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How to quit coffee

A simple guide to breaking your coffee addiction. The struggle is real, and we’re here to help.

While it might seem completely nuts to quit your most beloved morning beverage, there are plenty of benefits to cutting back (or completely cutting out) your daily cup. Most importantly, you’ll save money and improve your overall health. Studies have shown that by quitting coffee, you can decrease anxiety, lower your blood pressure, sleep better, be more productive and even boost your mood each day (and make fewer trips to the bathroom!).

If you think you might be addicted, then the key to quitting is to go slow. Like, super slow. By taking steps to slowly cut back, you'll work on reducing your addiction to caffeine and give yourself a higher chance of success.

How to tell if you’re addicted to coffee

  • Do you drink coffee every day?
  • Do you get a headache if you haven’t consumed any coffee by lunch?
  • Do you drink other caffeinated products?
  • Do you drink coffee to stay awake or alert if you’re tired?
  • Do your friends, family or colleagues comment on your coffee consumption?

Do these sound familiar? If they do, then chances are you might be addicted to coffee (read: caffeine) in some form or another. But we’re here to help you! There are two ways to quit drinking coffee: going cold turkey or slowly weaning yourself off it. Depending on your level of addiction, in almost all cases, we would recommend the latter. The only scenario where going cold turkey should be your approach is when your doctor orders it. If you’re experiencing a health-related problem and your doctor has advised you to stop consuming coffee immediately, you should do that.

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Quitting coffee cold turkey

So you’ve made the call to quit all at once. Congrats! Keep in mind that this method is not recommended if you’re a serious coffee addict. While it’s the fastest way to give something up, this route requires willpower and there is no turning back. Going cold turkey on anything can be tough and can lead to you giving up on your attempt to quit rather than sticking to your goals. The withdrawal symptoms for true coffee addicts are not for the fainthearted. You can experience daily headaches, nausea, constipation, lack of concentration, lack of energy and cloudiness in the brain. It’s not fun.


Slowly reducing your coffee intake

Quitting coffee slowly also has its pros and cons. It might take a little longer but the withdrawal symptoms are less severe and you’re more likely to keep on track. Here’s a checklist of things you can implement to cut back your coffee intake without suffering withdrawal symptoms.

  • Goal setting

    Give yourself some goals. Start by reducing your daily intake and work towards cutting out certain days. Try going one full day with no coffee, then two and so on. Eventually, you’ll be caffeine free.

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  • Keep a diary

    In the week before you start getting the wheels in motion, keep a tally of the coffee you’re consuming on a daily basis. This is important to help you keep track of the progress you’ll be making once you start to cut back. Keep it as a reminder to see how far you’ve come in the process!

  • Change the habit

    A big part of what we enjoy about coffee is the process; having a milky coffee in the morning on your way to work, sipping coffee with friends over brunch etc. Try ordering a chai latte, tea, hot chocolate, juice or fizzy water instead to fill the void. My personal favourite is to switch to a hot lemon and honey drink. Do this and you’ll reap the added benefits of a detox.

  • Stay hydrated

    This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s one we can easily forget. Upping your water intake will give you an all-natural energy boost. There’s nothing better for you! Plus, it ensures you won’t get thirsty and accidentally revert to a cup of coffee when your body is just craving water. (Drinking plenty of H20 will also keep you feeling full! Double bonus.)

  • Make sure you get enough rest

    By making sure you’ve had enough sleep every night (and if possible, a power nap during the day), you’ll be less likely to turn towards things like coffee for a boost.

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  • Make fresh juice

    When you’re trying to kick coffee, try getting your kicks elsewhere. Fresh juice will give you a natural buzz and it's packed with a bunch of vitamins. A glass of green fruit and veggie juice is good for your body and your soul.

  • Take breaks

    Just as you would get up to make a coffee, get up to stretch or take a quick walk and catch a breath of fresh air to invigorate your senses.

  • Put a reminder on your desk

    Make a little motivational sign and place it on your desk to keep reinforcing the message over and over again. It’s a way to cement it in your mind.

  • Brush your skin

    Yep, I know this one sounds a little strange. Running a brush over your skin in the morning gets the blood moving around your body and wakes up your senses. By increasing the blood flow, you can get a natural surge of energy as opposed to trying to get a hit of energy through caffeine.

  • Ask your friends, family and colleagues to hold you accountable

    Tell everyone you’re on a mission and ask them to help keep you motivated and on track when it’s looking like a rough road.

Got anything to add? Let us know in the comments.

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Doone Roisin

Doone Roisin is the social media butterfly and a Contributing Fashion Editor at finder.com.au. She's an online shopping enthusiast ready to show you what to buy and how to wear it, the best sales around town and insider tips to make note of.

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