Coffee was once the province of adults working late into the evening. But since the rise of the college coffeehouse during the countercultural movement of the 1960s, coffee has been an established part of campus life, and college students are consuming it in record amounts. And no wonder—with their loads of homework, night classes and a healthy social life that moves from day into night, coffee’s energy jolt is an absolute necessity on campus.
Beyond coffee’s stimulant properties, coffee has woven itself into the cultural fabric of campus life—from the latest espresso drink to creative latté art. It’s not unusual to hear an 18-year-old claim she couldn’t survive a single day without coffee.
The Caffeine Effect
While it’s a misconception that college students need more sleep than older adults, students may have significantly more demands on their time, and thus a greater need for the kind of stamina coffee provides. Highly-ranked colleges tend to keep students burning the midnight oil, and many students have part- or full-time jobs on top of their studies—not to mention an understandable desire for a social life. Fortunately, coffee often helps to make it all possible!
Coffee As a Health Kick
A recent study suggests that college students may be more attuned to dietary health than their predecessors. A growing number of students are swapping out soda for coffee as their caffeine provider of choice, as the artificial sweeteners or sugar content of most sodas are common knowledge among twentysomethings. Coffee boasts a long list of healthy side benefits that soda cannot: decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, increased endurance and even better long-term memory. Coffee’s reputation of helping the brain function not only faster, but also better, allows it to make even more sense from an academic perspective.
The Campus Café
While students have been bussing café tables for decades, a growing trend on campus is the student-run coffee shop, which offers a chance to build resumé experience not only in foodservice, but also in customer service and general management. These coffee shops, operated entirely by students, are a great way to test-drive skills in a familiar and non-threatening workplace with an easy commute.
Whether as staff or customer, a college student sooner or later finds himself at the campus café, the heartbeat of the college social scene. Cafés are inextricably linked to conversation and dating, but never more so than in the university district, which is mostly populated with singles. The café is a neutral location — a so-called “third place” — and various studies of coffee shops as third places have shown that factors such as comfortable furniture, appealing aroma and access to natural light all contribute to the universal popularity of the typical American café as a meeting location.