Citation: Potter Dee. "I Really Love Xanthines: An Experience with Tea, Coffee & Cacao (exp73166)". Erowid.org. Dec 16, 2016. erowid.org/exp/73166
Coffee? Tea? Chocolate? Anyone?
I really love xanthines, caffeine, theophylline, theobromine, where would our civilization be with out them? Back in the dark ages, that's where! They keep us going day in and day out, coffee, tea, chocolate, they inspire us to create, build, fight, stay ahead of the game. Societies are built around them, 8 o'clock cup of joe, 4pm London raises a cup, the sound of a thousand Buddhist tea ceremonies. Drugs so legal, we don't even think of them as such. A little goes a long way, we hardly ever venture outside the therapeutic dose range, there's much to be explored in a porcelain cup of alkaloids.
I've been on stimulants most of my life and have gone through months of constant coffee drinking, habituating my self to the point of a double espresso being the perfect nightcap to cuddle up with. I thought I'd share a few highlights in my relationship with the plants of the xanthine family. I don't recommend my doses to beginners, I'm rather sure that the 40oz espresso binge was over lethal levels, had I not been on so much already. The concentrated tea I describe in the first section is dangerous, and can be lethal in moderate doses, three cups is REALLY pushing your luck. People with heart or blood pressure issues should not be even thinking of drinking it straight.
Russia is hardly thought of when it comes to tea, yet it is intrinsic to their culture as it is to the British. 'To bring one's own Samovar (tea making device) on the Siberian Express.' To do something foolish, everyone KNOWS there will be tea on the train. I did something foolish and dove head first into the world of Russian tea.
The Samovar is the key to the tea. In the bottom you have a fire that keeps a large pot of water well heated, on top of that there is a little tea pot where the zavarka
(tea concentrate) is kept. You pour a little zavarka
into your cup and dilute down 10:1 with water. The difference here, is the zavarka
is brewed with almost 5 times as much tea as one would use for more traditional methods.
Drop into boiling water, 5 teaspoons of black tea, turn off the heat and let sit for 20 minutes or until all the leaves fall to the bottom, which ever takes longer.
Normally, boiling water and long steeping make for a bitter tea. The use of such a large quantity of tea leaf results in the more soluble alkaloids to supersaturate the solution, before the tannins dissolve, locking them away in the leaf matter. Chemicals that show up in minute quantities in regular tea will reach psychoactive levels in zavarka
I don't skimp out on quality tea, I go get a good tin of authentic Russian tea. Something with some pine smoke flavour, it used to come from the pine cones used to fuel the samovar, but is now added since most samovars are electric.
After a few sessions tea drinking (it's what I did on Saturdays), I decided to fill up a cup of the brown stuff and take my chances. I poured myself a good 5-7 ounces and finished drinking it within half an hour. Vision crisps up, bit more vibrant, bit sharper. Euphoria. Restlessness.
Vision crisps up, bit more vibrant, bit sharper. Euphoria. Restlessness.
With in an hour, I decided that being in a house was too much and I needed to bike, for the next 4 hours or so. It was an amazing time, carefree in the warm summer sun, fueled by fusion, almost god-like. There was no comedown, it simply ended. I was already headed home when it all left me, I was awful close to pulling into a traffic circle (we have lovely gardens on ours) and taking a nap I was so damn tired. I could hardly keep my eyes open for the last 5 or 6 blocks, got to my bed and slept. Felt fine after good nap.
Another day, I drank properly prepared Russian tea almost continuously throughout the day, mixing it up with coffee and good chocolate. I started around 9 am with plans on attending a Gnostic Mass around 1pm. Around 10:30 I could feel my Tourettes acting up, not a huge concern, I use lessons from Tai Chi to keep it manageable in public. The Mass was particulary potent, the air shimmering and crystallizing. Xanthines make a wonderful vision enhancer, almost hallucinogenic. My evening I was starting to feel like I couldn't rid my self of my tics and the energy was building up on the surface of my body (normally I feel tics building up deep in my muscles). I started to feel larger, needed more space for my transforming mass. I grew bat like wings, long smooth claws, my mouth elongated and filled with teeth. I had played with some shape shifting previously, but had never achieved results like these. Animalistic alertness, simple but demanding, very physical, aggressive. I very much felt like I was supposed to fight with a large friend of mine, I knew well enough it would have been bad all around and was able to restrain myself.
I eventually crashed out well after midnight, collapsing into a heap of tourettic spasms, a bit of crying (my tics can get rather painful and I rarely break down in tics so badly in public), my friends took me home and set me to bed. I wasn't particularly interested in doing anything but lounging the next day, which was just fine with me. I would honestly consider that day a +++ on the Shulgin scale comparable to mushrooms. While I've gone through that transformation on other occasions since then, all were short term experiences with no lasting changes, other then the ability to willfully repeat the experience, although nowhere near as intense or all consuming.
There is a word in Russian, chephyr, that refers to a tea based drug used in gulags, made from boiled down tea rations. You save up a few days of tea and cook it down to a brown sludge. Supposed to get pretty trippy, I don't doubt it. I've never tried doing this, not yet. As long as your not in a gulag, how bad could it be? Well considering how strong zavarka is...
40 ounces of chilled espresso drunk in a few minutes, I had been working at a coffee shop and got bored. Full on wall breathing, wood grain flowing, weirdness with paisley and the like. Got kind of irrational, incoherent, my co-worker told me to stay in the kitchen when customers came in, I scrubbed that place down from top to bottom, hadn't been that clean since it was new. Three days later I hadn't slept. I suspect I kept up with the coffee drinking, though at maintenance levels (don't even want to think about what those were as far as quantity at that point in my habituation). My sleep deprivation was ended late on day three, intersession of my friends who pointed out that I was looking pretty bad, the face you don't want a suburb cop seeing. It was interesting, bit productive, but not worth repeating.
Two summers ago I got to spend a month in Bocas Del Toro, Panama, living in the rain forest with an incredible Ethnobotanist. I had been looking forward to chocolate there, but was sorely disappointed that the only stuff available was a granular milk chocolate bar that hardly gave me a lift. Took a while, but I finally got my hands on to a pod right off the cacao tree, it was divine. White soft flesh like a sour banana, dark brown seeds, hardly bitter, with a hint of what they could become. The whole thing must have been over a pound of flesh and seeds, utterly delicious. I don't go hiking without chocolate any more, not after that day.
The forest was old, real old, I couldn't help but feel the energy of the place, the forest itself was a strong as any drug. Toss in some real drugs and... Much like my first tea episode, euphoria, excitement, energy, but this time with a long smooth comedown with nothing but a positive after glow. It had been a rugged hike that day, almost 16 miles round trip from unimproved road to forest trails to fording meter plus deep rapids, struggling to keep upright while the local children swam with ease around us, and back again. We went all that way to talk to a family about plants, they fed us, and we often laughed, sometimes at each other, but always together. I made necklaces for all the children, simple, just a large forest bean in a piece of hemp twine, nothing I put mind to, but the effect on the kids who owned nothing was amazing. It was one of those days that will always be in my heart.
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