it stunted his growth...)

Photo taken from an article at discussing (in Portuguese)
the pros and cons of giving children coffee to drink.

Photo from
The thing is, coffee is a major part of Brazilian culture.  While for us it comes down to a little jingle we can all sing ("The best part of waking up..." You know the rest.) and a Starbucks on every corner, it was a major shaper of the culture of Brazil in both the area of economics and the diversity of the Brazilian people.  (For more info:

So although I am not a coffee drinker, I knew my husband always would be, and that was fine by me.  As long as our children were not given cups of coffee when they visit Grandma's house that is!  But in all seriousness, I was not surprised when we received three coffee makers as wedding gifts (although we registered for none).  They would be used, either by us or family, and that was good.  Really, the idea of a Brazilian giving up coffee is like asking a born-and-bred American to give up peanut butter: sure, it could happen, but chances are it most likely wouldn't.

Well, wonder of all wonders:  Paulo has been coffee free for three weeks!  Who would have guessed?  His mom (an avid coffee drinker, even by Brazilian standards) decided to give it up for her health, his dad didn't really care for it that much anyway, so he joined her, and his sister thought something along the lines of, "Why not?"  When Paulo found out that everyone else had given coffee the boot he saw it as some sort of challenge.  If they could do it, he could do it, right?  And so he quit.  Cold turkey.  One day he was drinking coffee and the next he had a mug of OJ in front of him.  Last week I tucked the coffee maker away in the cupboard, never to be seen again.  (Well, unless we have company, I suppose.)  With a life's worth of coffee flowing through his veins we expected there to be headaches and other caffeine withdrawal issues, but really, he has been fine.  Just sleepy.  Before he would complain that people in America go to sleep too early ("It is only 10p -- time to get ready to go out!"), but now he wants to go to bed way too early, like nine o'clock.  I have to convince him that really, it is not time yet, and he looks at me with a face that reads, "How did you get so much energy?"  From a lifetime of energizing myself instead of having caffeine do it, Baby!  Just wait, it will happen to you, too.

Photo from, picture taken at a coffee farm in Brazil


  1. Coffee is not actually bad for you, it could cause wrinkles, and possibly has links to osteoporosis because it causes calcium excretion in the urine, but coffee also helps prevent diabetes, and cancer!

    Studies have shown that its not the caffeine that matters, so a simple switch to decaf and Paulo can still reap all the benefits from coffee, without the caffeine stigmas that many Adventists believe!

  2. Very good point, Eric. I think maybe I was not clear as to why he decided to give it up... he (and I) am not against coffee, but we were both against his dependency upon it. Any morning without it led to a grumpy day. When he decided to break this habit I asked him if he wanted to just switch to decaf, but he decided he would rather just go without. No real pressure to do so, just a personal preference. He checked out the link you sent and it had great points... and he wants you to know he is not against caffeine, he still like Coca Cola! I guess it is just an "everything in moderation" thing. (I personally don't drink caffeine a lot, for no other reason than it honest-to-goodness makes me weird, eye twitch and all!)

  3. Love this post. Good luck to Paolo. If he ever has the hankering for some good decaf, let me know. I was caffeine free while pregnant and discovered the most amazing-tasting decaf ever. It's pricey, but worth it. Good to the last drop.


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