• Advice

How one freelancer's quest to quit coffee became a brilliant new business venture

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We’ve all been there: Working the side-gig between shifts at your normal 9 -5, tired from taking on too much work in too little time. We’re burning the midnight oil; so what do we do to sharpen our mental state and produce better work? For me it was coffee.

I know, the freelancer-on-coffee cliche is tried, but true. Coffee became my lifeline. I’d use it to bring myself out of a morning stupor, and when the caffeine crash hit, I’d have another and crank out a few more hours of work. My sleep suffered from all the added stimulants, meaning I was more tired in the morning which necessitated more coffee. It was a vicious cycle. Before long my work product began to suffer because I just felt tired all the time.

I started looking for solutions. I needed an alternative that could get me the mental boost I needed, but without the side effects of too much caffeine. Of course, when you’re looking for something, you always find it in the unlikeliest of places. In my case, I was just doing some idle internet surfing when I came across an article in Men’s Fitness called the 7 Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate.

It isn’t anything special – just your average health-and-wellness listicle, but the second slide caught my eye.

“Eating dark chocolate can give your brain a short-term boost – increasing your alertness – for two to three hours, a University of Nottingham study found.”

Eureka. I started doing research and found the true secret ingredient behind the chocolate was the cacao bean. The darker the chocolate, the higher the percentage of cacao is in the bar. I started eating dark chocolate as a substitution for my regular coffee routine and guess what? It worked. I felt more energized, had better cognitive skills, and most importantly didn’t get jitters or have a crash.

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The only thing I missed was the emotional attachment I had to holding a nice warm cup of coffee and taking sips from it while pounding out work on my computer. With this in mind I recalled a drink I had a few years ago while hiking through Peru. The drink was a warm mild flavor of chocolate that the locals called cacao tea.

Several months of work later, I had discovered how and where cacao tea was made and how to source it from South America. With a chocolate taste, all the health benefits of cacao, and that sentimental feeling of having a nice warm beverage at your work station I felt like I finally found the perfect alternative to coffee.

But not only that, I realized that my quest for a coffee alternative had yielded something far more valuable than a productive morning (and I place a lot of value on a productive morning) – I literally had a new business between my hands. had in my hands. I created a company called MiCacao which stands for “my cacao” in spanish. Because I created it back in my freelance days, I always think of it as the beverage for freelancers, but it’s really for all the hard workers and adventurers out there. It’s an alternative stimulant that is really, really good for you.

If you want to read about all of the other health benefits of cacao including cardiovascular health, high antioxidants levels, and mental well being there is more information here.

Stay inspired and stay healthy, fellow freelancers. That’s all you need to keep creating products that change the world. Cheers!

JJ is an entrepreneur and freelancer in addition to his corporate responsibilities. He is passionate about finding life hacks to improve health, productivity, and peace of mind.