Caffeine in the College Life
Make sure that you find the right caffeinated beverage for you with this informational list and quiz.
Written by: Christina Ibos
According to the National Library of Medicine in 2019, a recorded 92% of U.S. college students were all regularly consuming a well-known drug that some may view as Life-Giving. This is the same one that graced the window of “Central Perk,” that drove Loreli Gilmore to Luke Danes, that gave Uncle Iroh peace and contentment, and gave Tweek his tweeaak! If you read the title of this article and have excellent investigative skills, you then know that this holy grail, this pure nirvana, this vivacious bliss, is, of course, Caffeine.
From coffee beans to dried tea leaves to bubbling energy drinks, caffeine covers a vast amount of beverages. The only way to balance your classes, homework, job, late-night games, and rowdy parties is not keeping to a regular sleeping schedule, but delving into the sixth official food group of delicious coffee, steaming hot tea, and energizing drinks. Whether you already consume caffeine regularly or want to start, make sure you know which kind is the best for you.
By far the most popular and most widely consumed caffeinated drink, coffee originates from ancient Ethiopian fields. As the National Coffee Association explains, Kaldi, a goat herder, found that the berries of coffee bean trees caused his goats to jump around like kids on a sugar high (get it — ”kids”?). Within the realm of coffee, different types contain different amounts of caffeine based on how they are made.
Light Roast Coffee:
This coffee is brewed with lightly roasted beans, meaning that the flavor is more subtle and the beans are smaller so more can be included in one brew. Therefore, light roast coffee has the most caffeine for each cup consumed. Many flavored brews use this type as the base because it tastes the least bitter. Some people will still add sugar to light roast brews, but depending on your preferences, many people enjoy this type of coffee with just a splash of creamer or milk.
Dark Roast Coffee:
Before describing this type of brew, ask yourself this question: “Do I like burnt popcorn?” Because, unless you grew up in the early 20th century of Europe where this roast originated, most people will only prefer the unique taste of dark roast coffee if the answer is a confident and profound Yes! There are exceptions to this answer such as: you’re over 50 years old; you find that things are better with a side of bitterness; and/or don’t want too much caffeine in your coffee. But, be warned that this brew is not for the faint of taste. Make sure you have adequate amounts of sugar and creamer/milk if you try it.
Lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, red-eyes, frappuccinos, americanos and dirty chais all have the most concentrated form of coffee: Es-pres-so. (Notice that there’s no “x.” ES-presso. ES.) You will definitely need sugar or cream/milk with this one. Espresso is used in lattes with steamed milk, cappuccinos with mostly foam, and macchiatos with only foam. If you like sweet beverages, definitely order one of these, because flavored syrup and espresso go together like peanut butter and jelly, puppies and kittens, and dungeons and dragons. You will not be disappointed.
Contrary to the popular saying, “Spill the tea,” which implies ~drama~, people who enjoy this drink tend to be carefree. Their persona is synonymous to a yoga session, a spa day, or anything where you can be both grounded and lightweight. There are several kinds of tea and hundreds of different flavors — not all of which are caffeinated. Sometimes, as Uncle Iroh once said, tea can appear to be “nothing more than hot leaf juice,” but make sure to give this beverage a try. Nothing says “wellness and contentment” like a bit of steeped green sencha tea.
According to ArtfulTea, this is one of the most popular types of caffeinated tea, as it’s often used as a breakfast tea. Just like in “The Crown,” this tea can give you the most authentic English aesthetic. Due to the way it is made, black tea is acidic and pungent in flavor. However, depending on the ingredients it’s mixed with, it can offer a strong, delicious taste with enough caffeine to get a tired college student through the day. Notable flavors include cinnamon, lavender and chai.
Oolong tea isn’t an overly popular type of tea. It's second in caffeine-level to black tea, but the amount can vary depending on how the tea is made. The taste also depends on how it’s made, but the variety in oolong tea can provide a quality of uniqueness and unpredictability that not much else in this article can. If you strongly believe that, “Conventionality is the refuge of a stagnant mind,” like Alexandra Townsend, or if you just want to shake up your daily routine, definitely check this tea out.
Now this tea has significantly less caffeine than the rest of the list, so if your sole purpose for reading this is to get your caffeine buzz, this isn’t the drink for you. However, if you are looking to be included in the caffeine college crowd but find that too much caffeine can leave your heart in tune with an offbeat grade school rock band — try this drink. If oolong tea’s traits are uniqueness and unpredictability, green tea’s are harmony and tranquility. Mixing ginger, lemon and some different fruit flavors with this tea will result in some eurythmic drinks.
By far the least caffeinated tea and the least flavorful, this one is for the cliquey sophisticated tea drinker. One who likes to rattle off, “Grapefruit Vanilla White tea is delicious,” or “Bashan Silver Tip White tea is the best tea ever created.” This is for the people who want to be a part of this caffeine group while still standing out.
It appears that every day brings a new energy drink brand. From the classic 5-Hour Energy shot to the good ol’ Redbull, these beverages grow and grow. This genre of caffeinated drink appeals to a particular type of person: one who has some level of anxiety or ADHD, who finds that coffee is too bitter or who likes to perform well athletically. Of course, these traits do not pertain to every energy drinker, but for some reason energy drinks are desirable to people like this. Because of the sheer amount of options — Mountain Dew Rise, Amp, Kickstart, Bang, Reign, Monster, G Fuel, V8 Energy, Full Throttle, NOS, Celsius, Rockstar Energy — this article will not include a breakdown of each one. This beverage is by far the most caffeinated category and sweetest.
The Caffeine College Crowd is certainly a wide and diverse group, one that anyone can be a part of. While a regular sleep schedule can most definitely eliminate any need for caffeine, there’s nothing like brewing coffee first thing in the morning, smelling the flavorful notes of steeping tea, or cracking open a crisp carbonated energy drink. Joining this crowd will immediately connect you with thousands of generations who have all found happiness, peace, and buzzing energy within caffeine. Check out this quiz to figure out the best beverage to enter the wonderful world of caffeine.
After the quiz, make sure to add up the numbers you picked (yes, math is involved- sorry in advance). But be careful — the numbers are different for some questions! If you find that simple addition is simply making you crazy, another way of discerning your drink will be included with the results. Have fun!
1. You LOVE caffeine.
5. Absolutely — with my whole heart!
0. Not Really
1. Meh — Unsure
2. Bitter things don’t phase you.
2. Ew — get that stuff away from me
1. I don’t really care
3. You love Yoga.
5. You could call me a Yogi Master
2. I would never *looks aghast*
1. Never tried — what is…yopa?
4. Pick your favorite show.
0. None of the above
5. Your Parents / Guardians drink…
5. Coffee / Energy Drinks
0. Nothing / why would I know that?
6. Among your friends you are most like…
5. The crazy / athletic one
2. The calm / mom one
0. None of the above
7. Which animal is most like you?
5. bull / cheetah / golden retriever
2. panda / turtle / butterfly
0. None of these
8. You have a flair for propriety and sophistication.
5. Of course, kind sir.
2. Not me.
0. I don’t know
9. In this article, you liked which beverage most?
1. Energy Drinks
0- 14 pts./ Mostly last options selected.
If you scored between these numbers, sorry, but you are probably trying to get into the wrong crowd. No offense, because you’re most likely living your best life with plenty of sleep and time to actually read the texts your professors assign. In fact, you’re probably very smart, but not quite meant for this group of hooligans. However, if you really want to be, you definitely can be a part of this crowd — everyone is welcome, even those with their life put together.
15-24 pts./ Mostly second options selected
Welcome to the Tea party! Based on your score, you should try drinking tea. Make sure to try each kind before deciding which one is the best and don’t be afraid to put a little honey, milk, cream, or sugar into it. Enjoy!
25-35 pts./ Mostly first options selected
Bazinga! You are most likely to enjoy energy drinks if you score between these numbers. There are so many options available — you will never get bored. When in doubt, crack open a new one, because there is probably no end to the number of different energy drinks. Get energized!
35-45 pts./ Almost all first options selected
Wow, you’re the goat! Based on your score, you are akin to the ancient Ethiopian goats who found the coffee bean. Dip into your roots and try some fresh hot or cold coffee!