In the past month a Starbucks and Costa have opened up within 20 metres of my nearby railway station. This is sad for two reasons. One, there are a slew of good independent coffee shops nearby that will almost certainly suffer as a consequence. Two, it is a symptom not a cause of how much coffee we drink.We drink 70 million cups of coffee a day in the uk. The average man consumes 13 cups a week and the average woman 11. That’s a lot of coffee.About a month or two back I noticed that drinking coffee gave me feelings of anxiety for hours after drinking it. Not just the usual coffee buzz but proper existential dread. Not good. So I’ve basically stopped drinking it. Which, on one hand is annoying because I like coffee. On the other hand it’s a great reason not to drink it.Let us not forget that caffeine is a drug. A pretty potent one. From Web MD: Coffee containing caffeine can cause insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach upset, nausea and vomiting, increased heart and breathing rate, and other side effects. Consuming large amounts of coffee might also cause headache, anxiety, agitation, ringing in the ears, and irregular heartbeats. Wow! That’s a fairly scary list. If your toast or orange juice did that you might skip it, wouldn’t you? Or if the doc gave you some pills that said that on them you might ask questions, right? But we don’t and we keep drinking it. Why? Because it’s a drug and we’re hooked. Do you feel like you ‘can’t function’ without a cup in the morning? Yep, that’s addiction.The problem is, coffee is socially acceptable and doesn’t have the negative externalities that other drugs have – like being illegal… How common is it to ask someone to meet for a coffee rather than, well anything else? Very.If you don’t think you’re hooked, great. Just go cold turkey for a week. Bet you a latte you can’t.