coffeeCollege students often have morning routines along with millions of others Americans.Whether that includes eating last night’s pizza leftovers, taking a cold shower because your roommates took all the warm water, or even wearing questionable clothes because you haven’t had a chance to do laundry yet. For many college students, including myself, mornings include lots of coffee, and this summer has been no different (took out “for myself”). But what is it about coffee that just gets us going: The Smell, The Caffeine, or The Taste? It differs across the board what it is to you. Coffee for me is arguably 1/3 of everything I drink, so what is it doing in terms of my health? I decided to look a little into what exactly coffee offers in terms of benefits or on the flipside, what is it harming?

According to, there are four main points which create an “overview” of coffee.


1) Aroma is defined as an odor whilst taste is the sense experienced by the tongue and describes sensations of saltiness, sweetness, sourness or bitterness. Flavor is a combination of both aroma and taste.


2) A large number of volatile compounds are associated with flavor in coffee, a smaller proportion of which are responsible for coffee aroma.


3) Experts define and describe the aroma and taste of coffee, generating profiles that differ according to type of coffee bean, geographical location, level of roasting and preparation method.


4) Drinking coffee provides a multisensory experience influenced not only by the type of coffee, preparation method, and any additions, but also by the environment including the drinking vessel.


When we wake up in the morning, we all want to feel that sense of alertness, but for most students we aren’t able to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep. So what relation does coffee have to that sensation? According to the website previously mentioned, “Caffeine’s ability to enhance alertness and sustain attention has been well documented. The primary mode of action of caffeine as a mild central nervous system stimulant is related to its action as an adenosine receptor antagonist. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that a cause and effect relationship has been established between a 75mg serving of caffeine and both increased attention and alertness.” SO put into human terms, for an average human being a 75mg serving of caffeine which roughly estimates to a cup of coffee (depending on roast, among many other factors) will result in both increased attention and alertness.

Coffee has so many other benefits, along with a few concerns that students should be aware of since it’s the lifeblood of us! Check out the article to learn about them all!

“Success is a journey but we treat it like a place and it doesn’t make sense if you don’t you enjoy the ride.”


-Riley Pink

Coffee Savy

coffee savy picNow in days, walking into a coffee shop can be a bit intimidating. Not only are the drinks at coffee shops complicated and European sounding, the sizes are just as confusing.  To cut some of the stress you experience while translating the menu, I thought I’d explain some of the basic drink options, and the best ways to order without busting your diet.

Latte / Mocha Latte
Let’s start with the classic Latte. This is a popular favorite drink to on the menu, because it is simple and not too intimidating. Lattes are made up espresso and steamed milk, topped with a little foam.  Mocha Latte, is simply a latte with dark chocolate sauce added. It you’re someone who likes your drink sweet; try it with skim milk and a sugar-free flavoring.  A Mocha Latte is about 330 calories, verses a classic Latte that has only 190 calories.

Similar to lattes the Cappuccino is solely steamed milk and espresso. The only difference is that the Cappuccino has more foam on top. That’s it. For someone who doesn’t like the taste of steamed milk, ask for your Cappuccino dry, this just means less milk and more foam. For a 16 oz. drink you’re looking at around 140 calories.

A Macchiato is one of the most commonly forgotten about drinks, thanks to Starbucks. Unlike the Starbucks version, a real Macchiato is just espresso topped with foam. If you’re looking for a caffeine kick, it will definitely get the job done.  The real Macchiato has about 6 calories, but the Starbucks version has about 240 calories in a 16 oz. cup. Ouch! Try it skinny (Skim milk, sugar free flavoring, and no whip cream) to save about 100 calories!

Red Eye
Speaking of getting your caffeine fix, a Red Eye can also offer that. This drink is coffee and espresso. Although this may seem tempting when tired, be careful about your caffeine intake. You should be drinking twice as much water as coffee to stay properly hydrated. This coffee beverage has roughly about 10 calories in a 16 oz cup.

A favorite to many (well, to me at least) the Americano consists of espresso and hot water. Ultimately it tastes similar to coffee with the main difference being that it has more caffeine.  For this delicious beverage enjoy it for only 6 calories!

The Frappuccino was basically developed for those who do not like the taste of coffee but want the caffeine… and calories. They are blended Lattes with added caramel or chocolate as well as topped with whipped crème. If you were trying to be careful about which coffee drinks to order, I’d stay away from this one. BUT if you are an absolute lover of the Frappuccino, try to ask for non-fat milk as well as passing on the whipped crème and extra toppings on top. This option will bring your calorie count down to about 250 versus the average 410 calorie drink. This is also based off of the 16 oz. size drink.

Overall the best drinks to order are the ones not including extra whip crème, flavoring, or toppings. The least calorie drinks include Red Eyes, Americanos, Coffee, or Esspresso. Although the Lattes, Mochas, and Frappuccinos are yummy, try to not make those an everyday drink or your diet will suffer. Perhaps even making them your special occasion drinks!

Another option to think about is going decaf or half-caf. If your dietary needs do not allow you to drink caffeinated drinks, ask for DECAF. Most of the time any of the drinks listed above can be made with decaf coffee/ decaf espresso. Or you can ask for half-caf. which is half the amount of caffeine.  According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult can drink up to 400 mg of caffeine a day and still be OKAY. This totals to around 4 cups of coffee.

Whichever the coffee drink is that you prefer, I hope this helps you to decipher the menu next time you so bravely step into a coffee shop. There’s nothing worse than ordering something you don’t know what is that, just to find out it is filled with hidden calories!

* The calorie counts were taken from the official Starbucks Coffee nutritional facts sheet and are subject to change according to where to buy coffee. They are meant to be rough estimates. *

Stay Healthy, Stay Strong,

Mary Marren

The PERKS of Coffee

Coffee photoAre you one of those people that can’t go a day without their morning “cup of Joe?” Well I sure am! Coffee keeps me normal and allows me to function. Am I addicted? Possibly. There are the myths out there that “coffee will stunt your growth” or “it causes heart disease and cancer.” With these risks at hand, I thought maybe I should quit drinking it and find a new morning pick-me-up. Then I researched the health benefits of coffee and thought again. Here is what I found:

  • Coffee helps protect your brain. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  Studies show that even just the smell of coffee can stimulate the brain and reduce stress caused from lack of sleep.
  • Coffee helps your skin glow. It also helps your skin from developing skin cancer. Coffee gives you energy, which makes your body more rejuvenated causing you to look more fresh and ready for your day.
  • Coffee helps clean out your body. Those that drink coffee have a lower risk of prostate cancer because the caffeine in coffee is a stimulant that forces the toxins and stool out of your system. The antioxidants in coffee also help prevent liver disease.
  • Coffee helps keeps you slim. The caffeine in coffee is known to speed up your metabolism and allow the process of fat burning to quicken. This allows a person to lower their risk of type 2 diabetes and also obesity. If you stay away from all the creamer, sugar, sweeteners, and flavorings, then coffee is one of the lowest-calorie drinks around.

Now that you read all of the positive facts when it comes to consuming coffee, here are some not so pleasant things to remember.

  • Those people that drink four or more cups of coffee per day could start to become restless, irritable, and can cause great anxiety when it comes to daily life tasks. High consumption of unfiltered coffee is associated with elevations in individuals’ cholesterol levels.
  • Keep your coffee drinking to 1-4 cups per day and you may experience some positive benefits. Anything beyond that can cause you to become addicted and dependent, making those days without caffeine absolutely miserable! Remember, “1” cup of coffee means 8 oz. So filling up your thermos four times is definitely more than you should be consuming, so be mindful!

Keep in mind the motto “everything is good for you in moderation” and you will have no problems. So whether you drink coffee now, or you have thought about giving it a try, do it! The benefits are great and the TASTE is even better.

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going”
~Kenzi Weidman

Sources: EatingWell Coffee Benefits Coffee and Health Big Perks of Coffee