It was this time 6 years ago when my initial intolerance to caffeine reared its ugly head!
I was living in Melbourne at the time and fully immersing myself in the city’s well-known speciality coffee scene whilst simultaneously transitioning my career from corporate FMCG to the world of coffee.
Behind the scenes of a coffee company can seem like a vault of hidden treasures, captained by Willy Wonka himself and you guessed it, there is a lot of drinking coffee involved, A LOT.
This is where the problems really started for me, frequenting the toilet more than usual (which is kind of normal in the industry, it’s a diuretic after all) might I add at this stage we are only talking about a number 1!!
As the years went by, and I drank more and more coffee the problem gradually worsened to the point of seriously impacting my day to day activities – social situations, large crowds, business meetings, travel and even going to the cinema became a real dilemma.
I’d been to the doctors on several occasions, subject to testing and a number of diagnosis for all sorts of things but no matter what tonic, medicine or practical advice given, the issue remained.
On a visit back to the UK in 2017, I’d arranged a meeting with a doctor who recommended a cystourethroscopy, I’ll let you guys look that one up (please use the Ecosia platform rather than Google, for every 45 searches a tree is planted!).
Turns out, I have an overactive bladder which essentially means urinary incontinence most commonly associated with the over 65’s – I was 27 at the time.
What is Overactive bladder (OAB): a common medical condition where the bladder muscle (detrusor) contracts too often or spontaneously and involuntarily. You may feel the need to pass urine more frequently and/or urgently than is necessary and some may also experience incontinence.
Involuntary peeing is not cool, especially when you’re a 27-year-old living in Melbourne.
As I dived right into research, guess what? I wasn’t the only dude suffering from this horrendously frustrating condition. In fact, OAB is ‘common’ and can affect people of all ages.
About 12% of the total UK adult population (according to a report published by the NHS in 2017) suffer from this syndrome.
Usually the cause is unknown but the type of fluid you drink can influence symptoms and heightened anxiety can make it worse.
Risks factors to look out for are the usual suspects such as heavy drinking, smoking, inactivity, obesity all of which didn’t apply to me.
My doctor told me to basically stop drinking coffee, and pretty much alcohol too.
I loved coffee, actually let me rephrase that, I love coffee! Here I was doing my dream job, plying my trade as a coffee aficionado but something had to change.
The industry provides opportunity to mingle with a vast array of interestingly creative people, naturally I was asking lots of questions, taking notes and tasting anything put in front of me.
I was also spending way too much time in coffee shops, I’m joking, you can never spend way too much time in coffee shops, observing consumer habits, understanding our choices and trying out new drinks I could inherently consume conscientiously.
A range of brightly coloured drinks caught my eye, commonly known at the time as ‘Superfood Lattes’. These types of drinks in the southern hemisphere were becoming a common familiarity and firmly holding their place on café menus.
Rich in antioxidants, abundant in anti-inflammatories, a bottomless pit of natural medicinal benefits and they were bright pink, yellow and green and caffeine-free.
What’s not to like?
Well, in my opinion, I didn’t think they tasted so good despite all of the above.
I had participated in a high level of sport, adhering to nutritional guidelines from an early age.
At University I studied sport, nutrition and business – so my interest in keeping healthy and monitoring what I put into my body has always been of the upmost importance.
Our mission at Blendsmiths from the very start was to create a series of drinks that were multi-faceted - colourful, medicinal, balanced, caffeine free, accessible to the intolerants amongst us and tasty.
The mission is never complete, we are always learning and developing as we go.
Our blends are designed for everyone and for all those people out there suffering from OAB or wanting to reduce their caffeine intake, we hope our blends are acting as a great alternative.
Alternative is exactly what it is, not a replacement....
Coffee is the gods drink, I fully condone its consumption and haven’t successfully 100% given it up but its consumption and caffeine rich attributes were the impetus for Blendsmiths.
Co-founder at Blendsmiths