Apparently, October 1st is International Coffee Day. Launched in Milan by the International Coffee Organization, the first took place in 2015. In celebration of this heavenly brew of productivity and joy, I will share some personal stories involving coffee.

As a kid, coffee held the mystique of an “adult drink”, even more so than beer. Naturally, I wanted to try it. I don’t remember the first time I took a sip, but I do remember it was black and tasted downright awful. Black coffee is an acquired taste and kids probably don’t have the palate to acquire it anyway. I gagged and wondered why adults willingly consumed such swill.

Then, I learned that most adults were adding sweeteners to their coffee, like cream and sugar. I went to Tim Horton’s and ordered a Double Double – two creams and two sugars. It was unsurprisingly delicious, but fattening. So eventually, I worked my way down to two creams and one sugar, then one cream and one sugar, and so on until I was drinking black coffee. And I never looked back.

My sister used to work at McDonald’s. Back when they were trying to muscle their way into the highly lucrative Canadian coffee market, McD’s would frequently have free small coffee promotions, no strings attached. One day, a girl walked in and ordered a small coffee with six creams and six sugars. My sister asked her to repeat the order, certain that she must have misunderstood. Nope, six creams and six sugars. My sister makes the drink, which is almost 50% cream and hands it to her, thinking the customer was going to complain about how it was wrong. Nope. The girl smiles and thanks my sister, who rolls her eyes as soon as the girl turned around.

During a summer internship at ING Canada, I would pound back coffees like the addict I was, likely drinking five to six mugs a day. It didn’t occur to me exactly how much coffee I was drinking until the internship ended and I stopped cold turkey. My head hurt and my body would randomly shake. I was worried something was terribly wrong. But then, I realized that I was experiencing caffeine withdrawal. The symptoms went away a week later.

On a trip to Costa Rica, I went on a coffee plantation tour. At the end, they offered samples of their coffee, taking care to warn us that it was not going to be of the quality that we were used to “back home”. The comment struck me as strange, because the coffee was so good that I drank about half the tray. Thankfully, like the salmon sashimi I had in Vancouver, I don’t fully remember how flavorful the coffee was. Otherwise, I would not be able to enjoy the stuff I regularly consume in the mornings. Perhaps the locals were being humble, but I suspect they grossly overestimated the quality of life in America and Canada.

Evidently, coffee is an important part of my life. It helps that I’m not very caffeine sensitive. It takes at least two cups for me to feel the effects. I can drink a cup and take a nap a few minutes later. However, if you suspect that you might be caffeine sensitive, perhaps you should try the No Coffee Challenge for a month.