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How to Know You’re Drinking Too Much Coffee

picture of coffee poster

Do you like coffee? My parents and grandparents all drank coffee, and as a child, I thought I never would myself. However in college when I had to get up at 4:00 to work in the campus bakery four mornings a week, I found that a cup of coffee helped me be more alert on some of those mornings. Our boss would let us add sugar and cream only after taking one sip without them. I actually grew to like the taste of coffee with no amendments at all. My wife does not enjoy hot coffee, but she likes cold coffee drinks and coffee flavored ice cream ranks high on her list.

This past week we stayed with our daughter and son-in-law in Michigan. Each morning my grandson Drew and I took a walk to various destinations. Two of the mornings we walked to a Tim Hortons that's less than a mile from Megan and Jim's house. Here's a picture of Drew eating a chocolate timbit and of Poppy's steaming cup of brew.

picture of Drew at Tim Hortons

I used to drink only regular coffee, and lots of it, but in recent years if I have to be careful not to get too much caffeine. After enduring a racing heart and shaky hands, I quickly learned to limit my intake. Caffeine after about 3:00 in the afternoon keeps me awake during the night. It's a bummer, but those are the most common signs for me that I've drunk too much coffee. Here's a cartoon I saw recently that makes me smile.

picture of views of an all-nighter

In my files I found a list of other ways people can know they drink too much coffee.

You know you're drinking too much coffee when...

...Juan Valdez has named his donkey after you.

...you can ski uphill.

...you get a speeding ticket even when you're parked.

...you answer the door before people knock.

...you just completed another sweater, and you don't know how to knit.

...you have to watch videos in fast-forward.

...the only time you're standing still is during an earthquake.

...you can take a picture of yourself from ten feet away without using the timer.

...you lick your coffee pot clean.

...you're the employee of the month at the local coffee-house, and you don't even work there.

...you've worn out your third pair of tennis shoes this week.

...your eyes stay open when you sneeze.

...you chew on other people's fingernails.

...the nurse needs a scientific calculator to take your pulse.

...you can jump-start your car without cables.

...you have Styrofoam sofa covers.

...if a kettle whistled in a forest, you'd hear it.

...you don't need a hammer to pound in nails.

...you've worn out the handle on your favorite mug.

...you go to any kind of meeting, just for the free coffee.

...you walk twenty miles on your treadmill before you realize it's not plugged in.

...Starbucks owns the mortgage on you house.

...you've melted away your fillings.

...your face is on a Colombian postage stamp.

...your tongue has the words "Genuine Leather" stamped on it.

...instant coffee takes too long.

...you'd be willing to spend time in a Turkish prison.

...you go to sleep just so you can wake up and smell the coffee.

...you speak perfect Arabic without ever taking a lesson.

...your thermos is on wheels.

...your lips are permanently stuck in the sipping position.

...you short out motion detectors.

...you don't even wait for the water to boil anymore.

...you can play ping-pong without a partner.

...your nervous twitch registers on the Richter scale.

...your blood type is C8H10N4O2.

...you have monogrammed coffee filters.

...you drive around with a sign in your car that reads, "Coffee drinker on board."

...you made provisions in your will for your coffee supply.

...you took a second full time job just for the coffee breaks.

...your coffee mug has lip indentations on it.

...you tear open bean bags, just to make sure.

...you've gotten this far in the list after just 30 seconds.

...you use coffee flavored mouthwash.

...your deep blue eyes are now shallow brown.

...you have your mail forwarded to a donut shop.

...you don't tan, you roast.

...you constantly speak like an auctioneer.

...your baby takes her milk steamed.

...your motto is "a cup a day keeps the doctor away."

...you don't get mad, you get steamed.

...you have "His" and "Hers" coffee makers.

...the Betty Ford Clinic opened a coffee ward just for you.

...you had to remove your car stereo to make room for your cup holder.

...if you had a nickel for every cup of coffee you drank, you'd buy more coffee.

...you carry a spare mug in your briefcase and trunk.

...when you hear there is trouble brewing, you say, "I'll have a cup."

...you don't salivate, you foam.

...your personal ad reads, "Coffee Lover. Must have own mug. Send photo of mug."

...you help your dog chase its tail.

...you registered for your wedding at the Starbucks.

...you carry a portable, battery-operated, coffee maker in your fanny pack.

...you soak your dentures in coffee overnight.

...you think the "free refill" is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

...your kids sing, "I'm a little coffee-pot, short and stout."

...your coffee mug is insured by Lloyds of London.

...you introduce your spouse as your "Coffeemate."

...you converted your car's radiator so you can brew up a pot while you drive.

...you think CPR stands for "Coffee Provides Resuscitation."

...you don't have body odor — you have a fine aroma.

...you have a bumper sticker that says, "I break for coffee."

...at get-togethers you don't mingle — you blend.

...your first-aid kit contains two pints of coffee with an I.V. hookup.


Megan and Drew came back from Michigan to spend two weeks with us. We wish Jim could be here, but he cannot take time off right now.

Are you a coffee hound? Do you have a favorite kind of coffee or coffee drink and a favorite place to enjoy it?


"It doesn't make sense to ignore God for what's going to burn up." - Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

I once tried to microwave instant coffee and went back in time.

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12 Comments on “How to Know You’re Drinking Too Much Coffee”

  1. #1 Kristin
    on May 24th, 2010 at 9:46 am

    LOL, great list – I needed a good laugh this morning! Doesn’t fit me (I’m with your wife on the coffee thing, although I do like flavored cappuccino) but I certainly know a few people that should be worried. πŸ™‚

  2. #2 Noelle
    on May 24th, 2010 at 10:08 am

    I like the Coffee Beanery. I worked there for a little while (I also drink mostly decaf now since I was massively caffeinated while working there:)) so now I know the coffee lingo.;) You’ll have to try them next time you’re up. I have to buy it online since we moved away from the Troy/Warren area.:(

  3. #3 Michael
    on May 24th, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Coffee is not for me. I had a sip of some very bad coffee when I was 5 and don’t want to taste any more. However, the real reason is that I would see friends who were basically addicted to coffee and how their body would go into withdrawals without having any, and I decided that it wasn’t for me. It’s kind of how I view alcohol. I’m afraid to try it since I’m afraid I’ll get hooked and be a slave to it the rest of my life. However, I am happy for those who can drink socially.

  4. #4 Carrie
    on May 24th, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I drink one cup of coffee a week, for medicinal purposes. (Must stay awake in church, and this is no reflection on our pastor!) I don’t enjoy the flavor, but I did get a good laugh out of this list!

  5. #5 Johanna
    on May 24th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I loved the sayings! It’s true about Starbucks owning your mortgage; that place is so expensive! We have a local chain called Pikes Perk. It has the best coffee! (I’m a cheapskate, though; I just order a pound of coffee and make it myself.) Like you, I drink my coffee black; I cut out sugar and milk to “justify” drinking it. I cannot drink coffee after 6:00 p.m. or I’ll be up all night. Starbucks is good for those flavored things. I do NOT like McDonald’s coffee though.

  6. #6 Susan
    on May 24th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    I didn’t start drinking coffee till we started raising our support to move here to Vancouver. We were treated to so much fellowship that I began drinking coffee just to be sociable. I do like to doctor my coffee, usually with cream and sweetener, but I also like flavored coffees and have my own bag of Chocolate Velvet in the cabinet. We do love to go to Tim’s, and there’s a Starbucks on almost every corner here in Vancouver. In fact, there is one intersection in downtown Vancouver that has two Starbucks on opposite corners! Our favorite coffee shops are in-between Tim’s and Starbucks in price, and they’re nice cozy little shops where you can get to know the employees and hear somebody local play the sax on Friday evenings. Very nice!

  7. #7 Diane Heeney
    on May 24th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    I love the pic at the top…one of my faves! Posted it in on my own blog awhile back. I love coffee…the taste, the smell, all the *perks*. πŸ™‚ Love Haagen Dazs (how do ya make an umlaut?) coffee ice cream too! Yum!

    As for decaf, I like this quote: “Decaf coffee: It’s fat free sour cream all over again.” lol

  8. #8 The Home Skooled
    on May 24th, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Timmy’s is one of my favorite places, however one the west coast you have to go north to Canada to find any Tim Horton’s. Whenever my family visit’s Canada though, I pester them until we stop there for some coffee donuts, and chili.

  9. #9 Jewel
    on May 25th, 2010 at 6:13 am

    Love this post! And, yes, I love coffee, too! πŸ™‚ Folgers or Maxwell House will do for me, thank you. And I don’t care for flavored coffees or lattes or frappes or whatever else there is that they manage to do with coffee other than put cream in it. πŸ™‚

    This past week, we tried the coffee at Subway and it was wonderful! I had wondered how good the coffee could be at Subway, of all places and was very pleasantly surprised!

    While everyone here raves about McDonalds’ coffee, I’ve never cared for it.
    I loooove he cartoon above and the list! Too funny! πŸ™‚

    One last thing…..when we go on vacation…which isn’t often enough :-)…..I’m always so glad to get home and have a fresh cup of MY coffee. Not that I make anything special. Just Folgers or Maxwell House, but coffee from anywhere else just doesn’t take as good as when it is made at home. πŸ™‚ I think it might be the “home” factor? πŸ™‚

    So love your blog!!!

  10. #10 Vikki
    on May 25th, 2010 at 11:28 am

    How about if you are asked permission to name a new coffee blend after you?

    We drink coffee every day – black – but don’t like strong coffee. We probably use about half as much grounds per pot from what most people use. McDonald’s coffee, even half watered down, is horrid! I have no idea how anyone can drink it. Sometimes on a Saturday morning we’ll make a flavored pot, but otherwise it’s simply Folgers for us.

    In our experience, most restaurants in the south don’t make good coffee – way too strong and tastes like it’s been sitting around most of the day. We learned in our travels to ask for ice tea down south and coffee up north. I asked for a sweet tea out of habit while in WI visiting family and got a totally blank look from our server. She had no idea what sweet tea even was. The quandary comes when we’re on the road half way between SC and WI – which one is safe to order? For a test once when in IN, one of us ordered coffee and the other ordered ice tea. I took a sip of my ice tea and announced “We’re still in the south” and I was right – his coffee was horrible.

    We have never been to a Starbucks and have no desire to – too expensive! Plus I’ve known too many people to get hooked on their $5-6 cup per day coffee at places like that. The only time we spring for any of those special coffees is when we’re at the Wilds. It has become a tradition for us to get a latte or frap.

  11. #11 Elizabeth
    on May 26th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    That list cracks me up! Especially since some of them are actually true of me. Not the ping-pong one though – I can’t even play ping-pong with another person. I’m sure Matt would have registered at Starbucks if we could have. He did register for a fancy coffee/espresso maker from Williams-Sonoma, and someone bought it for us. I make him a latte every morning. In the past two years we’ve both cut out caffeine, so we’ve had to spend a little extra money on quality decaf. We love Black Cat espresso from Fresh Market. For filter coffee we really like the Fresh Market blend of decaf. On the rare occasions that we splurge on an overpriced coffee we go to Liquid Highway.

    Love the cartoon. Reminds of me of the days when I would drink a whole pot of coffee all by myself. I used to drink it black, but now I have to have it was a little milk or cream. A friend has gotten me started on coconut milk in my coffee, and I really like that with a little cocoa powder. When I was sixteen, my best friend and I brewed a big pot of coffee and then drank it as many different ways as we could: one cup black, one cup black with chocolate syrup, one cup with cream and sugar. I think we spent the rest of the day laying out in the yard completely buzzed, haha. Oh to be young again! Actually, as I think about it, my mom likes to tell the story about when I was 1 and she left me with my dad. She came home to find me drinking “coffee milk” out of a sippy cup. I guess I started very young indeed!

  12. #12 Rob
    on May 30th, 2010 at 7:24 am

    @Kristen – I understand your perspective. I enjoy my coffee, but even when I was drinking more than I do now, I still was not drinking nearly as much as I see some people do. Some should be worried.

    @Noelle – There was a Coffee Beanery even closer to Meg and Jim’s than Tim Hortons is, but it has closed. Their sign is still in the window, but alas. They had good coffee and that was my destination on visits up there before TH went it. Maybe CB couldn’t compete with a TH that close?

    @Your childhood experience was the same as mine — my parents were coffee hounds and I tried a sip and found it vile. But then, there were lots of things I didn’t like as a small child that I discovered I liked very much when I tried them again with the palate of an adult. You never know….

    @Carrie – I laughed as I tried to imagine you forcing down your weekly dose of caffeine. I understand your dilemma. I’m a pretty active guy, and so sitting and listening without falling asleep is a tough one for me, even when the speaker is engaging.

    @Johanna – I agree that Starbucks is outpriced. I enjoyed breakfast there yesterday because a student gave me a gift card at the end of the school year. What I had yesterday I would never buy if it were on my own dime.

    @Johanna, Jewel, and Vikki – The only coffee I’ve tried at McDonald’s is the lattes and their new frappes. I find them both pretty good, for the price. Are you talking about McDo’s straight coffee?

    @Susan – When flavored coffees first came out, I thought they were the greatest. But then I quickly found that I missed the taste of coffee itself. I still enjoy a flavored coffee for an occasional treat and change from the usual, but they always taste better to me with some sugar, which I don’t need to add to my intake. πŸ™‚ Our daughter Nora visited Seattle one time and described the same phenomenon that you did with two Starbucks across from each other or in the same block on a street. I guess people have a favorite between them for some reason?

    @Diane – I’m with you on some of the brand name coffee ice creams. My wife had coupons a while back for Starbucks coffee ice cream. Wow! Haven’t tried HΓ€agen-Dazs — way too pricey for my pedestrian tastes and pocketbook. πŸ˜€

    @Home Skooled – I haven’t tried Timmy’s chili. Is it that good that if I try it, I will want to go back for it?

    @Jewel – I think maybe it’s whatever coffee you get used to that tastes best to you. I don’t know what it is, but (please dont’ take this personally) Folgers and Maxwell House taste like an ashtray smells to me. And I’ve really given them a try at various times, not just at home. I’ll be at someone else’s house or in some business where they offer coffee, and it’s the same thing. I really like Dunkin Donuts coffee, Tim Hortons, and several roasts from Starbucks. There’s a local place called Leopard Forest that roasts coffee. I’ve got a bag of their Kenya AA Natural Decaf right now that I tried for the first time — very good!

    @Vikki – I’m with you on southern sweet tea! Unsweetened tea literally sets my teeth on edge. Nasty stuff! I don’t know how northerners drink it! I didn’t drink iced tea till I’d had it in the South, but then that’s also where I began to drink coffee too. Hmmm.

    @Elizabeth – Since Fresh Market moved, I rarely go there any more. I’ll have to explore their coffees again when I get out to that part of town. I used to buy some from them to brew at home. Thanks for the tip about the Black Cat espresso. I laughed at the story of you and your friend with your coffee sampling. If I did that now, my heart would be racing uncomfortably.