Back to school means back to the grind – in more ways than one! As the sun rises on a brand new semester, the annual return to campus comes with its own renaissance of caffeine-craving young adults withstanding long, arduous queues every morning for their fixes of various brews and blends.
Although it may seem like just a mundane given number of classes starting up again, some of us coffee-lovers wait with bated breath until shops in the Scrounge, Smith Hall, and Trabant open for the year. In fact, finalizing my meal plan for the semester is a really exciting and crucial aspect of moving back on campus for me because – hello – POINTS! You can be sure that I spend way too much time during the first couple days of the semester evenly dividing up my meal points by week so that I know just how much I can allot for my own café appointments.
That being said, being a proud and true caffeinator is not without challenges. Indeed, while the smell of a fresh cappuccino never fails to wake me up, and though the whir of a milk frother does delight me to no end, there are certainly several inconveniences that come with being a routine coffee-drinker.
The Dough: Although I consider myself an extreme cheapskate when it comes to everyday life, there’s something about buying coffee that turns me into an entirely different person. I will justify purchasing coffee for every possible reason: it’s been a long day, it’s my day off, it’s mid-week, it’s the weekend, it’s my study coffee before an exam, it’s my “you tried your best” coffee after one – you name the occasion, I’m probably getting something to celebrate.
I mean, I just had two mugs of café crema a la Caesar Rodney this morning – or like my old roommate like to call it, “battery acid” – then met up with a friend for a tall Starbucks Caramel Ribbon Crunch around 2 PM, and yet here I am considering getting in the temptingly short line at the Perkins Dunkin’ Donuts for a Toasted Almond Frozen Coffee with extra whipped cream (don’t judge). By the way, all the baristas at DD know my go-to order by heart, and as lovely as that is, I feel like that might be indicative of a problem.
The Disaccharides: The sugar rush that accompanies my frequent expeditions to coffee shops is real and very dangerous because I never just get a coffee. I can make a coffee with my very own Keurig and frothing wand back in my dorm room. If I’m ordering coffee, you I’m getting the Supreme Delicioso Toffeenut Frappuccino 3000 on steroids.
The Diuretic: Alright, I feel like we are friends enough that we can talk about this. I recently had a conversation about this with a friend – every now and then, I have one mug too many, and the coffee just cuts right through me. My busy days are the worst, and as much as I love my daily morning dose, I’m not sure if an extra mug of Joe is worth 21 trips to the ladies’ room for the rest of the day.
Additional Downsides: Let’s talk about pumpkin spice for a hot second here. Pumpkin is a squash. Squash is a vegetable. Vegetables do NOT belong in my latte. No matter how much spice you are adding to make it sound cute.
Also, I wonder why there are, like, 45 different varieties of coffee wherever I go. It’s very confusing. I just want a modest hazelnut macchiato. But now, I have the options of a breve, romano, freddo, and a cortado. Fun fact: most types of coffee have exactly the same ingredients, just with different ratios of espresso, milk, and foam. I think the coffee gods just got super excited and went to town one day. Correct me if I’m wrong, but half of them sound like names of fancy pastas, anyway. So, ristretto and affogato, you have my love, but feel free to make your way back to the Olive Garden.
But all roasts aside, coffee has certainly developed into an integral part of college culture. From late night cram sessions to chilling with friends on a lazy afternoon, caffeine has become a common thread through which we share laughs and create memories. And hey, I’m here for it all the way.
This Month’s #CoffeeRoast:
I met with a colleague at Brewed Awakenings (my personal favorite Main Street café) earlier today, and we both ordered a small cold brew with a flavor syrup of our choice. There was a considerably lengthy list hanging limply off the drip machine, with some fascinating flavor choices such as pineapple and eggnog, which I guess people like with their coffee nowadays? My colleague went for the banana, while I picked Irish cream, inspired by my favorite flavor of Bailey’s coffee creamer (concoction in question pictured above). The best way to describe this drink is “nice”. It definitely was not the most earth-shattering caffeine beverage I have ever had; the sweetness did overpower the bitterness of the espresso that I enjoy. But I have to admit, it was a simple, chilly comfort on an unexpectedly toasty day. To be honest, I really wouldn’t mind trying praline, English toffee, or macadamia nut on a return visit. In other words, not a high recommendation, but certainly a flexible menu item that lets you “espresso” yourself (sorry, I had to)!
Caffeinated Articles by Some Decent Human “Beans”
“What I Learned From Quitting Coffee After 15 Years of Daily Consumption” by Angelo Belardi:
“Here’s Some Money Advice: Just Buy the Coffee” by Tim Herrera:
“A Glossary of Coffee Terms” by Oliver Strand: