05 October 2015

Surprise! Caffeine Sensitivity

I think that caffeine sensitivity must be like getting diabetes for some people.
Bao Zhong High Grade (Art of Tea): loose leaf by Jocilyn Mors is · Creative Commons License

We all know someone who spent their entire lives drinking whatever they want, whenever they want; lattes, double-shot espressos, an entire pot of strong black coffee, a liter of pop. Then one day—in their advanced age—they learn that they no longer have the requisite internal enzymes needed to cope with the caffeine compound.

This person is now unable to drink their seven steaming cups of starbucks—or in my case, a daily quota of four pots of strong black tea and 1-2 pots of green tea, then eat the spent tea leaves to boot—without resulting in a racing heartbeat or sleepless night.

My analogy may be a bit hyperbolic, but it directly underscores how I feel. This is completely unfair! In the past three months I have become extremely hypersensitive to caffeine—something that has never had an eneggizing effect on me or kept me awake in the past.

A co-worker had to inform me that my overblown intake of tea is likely the cause of my racing heartrate—not an actual heart attack or anxiety attack. As soon as she made the connection for me, it made complete sense. At the time, my intake was 4-5 presses full of Oolong or English breakfast, and then five additional cups of green tea. The realization put a temporary stop to my tea drinking. I was scared.


The fear passed and the caffeinated tea moratorium lasted for two only weeks. Then I was back on the sauce, until…

…this weekend I had my first tea-related caffeine withdrawal headache. Today I’m drinking Peppermint.