Sep 242002
Authors: Willow Welter

The line of coffee-craving students at Sweet Sinsations, the coffee shop in the Lory Student Center, often stretches into the hallway.

Kristin Parson, a junior psychology major, says she drinks at least five cups of coffee a week, primarily when she studies at night.

Aside from staying awake for study sessions, other students said their coffee drinking depends on several factors, from the season to the price.

“I definitely drink more coffee in the winter,” said Scott Merrill, a graduate student of ecology. “I drink coffee every day in the winter and only a few times a week during the summer.”

On the other hand, David Datsko, a sophomore engineering major, said he wishes he could drink more than his average two cups of coffee a week.

“I would probably drink more if it wasn’t so expensive,” Datsko said.

Many students tend to drink caffeine for the usual reason: they feel tired and want the help of a stimulant to wake them up.

Lindsay Hansen, a senior health and exercise science major, said she drinks about two cups a week, more if she hasn’t gotten enough sleep. She mainly drinks it in the mornings, or at night if she’s studying.

Some students avoid coffee altogether. A few of them simply expressed that coffee is “gross,” while others gave different reasons.

“I try not to drink caffeine,” said Tori Fanning, a junior human development and family studies major. “Mainly I don’t want to start because I don’t want to get addicted or accustomed to it.”

Drinking a few cups of caffeine per week is not typically detrimental to a person’s health, said Sondra Friou, a registered dietician with the Hartshorn Health Center. In fact, Friou explained, it would probably require much more than a cup of coffee per day to cause harm.

“It really depends on the individual and on the coffee,” said Beth Schinkel, also a registered dietician at Hartshorn. “I read that darker roast is less potent in caffeine, and lighter roast is more potent.”

Friou said she estimates any more than three cups of coffee in one sitting is too much.

“People who are especially prone to nervousness, anxiety or insomnia shouldn’t drink as much coffee,” Friou said. “Also, if you were pregnant you wouldn’t want to have more than two to three cups a day.”

Schinkel says consuming more than 350 milligrams of caffeine per day can be deemed “excess.” However, she insisted, for people with certain health problems like high blood pressure, the number drops.

“You also have to consider how much tea a person drinks, or how much chocolate,” Friou added. “Or even Mountain Dew. It’s all about the same as drinking coffee.”

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