Students embrace a caffeinated culture


Sydney Wuu

Elizabeth Wang (‘21) poses with her brand-new Nespresso Essenza Mini coffee machine in her North Hutch dorm room.

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. It is 5:30 a.m., and your right arm instinctively reaches out to tap the Snooze button on your iPhone alarm. You eventually get up, grab your textbook, and submerge yourself in the confusing words swimming on the page. When the clock strikes 6:45 a.m., you trudge to Price Dining Hall and fix yourself a steaming cup of black coffee with two added vanilla creamers. Over time, this culture of caffeine morphs into your daily routine.

As the second quarter comes to a close, many boarders and day students alike have sacrificed their sleep or even pulled all-nighters to prioritize academics over health. Many face steep consequences the next day as it becomes more difficult for them to focus in class without falling asleep. To many, it may seem like there is only one solution to combat this sleep-deficient problem: coffee.

Caroline Metyas (‘20), a coffee aficionado, said, “I don’t think I could live without coffee. I drink two cups a day, one in the morning and one when I get back from school because I’m so exhausted. Caffeine energizes me and I have three different types of coffee machines at home that I use regularly. In fact, I even bought a new espresso yesterday for Cyber Monday. My go-to coffee order is an iced vanilla oak milk latte.” 

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 80% of American adults consume caffeine-infused beverages on a daily basis. Many students at Webb rely on the vitalizing jolt of this central nervous system stimulant to stay fully alert while studying or just for the satisfying flavor.

Sara Hagiwara (‘20) said, “I started drinking coffee in the seventh grade. I drink coffee so frequently because I tend to stay up late and the caffeine keeps me focused on my homework. One drawback I’ve noticed is that it’s difficult for me to fall asleep if I drink too much before bedtime. I’ve also noticed that I need to drink more and more over time to maintain the same level of alertness. My go-to order is either a mint mojito at Philz or caramel macchiato at Starbucks.”

Jonathan Becker (‘20) said, “I drink coffee a few times per day, depending on how much free time I have. I’m physically dependent on it to an extent, so it doesn’t really have much of a boost for my schoolwork or activities; it’s more of a hobby and addiction. My preferred brewing method is pour over on a Hario V60 cone, but I’ll drink almost anything. I think the drawbacks for Webb students mostly come from people who only drink it on high-pressure occasions or are only used to diluted espresso-based drinks and try to drink large amounts of drip.”

Some boarding students even own their individual coffee machines so that they can get their caffeine fix from the comfort of their dorm rooms.

Elizabeth Wang (‘21) said, “I used to drink a lot of Red Bull over the summer to stay awake while studying for the SAT, so my friend gave me a Nespresso machine for my birthday because he thought it would be a healthier alternative to transition into coffee from energy drinks. The machine is super convenient because you can just put the pod in, add milk, and it’ll automatically make it into a latte. Looking towards midterms, I’m super happy with this gift because it’s sustainable, it’ll help me focus, and it’ll also save me from a lot of Target runs.”

Other Webbies like Imani Carter (‘23) drink coffee just to enjoy its taste, not for its added psychological benefits.

Imani said, “I drink at least five cups of coffee a week because I love the taste. I started at least three years ago. For me, coffee has a double-effect because sometimes it makes it so I’m not sleepy anymore, while other times it helps me fall asleep. At Webb, I use the ice coffee machine or get straight black coffee from the station near the door.”

In this challenging three-week stretch before Christmas break, it is important to notice when you become too reliant on caffeinated drinks in lieu of sleeping and time management. Prioritizing healthy habits, anticipating long nights, and avoiding procrastination will ultimately lead to both long-term happiness and school success.