College students: complicated relationship with caffeine

Latte Shot

Coffee Art has become a new trend surfacing across all Social Media platforms — Photograph by Shannon O’Mara

The University of Denver is home to Beans Coffee Shop. Beans is a student run café that is located in the middle of campus. Beans has become a happening location on campus, serving over a 100 happy caffeine consuming customers a day.

University of Denver second year, Veronica Angell has been working at Beans for about 6 months. She loves her job because she is a part of something successful that people on campus love and support constantly.

One of the people that Angell serves is University of Denver, third year accounting major, Courtney Smith. Because of the vigorous expectations for accounting majors, Smith spends long hours awake in the library studying every element that is necessary for the accounting core. These long hours in the library cause Smith to rely on caffeine to function each and everyday.

“I feel like I depend on coffee to keep my chipper mood. I have friends and professors who are able to gauge if I had my cup of coffee in the morning or not… I tried switching to tea but I started to get headaches because my body felt like it was not getting the proper amount of caffeine.” Smith says.

How much really is too much? US news helped readers understand how much caffeine intake is healthy for the body to consume on a daily basis. The average to moderate healthy intake of caffeine is approximately 300mg, which looks like 3 cups of coffee or 4 cups of tea.


Is it Healthy?

The University of Denver has been ranked one of the healthiest campuses in the country. Third year accounting major, Sydney Goetz remembers when those rankings were released.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘Do I contribute to the healthy community of our campus?’ The first thing that I started to look at was my caffeine intake. I was drinking 4-6 cups of coffee a day. I learned while reading an article that women should only be consuming around 3 cups of coffee. ”

Because of that simple article, Goetz began drinking decaf instead of regular coffee. Coffee and the culture that it provides had become too much of her daily life that she was not able to truly stop drinking it. But is decaf the regular drink for University of Denver students? According to Angell, the two most popular drinks at Beans Coffee shop are black coffees with no room and lattes.

If one orders to many of these caffeinated drinks, The Mayo Clinic claims that it can lead to many physical and mental problems:

  • stomach ulcers
  • acid reflux
  • breast cysts
  • sleep disorders
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • delusions or psychosis (only in very high doses)
  • restlessness/anxiety
  • increased urination
  • irregular or rapid heart rate
  • rambling speech and thoughts
  • disorientation
Beans Logo

The floor mat that hundreds of feet walk over entering the caffeine capital on campus — Photograph by Shannon O’Mara

More Stress? More Coffee?

During finals Angell felt like the sizes and frequency of orders almost doubled.

“We definitely have our regulars that come in everyday and order the same drinks. Midterms and finals week are when we have to stock up a little more on beans and syrups because more students are coming in to fill up on their caffeine” Angell states.

The last three weeks have been laborious for accounting majors. With three large tests and small quizzes during each week Smith feels as though she has increased her drinking habits.

Smith has started to reflect more on the “The one thing that I find hard to grasp is how much money I spend on caffeine”, said Smith, “It’s an expensive addiction. I probably spend 35-40 dollars a week on coffee.”

“The one thing that I do love about coffee on the University of Denver campus is that it always seems to bring people together. It is such a common thing to meet up with friends and classmates over a cup of coffee” Goetz states after reflecting on why she still continues to drink decaf. “Coffee is part of culture I am just not able to give up.”

When asked if they would quit drinking coffee all together, each participant laughed and stated that they did not see that happening anytime soon.

“It is definitely a love hate relationship. I can’t live with it because I get the jitters, but I cannot live without it because I get terrible headaches,” says Smith, “But I guess that is the price I am going to have to pay if I want to succeed.”


One Response to College students: complicated relationship with caffeine

  • Brielle Durant says:

    Shannon – This article is very relatable for almost every college student and I found it very interesting to read. I had no idea that 3 cups of coffee per day was the healthy limit. Those are good facts to know for when finals week approaches. It was interesting to hear from a girl who actually works at Beans as it adds more depth to your article and cool to hear her take on the coffee orders and the way those orders change and increase based on the time of the school year. I agree with your interviewees that is in an expensive addiction and that I as well can tell when I haven’t had enough caffeine and the role that plays in my daily mood. Great article!

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