The bloodstream of many college students is probably made up of 90% caffeine. It is especially easy at UC Berkeley to get addicted to coffee starting early with access to multiple Peet’s Coffee shops around campus that accept meal points. For many students, a coffee cleanse is unfathomable. 

I was always in denial about being addicted to coffee until my recent wave of midterms. Three midterms in one day forced me to drink coffee up to three times a day: morning, mid-day for when the morning caffeine wore off, and night to help get through a long night of studying. I still found myself feeling tired without caffeine, and it was clear I was relying on coffee too much. I decided to challenge myself to a one-week coffee cleanse, in which I drank caffeinated tea instead. 

I was eager to try this cleanse because tea is known to have many benefits. Tea leaves are high in a phytochemical known as catechin, which have numerous antioxidant benefits. The intake of high amounts of caffeine from coffee can disrupt sleeping patterns and drain calcium from your bones, consequences that tea-drinkers do not have to worry about. 

Additionally, tea has been shown to improve heart health, lower cholesterol and even make consumers more alert than coffee. After kissing my coffee goodbye, I purchased a variety of tea bags and began the challenge. 

Days 1 and 2

Katherine Luo

For the first couple of days, I drank caffeinated green tea. I barely felt the effects of caffeine. If anything, the only upside I felt was that it was much lighter than coffee, and I had no coffee breath.

Days 3 and 4

Katherine Luo

I started drinking caffeinated black tea around Wednesday. Black tea has a little more caffeine than green tea, with 70 milligrams of caffeine per serving as opposed to 45 milligrams. I definitely felt the caffeine effects of black tea more than when I drank green tea. Drinking black tea was the closest I could get in achieving the same caffeine effects as coffee. I was able to power through my lectures and homework without dozing off. 

Day 5

Jocelyn Hsu

Unfortunately, my one-week cleanse was cut short on Saturday. Despite avoiding temptation all week, I cheated on Saturday and couldn't resist free coffee. While I thought I was convincing myself that tea had the same effect as coffee, I realized after drinking the coffee that it energized me the most. 

The verdict: I am definitely on Team Coffee. Even though caffeinated tea has multiple antioxidants and other health benefits, coffee actually has just as many antioxidants and other perks. While I will be sticking with coffee, I challenge all coffee-addicted students to attempt this one-week coffee cleanse, as it may open a window of opportunity to not be as reliant on so much caffeine. Even though I couldn’t even last a week in this challenge, I will now embrace my coffee addiction by knowing that it too can also prevent certain cancers and diseases. As Drake said, you only live once, so might as well try to live as long as you can!