It’s hot, it smells good, it’s good enough to have every day, it makes us nervous, and it keeps us up all night. There are many reasons why we worship coffee, but is it really the coffee that we are all falling madly in love with, or is it the caffeine that is hidden inside?
Beginning the day with a cup of Joe has become a ritual for many people. Especially for college students, brewing a pot the moment the alarm goes off in the morning is a necessity. Without the immediate kick of coffee, many of us have difficulty doing even the simplest of activities, like walking to class.
Kaitlyn Luckow, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, became dependent on caffeine in high school. But like many people, she hated the bitter taste of coffee. Now that she’s older and a more experienced coffee drinker, she appreciates the taste.
"I started off with lattes and now I just drink black coffee. It’s kind of my life-line. You kind of need it to survive as a college student with all-night study sessions and whatnot," Luckow said.
Thankfully, there are benefits to drinking coffee. Not only does it wake us up and keep us energized on even the worst days, but if consumed in moderation (about two to four cups per day), coffee drinkers are at a lesser risk of getting some cancers as well as Type II Diabetes.
"Coffee is good in moderation, but it’s just like drinking red wine. There are benefits, but if you’re drinking a bottle of red wine every night it’s probably not good for you; same with coffee. If you’re drinking eight venti lattes a day, it’s probably not too good for you," said Bri Tarpey, a senior at UWSP and Starbucks barista on campus for three years.
Depending on how much caffeine you are used to consuming in a day determines how sensitive you are to its waking effects. Unfortunately, with heavy drinking (more than four cups a day), there are also negative effects such as increased blood pressure, insomnia and symptoms such as headaches and difficulty concentrating during withdrawal.
"If I don’t have caffeine I literally get sick. That’s probably not good, but I love it," Luckow said.
"I used to drink a lot less coffee before I worked with Starbucks, but now that I work here I probably drink four cups a day when I’m on a coffee-drinking high. I drink a lot more coffee than I probably should," Tapey said.
Many may have heard over the years that a side effect of coffee is that it stunts growth. Thankfully, that age-old tale isn’t completely true. If it were, all of us coffee addicts would be walking around at three feet tall. Unfortunately, if grandma is downing Folgers like it runs through the faucet, chances are she can’t reach the cupboards any longer.
Why is this? Because there is a correlation between coffee and the loss of bone mass in the elderly, but that is due to the fact that the majority of the elderly are already lacking in calcium, causing them to shrink, and thus explaining why grandma is so short.
Tapey often notices the "regulars" who come in to Starbucks, making several trips in one day, often staying for refills. Fortunately for these people, caffeine addiction is accepted in our society. This makes for good news to all those whose life without it would be unbearable.