Being prone to headaches (including migraines) from red wines, caffeine and certain types of sweeteners, I have stayed away from real coffee (including decaf, which still gave me headaches) and real tea (even green) for years, decades even. Still, because I find the scent of coffee to be heavenly–I take sip or two once a year or so, just to see if I still have the problem.
That changed, recently, when I started taking a mild blood pressure medicine. I noticed that green teas weren’t giving me headaches anymore. In fact, the migraines (which were winding down anyway), seem to have disappeared altogether. I experimented with stronger tea–oolong. Still no headache. OK….! I tried a few sips of mild decaf at home. I tried some sherry. Still good.
M. informed me that decaf could be had in all sorts of good coffee nowadays–it’s no longer limited to MJB or Hills Bros. I can even get a good decaf espresso.
So, I decided to go "all out" (for me–I know, real coffee drinkers at this point are smirking at the idea of "decaf" as "all out"), go somewhere that serves good coffee, and try a full decaf of something. We went to the Capitola Book Cafe, which serves excellent Verve coffees. The Cafe's latest creation was posted on a board behind the counter: "The Bukowski,” invented by their bespectacled and affable barista, Lucas, who was serving that day. It sounded daunting, just like the poet, Bukowski himself: espresso, cardamom, smoke syrup, cayenne, and milk. Capitola Book Cafe mixes up its own syrup elixers, and I was curious about how they mixed up “smoke.” Turns out they use a smokey tasting Lapsang Souchong tea.
Anyway, it was killer. Lucas, obviously a well-trained barista, served it up with a frothy heart on top. Very different: spicy, and definitely smokey, with that tang that you can only get from cardamom. It had a nice kick to it; and the decaf espresso was wonderful. This was the first hot espresso served in a full-sized cup that I’ve had in decades. And guess what? No headache! Thanks to Dr. Sumana Reddy (Acacia Family Medical in Prunedale) for seriously getting on my case about taking blood pressure meds. It has had some unexpected benefits.