How To Quit Drinking Coffee Without Headaches?

Want to know how to quit drinking coffee without headaches from withdrawal? This article covers some solutions to that problem.

How to quit drinking coffee
Read on to know how to quit drinking coffee without headaches

Sometimes even the most passionate coffee drinker has to take a break. For a while, I briefly had to stop drinking coffee several years ago. I developed a secondary allergic reaction to the stuff after years of drinking far too much of it, alongside nearly bathing in it most of the week as a barista. 

That experience taught me a few ways around the coffee withdrawal headaches, and there is a lot of advice out there from experts as well. So if you need to take a break from coffee, and want to avoid the headaches that come with it, read on.

Are You Quitting Coffee Or Caffeine?

A brown cup of coffee with cubes in a saucer on a wooden surface
Figure out whether you want to quit coffee or the caffeine in it

The reason for the headaches you get when you quit drinking coffee is caffeine withdrawal. In my case, before I quit coffee altogether for about a year, I did a test: I drank decaf coffee to see if the symptoms I was having were due to the caffeine I was taking in or the coffee itself. Decaf coffee still set off a reaction–but drinks that I knew had the same amount of caffeine didn’t cause me any problems. 

So the first step is to understand and decide whether it’s coffee itself you want to quit drinking or if you need to back off on your caffeine intake. The methods you use to avoid the headaches will be slightly different for each scenario, so take the time to find out–if you’re quitting for medical issues, in particular, finding out whether the coffee itself or the caffeine in it is the culprit is your first task.

How To Quit Drinking Coffee Without Headaches

Can you steep coffee like tea
You can replace coffee with tea

Once you know whether you need to quit coffee entirely or whether you can just tone down the caffeine and get a good result in your health, there are a few strategies that doctors and other experts recommend. If you’re cutting out coffee but can still have the same amount of caffeine, the easiest way to avoid caffeine withdrawal is switching coffee with other drinks with the same caffeine content.

The easiest method to do this is with tea, which naturally has relatively high caffeine content, although not as high as coffee in most forms. The type of tea does play a role: black tea has about half as much caffeine as coffee, and green tea tends to have half of the caffeine in black tea.

Matcha, a type of green tea powder popular in Japan, tends to have the highest caffeine content of all: nearly as much as a cup of coffee. The brewing method matters too: you can get much more caffeine if you brew your tea double or even triple-strength. 

While I was taking a break from coffee but still wanted the same caffeine level, I mixed double-brewed green tea with matcha to get a drink that admittedly looked a little odd–but which had enough caffeine to prevent any headaches and keep me going the way coffee used to.

If You Need To Drop The Caffeine

If your problem is less about the coffee itself and more about the caffeine content, there are many options at your disposal to make things better. A lot of doctors don’t recommend quitting coffee cold turkey precisely because the withdrawals can be very unpleasant.

Instead, try to reduce your caffeine content gradually. Start with one fewer coffee drink or cup of brewed coffee per day, or switch to decaf for at least part of the day.

Switching to black tea can also help stave off headaches. While black tea does still have caffeine, it has about half of the amount present in coffee, and due to the other chemical components in tea, it tends to enter your system more gradually–so you don’t get jitters and you also don’t get withdrawals.

Another piece of advice is to up your water consumption. Coffee is made up predominantly of water. While caffeine does have a slight diuretic effect, if you drink it regularly, that effect tends to wear off over time; so some of the headaches that come from quitting coffee may stem from drinking less. Drinking more water can help to stave off at least those headaches.

Author

  • Savannah is a coffee lover who took her appreciation of the brew to the next level starting in college, becoming a barista before combining her love of writing with her affection for a good brew. She has written for several publications including Cracked.com and TopTenz, and also works as a ghostwriter.