I’ve had a complex relationship with caffeine.
It has always been a vessel for productivity for me, and I’ve used it since I was in high school to function at a high level. At the time I thought everyone was doing the same. I started drinking Mountain Dew as a freshman, then moved into energy drinks once I hit college. They got me through long weekends in the studio to finish my projects and my intense course load, and to help me recover from a night out. Right about the time I graduated, Starbucks really started to become popular and coffee became the beverage of choice every morning on my commute to my first job.
I spent 15 more years relying on coffee heavily to get through the day and especially to push through a 3pm slump. I started to feel burnt out at 24-years-old and it continued into my mid-30s as I tried to figure out how to achieve my goals and also find balance with life outside of work. I love what I do: I’m a Creative Director by trade and I have the opportunity to launch visionary brands, a passion of mine since college. I used coffee as a way to push through my exhaustion, to be the best I could be at my career. It rewarded me for it, moving me to NYC and working on projects I could only dream of when I was in college in Ohio.
Then Covid hit.
At this point in my career I was drinking 2-3 cold brews a day to function and I already knew it was no longer helping me the way it used to. My body was exhausted and my brain fog and physical symptoms were starting to cause a real issue in my day-to-day.
During this time, the company I worked for moved to working from home and all my normal coping mechanisms were gone. I no longer had ways to distract myself, like office chatter, grabbing lunch with friends, going for a walk, using a standing desk or change of scenery, a commute; all of which had helped me get through my day.
I started seeing a nutritionist and when she ran my bloodwork, it showed that I was at exhaustion and she pushed me to give up caffeine. Honestly, I was angry about it. It was the only way I could function and how could I ever imagine giving that up? I also hate to say it, I even questioned who I’d be without it. Despite my hesitation, I gave it up, and six months later, I was diagnosed with combined type ADHD. My need for dopamine was alleviated by coffee (and caffeine) and I was using it to function when my body was actually screaming for support. I was trying to fit into a world that wasn’t built for me and this was the answer I’d been looking for.
I started medication to support my ADHD and it was life-changing. The first day I took it, I cried. I had no idea that others were able to function so easily and I was struggling silently the whole time. My medication helped me immensely, however, when I tried to sneak in a caffeinated coffee, I felt awful. My anxiety shot through the roof with a single cup and sometimes my hands would shake. My beautiful morning ritual was now along with all of the flavors and aromas that went with it
I tried dozens of products that were great “alternatives” to caffeinated coffee, to no avail. I still missed coffee. After creating brands for others for 15 years, I knew I wanted to start my own eventually, but I didn’t know if this was the right timing. The idea of creating a decaf coffee kept coming back into my path, so I started researching, talking to friends and family, and the feedback was undeniable. There was a huge cry for a high-quality decaf coffee. It gave me the motivation to make it come to fruition.
Coffee helped me function in a world that wasn’t built for me, but now I can do so for myself. My diagnosis gave me the tools to adjust my life to find my healthy balance. But coffee will still be a love of mine, no matter what! I’m proud to bring Velty to market, for others who struggle with caffeine for their health or for those who just want to balance their life with something that tastes great and doesn’t leave you buzzing. I hope you enjoy it!