Coffee: liquid gold or nasty, bitter water?

In life, there are two kinds of people: those who drink coffee and those who do not. The spectrum varies immensely: some love coffee, others drink it simply to stay awake. Some drink coffee with creamer, and others drink it black. Some cannot stand the taste, some love the taste and others learn to tolerate it over time.

With these diverse preferences in how to drink coffee and why to drink (or not drink) coffee, come various opinions on both the benefits and drawbacks of the drink.

Amidst these various perspectives, however, is one general consensus: we are living in a coffee culture.

“I think coffee is a cultural thing,” said sophomore Betsy Bolt. “People can bond over coffee, whether that is sitting down and talking while drinking it, talking about their favorite drinks or nerding-out together over different brews and roasts.”

Bolt, whose love for coffee started in high school, is a big proponent of coffee for several reasons.

“It keeps me awake and it tastes wonderful,” Bolt said. “I think it is kind of a comfort thing.”

Part of the comfort said to be found in coffee comes through connection. Whether meeting up with a friend to talk or drinking a cup during morning devotions, coffee creates an inviting space to open up and share in conversation.

Junior Ben Patzlaff is an advocate of coffee and conversation.

“Coffee is a mediator in conversation,” Patzlaff said. “It gives somebody something to fumble with in their hands as they are trying to continue a conversation or answer a hard question.”

An additional benefit coffee has been said to provide is energy: particularly energy to stay awake after late nights of studying. For sophomore Michaela Van Riesen, coffee is what keeps her going.

“Drinking coffee makes me feel warm and happy inside, and it tastes delicious,” said Van Riesen. “It also keeps me alert on those rough days. I like to call it my life-juice.”

Though it can be a great way to get that extra energy boost, the caffeine in coffee has been known to become addictive.

“If you become addicted to it that could be a negative,” said Patzlaff, “although there are much worse things to be addicted to.”

Junior Marquel Brunk, who does not consider herself a fan of coffee, agrees with the addictive nature of the drink.

“People can get addicted to it and if they don’t have coffee every day they get migraines.”

Brunk’s dislike of coffee began several years ago. When she was younger, she took a sip of her grandma’s black coffee, believing it to be very bitter.

“When I tasted the coffee I almost threw up,” Brunk said. “Ever since then, whenever I taste coffee it tastes like my grandma’s coffee.”

Even with additives, syrup flavors and sugar, Brunk still tastes the bitterness. Sophomore Jessica Mulder agrees with Brunk.

“I’ve only tried a few coffee drinks before, but I just can’t get over the taste,” Mulder said. “It’s bitter, gross, and plain. It blows my mind that there are people out there that can probably drink a gallon of it in a day.”

Also noted by Mulder is the downside of the extra expense that comes with a coffee habit.

“I think it’s a huge waste of money,” Mulder said. “I mean, imagine how many pizzas you could buy with all the money you spent on coffee every day?”