Students and the Growing Coffee Craze

For many of us, the day doesn’t start until we’ve had our cup of coffee. The instant jolt helps us kick-start a Monday, and continues us on our daily routine. But why do so many people still reach for their second or even third cup of coffee throughout the day? Research may point to some interesting reasons, and it’s more than caffeine addiction.

The average person doesn’t consume coffee on the regular just for the taste. Its caffeine, about 95mg per 8oz, is a brain stimulant, making the mind more focused, alert, and “awake” upon drinking. It’s been proven to help the brain’s developmental functions, alongside nutritional benefits and decreased risk of heart disease and some cancers. However, studies suggest that it has become a habit, and after routine consumption, eventually the body needs more caffeine to benefit from it, leading to another “half-pour”.

Marketing agencies are promoting coffee now more than ever, competing to get their signature cups in the hands of more than 83% of Americans who drink it. The nation is hooked; those who drink coffee nowadays are spending more money than ever on such an inexpensive staple.

It seems as though gourmet coffee shops, like Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, are raising their prices on simple drinks, but their consumers are buying into it all. A study by CBS Moneywatch notes that prices have increased dramatically, an upwards of 15% more per pound from the last year. And in September of 2017, Starbucks sneakily increased the prices of 10% of its menu items in roughly 8,000 locations. Business Insider even stated that “the Price increases ranged from 10 to 30 cents and varied based on the market” (Taylor, 2017).

Whether it be for an early-morning wake-up, curing the afternoon slump, fueling a late-night study session, or simply to gain attention on social media, it’s clear that no one can get enough of the brew, no matter the price.

Millennials are not drinking more coffee than previous generations, but they are spending more of their money on high-quality experiences. They long for that aesthetic swirl of a latte from a local café or the bright and eye-capturing sprinkles of a “Unicorn Frappuccino”, and they are willing to spend whatever it takes for a short-lived, but high-end pleasure.

With social media accounts dedicated to the artful photographs of food and beverages, ran by self-proclaimed “foodies”, more companies are competing to make their drinks better than ever, hoping that their cups will get the advertising. A large percentage of the coffee consumed on average is for marketing purpose, trying to show off the company you bought your maple-peppermint-pumpkin spice-lavender-delight flat white with extra whip from.

Societal factors play a huge role in coffee consumption, and it has everything we love; energy, status, and personalization. Today’s generation is taking over the coffee markets, and it doesn’t look like there’s any stopping it now. The next time you pour that cup, think about why you’re doing it and how it benefits you, and you may shock yourself.