The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
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Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Caffeine Craze

From the conventional cup of coffee to the relatively recent Red Bull-type high-energy drinks, caffeine products have become hotter than ever, figuratively speaking.Jenni Mueller, a Texas A&M graduate student, said she drinks coffee daily and prefers decaf. While she occasionally drinks Coke – two to three times a week, she said – she doubts that any soft drinks, including the high-energy varieties, are a threat to the popularity of coffee. “I drink coffee for the taste, and I also like it because it’s warm,” Mueller said. “I think a lot of people feel this way … I think there always will be coffee lovers.”Given the marketability and trendiness associated with coffee shops, the fact that there are more than a dozen of them in College Station alone comes as no surprise. Ashley Vastine and Melissa Ward, co-workers at Sweet Eugene’s House of Java, note that several of their customers are regulars and frequent the coffee shop every few days, if not daily. “I think it’s a mental thing,” Vastine commented. “Coffee’s probably more addictive mentally – you think you need it, so it becomes a part of your routine. Our strongest drink is probably the ‘Eye Opener,’ and there are people that come by for one every day.” Vastine and Ward feel that their customers’ drink preferences are more influenced by waves of midterms and finals rather than by cold fronts and heat spells.An interesting phenomenon that works to preserve coffee lovers’ fidelity to their daily (or bi-weekly or hourly) cup is its association with intellectual sophistication. This relationship exploded with the Starbucks-Barnes and Noble association. Even on the A&M campus, Poor Yorick’s Coffee House faithfully stands beside Evans Library.Micky Ramirez, a frequent customer at Sweet Eugene’s, drinks around five cups a day and even takes straight black coffee before he works out. “It helps you focus,” Ramirez said. “You feel like you need it to function.” His favorite drink is white chocolate mocha, though he feels that the price of such drinks deters students from drinking them as often as they might otherwise. Because of the expense, Ramirez doubts that Red Bull-type drinks will ever become a replacement for coffee. “I like the way coffee tastes,” Ramirez said. “Plus, you get a different sort of buzz. Coffee makes you alert – you feel like you can focus, but Red Bull, you know, gives you wings. It makes you feel more peppy and energetic. I drink it if I have to drive somewhere, and I definitely think it’s marketed toward young people because they’re the ones that are most likely to be open to its different taste.” John Emsley, author of “Molecules at an Exhibition: Portraits of Intriguing Materials in Everyday Life,” devotes a full section in his book to caffeine. In it, he describes the history of Coca-Cola’s quick rise toward becoming one of the most popular drinks in the world, then launches into a scientific discussion of caffeine, in which he points out that “caffeine is not only a pick-me-up: It also has medicinal benefits, and is used in painkillers, asthma treatments and diet aids.” He adds, “caffeine withdrawal symptoms now seem to be accepted, and they are, in order of occurrence: headache, depression, fatigue, irritableness, nausea, vomiting.”Soft drinks and coffee are the most popular caffeinated beverages in the United States, though in other parts of the world, especially Asian and European countries, tea is much more popular. Emsley describes the additional benefits of tea that come from other chemicals it contains, namely those that fall into a group known as flavonoids, which are antioxidants. He referred to an experiment in which “a Dutch research team carried out a 15-year study on men aged 50 and over, and in 1996 reported their findings which showed that tea-drinkers had a much reduced incidence of stroke. They attributed this to the flavonoids’ capability of destroying free radicals.”College Station, among its several coffee shops, boasts a few tea houses as well. A popular one among students is the Cafe Beignets and Tea House on Texas Avenue, especially because it has a wide selection of flavorful, exotic tapioca, milk tea, Thai tea and green tea drinks.Kara Smith, senior Spanish major and fellow coffee lover, believes caffeine addiction in general is a myth. “I mean, I’m sure there are people that drink the energy drinks and buy the pills, but they probably do it under special circumstances,” she said. “I don’t like them because they really speed up your heart.”

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