Students reflect on their coffee consumption habits and its effects on their lives.

By Hallie Underwood, ‘20, and Ayah Elsheikh, ‘20. 

Whether it is waking up earlier to grab a lattefrom a drive-thru before school, pouring some espresso into a mug from the coffee maker at home, or otherwise, some coffee down the hatch is the reality for 70 percent of students at UAHS.

According to a report from Espresso Business Solutions, over 400 million cups of coffee are made each day.  At visible coffee locations, an average of 250 cups of coffee and espresso are sold and 50 percent of the American population is estimated to drink some type of coffee regularly.

In Upper Arlington, the influence of caffeine can be spotted everywhere. The Starbucks shops on Lane Avenue and Tremont Road are popular locations for local residents and the student-run coffee shop UA Rise operates in the UAHS cafeteria. How can the effects of this influence be seen among the student body?


Freshman Rachel Thyer began drinking coffee in sixth grade and began incorporating coffee into her weekly routine. 

I love just coffee with a little cream and sugar, but if I want something sweeter I will get a hot caramel latte,” Thyer said.

Sophomore Joseph Driscoll prefers drinking iced coffee to hot coffee, and his favorite order is an iced cafe mocha. He began drinking coffee primarily for the taste. 

“I don’t think students are too dependent on it,” Driscoll said. “Drinking coffee does keep me awake for the first few periods after I drink it in the morning.”

Thyer agrees that most students are not dependent on coffee, and there can be benefits to a caffeinated UAHS community. 

“Since a lot of us aren’t getting much sleep I would say that it’s helpful,” Thyer said. “I think that everyone has to make that decision on their own [about] what is right for them.”

Senior Zane Wulliger, however, feels differently about the beverage, deeming his relationship a “coffee addiction.” He began drinking coffee on a trip to New York with his choir last year. Early one morning, Wulliger decided to try a cup of coffee with his breakfast after his friends suggested it. 

“My consumption only went up from there,” Wulliger said. “Fast forward to a year later, I now drink coffee one or two times daily. It’s just that little kick in the morning where it makes the day good, but without it, the day becomes a total trainwreck.”

Wulliger typically drinks black coffee, occasionally adding sweetener or syrup. He says that coffee helps him to not only stay awake during the day, but to function entirely.

“Just like water, if my body doesn’t have coffee I feel like I’m shutting down,” Wulliger said.

Senior Anna Schrader is an employee at Colin’s Coffee, and interacts with young customers as she takes their orders. Schrader sees the degree to which students like Wulliger rely on coffee.

I really do think some students and staff are too dependent on caffeine and I do worry about them sometimes,” Schrader said.


There are students who heavily rely on coffee, and students who do not drink it, such as senior Peter Johanni. Johanni dislikes the smell and taste of coffee, opting for hot chocolate when in need of a hot drink instead. He believes Starbucks is a main cause for the popularity surrounding coffee at UAHS and in the United States.

“I think people like the sugar that they load their coffee with, and they don’t see it as unhealthy, even when it is full of sugar,” Johanni said. “ [Coffee] is a short term boost for a long term loss. From what I’ve heard, you become dependent on it. I’ve seen a lot of people that have to have it to function, so it puts them in a worse place than when they start.”

For those who struggle without strong coffee, Schrader recommends exploring alternatives at their local coffee shops.

“There are all sorts of delicious options with less caffeine in them that can still help you stay awake without being the equivalent of a quad shot,” Schrader said.


“My bank account is hurting from how much I spend on coffee and I know it,” Wulliger said. “It’s just I’m so dependent on it. It’s just like ‘oops’ as I walk away with the drink in my hand. I have a job, so it’s not too bad, but I’d definitely have a lot more money if I didn’t spend so much on coffee.”