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3 Reasons Why I’m Anti-Caffeine

Cover Photo by Nick de Partee via Unsplash

I’ve always found the idea of caffeine to be a bit off-putting. Beyond the fact that I’m poorly suited to the bitter taste of coffee, I’ve done my best to avoid fueling my body with an unending stream of stimulants. Upon arriving on my college campus last fall, however, I became genuinely scared by the sheer volume of caffeine I saw my peers consuming. (A double shot espresso in the wee hours of the morning?) Cups from our landmark Collegetown Bagels, Gimme! Coffee, and (unavoidably) Starbucks were the few constants in an ecosystem that seemed to be constantly changing, evolving. 

I’d be lying if I said I’ve never queued up a massive dark roast coffee after pulling a demi-all-nighter the night before a deadline. Haven’t we all? Amidst the ubiquity, however, I’ve done my best to steer clear of caffeine culture. Why?

1. It feels kind of like cheating. 

Before you throw shade, I know this is a profoundly unpopular opinion. I suppose it’s really just an example of “using your resources,” but something about getting that little leg up just doesn’t sit quite right with me. Call me old-fashioned.

2. It’s not cheap!

Let’s not gloss over the immense scale of the caffeine market. The coffee and tea industries were valued at a sum of $142.1 billion in 2019. Forecasts for 2023 place the figure at $191.1 billion. Sure, there are a lot of people consuming these products around the globe, but individual expenditures are nothing to scoff at. Amerisleep found that Americans in the 25-34 age bracket spend an average of $2,008 per year on coffee. What would you do with all that extra dough?

3. It’s a quick fix for an enduring problem. 

I see caffeine as a metaphorical Band Aid. If the problem is that you are not getting enough sleep or that you are overloading yourself with responsibilities to the point that you’re running yourself into the ground, no number of cups of coffee will address those larger issues. However, it is important to recognize that in cases where this shift is simply unfeasible — take single parents working multiple jobs, for example — caffeine can be a powerful tool. 

A brief disclaimer: I know caffeine can be sneaky. It hides in a lot of our favorite foods. Dark chocolate is perhaps the most salient example in my book, carrying about 12 milligrams per ounce. While I’m pretty passionate about dark chocolate (especially when it’s fair trade), I don’t seek it out for the caffeine — instead, this is a concession I unfortunately must make to the powers that be. 

What’s your take on caffeine? Let us know in the poll below. 

Cover Photo by Nick de Partee via Unsplash

  • How do you feel about caffeine?

    • at this point, it’s a part of me
    • I enjoy the occasional iced coffee
    • no caffeine for me!

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Written by Megan Pontin

Enthusiastic word-collector, avid pancake-consumer, and experienced hammock-lounger. Student at Cornell University.

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