Why It's Not The Time To Kick Your Coffee Habit
Health |  Source: N. Leeper, Spencers.com

Why It's Not The Time To Kick Your Coffee Habit

A new study means more latte time.

Even before I had a daily Starbucks order, I was in love with the coffee bean. So, when studies found that coffee drinkers live longer, I was there for it.

When I was a kid, my mother ordered a hot cup of java from Dunkin Donuts (two sugars and one milk please) twice a day between her hospital shifts. As a shorter child, I stood adjacent to the kitchen counter and stared at the steaming cup eye-level. Once, when my mom wasn't looking, I drank the whole thing.

I'm not the only one either.

The Harvard School of Health website says that: "fifty four percent of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day," a citation provided by the National Coffee Association.

When a 2013 University of New Hampshire student thesis about caffeine habits - which dated coffee's origins in America back to the 17 century - asked college students "Which of the following caffeinated products do you consume?" 77 percent said they consumed coffee.

The UNH study also acknowledges just how important coffee is to the college grind (no pun intended) - and they're right. If I had a dime for every time I crawled to Starbucks for a caffeine, fix, I would be a rich woman. (I'm not, for the record, because I'm a frequent customer of a multibillion-dollar corporation that sells exorbitant expensive drinks).

The same student's honors thesis above also listed pros and cons to coffee drinking - but this is where new research gets interesting.

A Time health article published July 10 stated that "African Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos and whites who drank more than four cups of coffee a day showed an 18 percent lower risk of dying prematurely in the 16 years of follow-up." I've always felt a little guilty using caffeine to be awake before, say, 1 p.m.

But thanks to new medical reports, my caffeine fix just got that much sweeter.

A similar CNN article on the new find reported, "that mortality was inversely related to coffee consumption for heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease."

Considering that heart disease runs in my family (and I'm sure at least one of these runs in yours too), this means coffee might just save me from croaking before retirement. That is, if any of us millennials can actually afford retirement.

The Annal's of Eternal Medicine study proves what we knew all along: a stressful life leads to a happy wife. Or was it an apple a day that keeps the doctor away? Regardless, I now have a better excuse than lack of sleep to keep drinking $4.25 mocha lattes for the rest of my life.

There's no better high than when the barista slides over a steaming cup of coffee across the counter and now, I can know I'm adding years to my life, not subtracting them.

If only they can now find a study that suggests Starbucks should discount their coffee, then I would be golden.

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Nine Starbucks Hacks Baristas Don't Want You to Know

Tips from a former Starbs barista.

As a former barista, I have seen it all. Here are some tips I want to give all tired, broke college students to help you live a better, more caffeinated life.

1. A venti Frappuccino split into two cups makes exactly two talls. So before you pay $8 for two talls, get the $5 venti and politely ask for it split.

2. If you get a Refresher beverage, get tea in it instead of water. It is actually cheaper to get the tea with no water, sub Refresher juice and no classic sweetener. This only works if you don't mind not having the inclusions (they don't do anything but clog your straw anyway).

3. Refills on any iced/hot coffee and tea are 50 cents. They're FREE with a Starbucks gold card.

4. Cold brew iced coffee has 200mg of caffeine in a grande. A single shot of espresso has 75mg. A regular iced coffee 165mg. This makes Starbucks Cold Brew the best choice if you are trying to get the maximum bang for your buck.

5. Venti espresso beverages likely do not have more caffeine. A grande hot white mocha and a venti hot white mocha both get two shots of espresso. A venti iced drink gets three, while a grande iced only gets two.

6. The best thing you don't know about is the Starbucks doubleshot on ice. What is it? The best thing ever. Make sure to order it like that, or the barista won't know what you are trying to say.

It's basically an extra strong but cheaper latte. In a tall drink, you get two shots. You get three in a grande and four in a venti. The shots are poured over ice in a shaker and topped with milk in your cup. You can get it with classic syrup, or switch it up with vanilla, hazelnut or white mocha.

7. Order your breakfast sandwich double toasted for crispier bacon/sausage.

8. If you order something, pay for it, and then the barista tells you they are actually out of it, you can get anything on the menu for free. Example: you wanted a bacon gouda breakfast sandwich, you paid, they just found out that they're out. Congrats, you can get a far more expensive Panini now for the same price.

9. Mobile order on the Starbucks App to beat the line. All you have to do is verify your name and pick up your drink at the hand off plane. Magical, right?

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Health |  Source: anna42f

5 Reasons to Start Your Morning With a Cup of Coffee

A life saver.

I was never somebody who drank a lot of coffee or caffeine in general, until I came to college. Now I physically and mentally turn into a nasty troll when I don't get to sit in bed and sip my morning coffee peacefully before the whirlwind of my day begins.

If you're one of those people who can naturally wake up at the crack of dawn or instantly be in a great mood all day without losing energy, then good for you. Some of us weren't blessed in that way, which is why I'm here to tell you that coffee can seriously be your saving grace.

It's a great way to clear your mind before your day begins.
Waking up seven minutes earlier than you normally would just to sit in bed and drink your coffee is the most worthwhile thing I've learned to do in my 20's. Sitting in bed with your cup of coffee and zoning out, watching TV, or scrolling through social media can put your mind at ease - even if only for a few minutes.

It will make you poop.
And don't pretend like you don't enjoy a morning poop before you have to run to the office or class or wherever you're headed to that day. You'll feel lighter, happier, and more accomplished already.

Coffee can actually help your body burn fat.
Research shows that caffeine's effect on the central nervous system can increase your metabolism. Caffeine is a stimulant which is designed to increase neural firing in the brain, helping you feel more physically awake and active.

It's a much better alternative to other stimulating drinks like soda and energy drinks.
Even if you load your coffee with creamer and sugar, it's STILL a better alternative than drinking a sugar-loaded energy drink or can of soda. If you're one of those people who doesn't like the taste of black coffee and has to pour cream and sugar in your mug, then try switching to milk and Splenda, or buying low-fat coffee creamers.

It can be extremely good for your liver.
Ever wonder why coffee is known to help hangovers? Your liver, which is an immensely vital organ, is very vulnerable and easily hurt by excess alcohol consumption. Cirrhosis is the deterioration of the liver and is very detrimental to your body. Studies show that drinking coffee can lower your risk of Cirrhosis by as much as 80 percent.

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Health |  Source: @treycwong

Your Cup of Coffee is Ruining Your Diet

Bet you didn't think that was possible, huh?

For most of us, coffee is a lifeline. College students are basically dependent on the caffeine and energy boost it gives. And it makes it a whole lot easier to stay up til 3 a.m. writing that paper you put off until the last possible second.

Those of us who are trying to eat somewhat healthy probably don't account for the calories that our coffee drink adds, but I'm willing to bet it's worse for you than you think.

Store bought coffee creamers.
Going to the store and picking out a yummy coffee creamer is actually so exciting. You love the French Vanilla you had last time, but omg there's a new Sugar Cookie flavored one that you just have to try.

Sure, they liven up your coffee, but did you know that in most coffee creamers there's at least five grams of sugar and over 30 calories in just ONE tablespoon? Unless you're one of those people who likes your coffee black, you prob pour in waaaay more than one tablespoon. (Plus, most liquid coffee creamers are loaded full of trans-fat...and that's the worst kind.)

Your peppermint white mocha isn't really "coffee".
There's a huge difference in a cup of normal drip coffee and a mocha/latte. Lattes are made using espresso and steamed milk, and mochas are the same but with chocolate added, and most of the time it's topped with some yummy whipped cream.

A 16 oz mocha with whipped cream is 360 calories and 15 grams of fat. Even if you get it made with skim milk, the chocolate or pumpkin spice flavoring you're adding is full of sugar and extra unwanted calories.

According to WebMD, drinks with high-fructose syrup don't stimulate insulin secretion, which goes into your bloodstream to make you feel full. Basically, this means you could have a yummy PSL with the amount of calories as half a meal, but you would still be hungry..

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Cream and sugar in your coffee.

If you order a 12 oz cup of coffee and get six creams and six sugars added, you're basically just drinking cream and sugar with a side of coffee. I know it makes your coffee taste so much better, but that much extra sugar at least once a day on top of your regular diet is no bueno.

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Lucky for y'all, I'm a barista on the side and can give you some tips to help make your coffee less fattening and better for you.

Black coffee is the way to go.

I mean let's be real, most of us think this is absolutely disgusting, but it's actually good for you this way. It doesn't add extra calories or fat, and it gives your metabolism a boost in the morning.

Taking your coffee black can even reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's. Black coffee is an acquired taste... exactly like the beer you've grown to tolerate and actually enjoy.

Plus, you gotta stay up to study somehow, so you'll most likely get used to it real quick. But if you're like me and you literally cannot drink it black, add some skim milk and raw sugar or a stevia packet.

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Make your mocha or latte "no fun".

In the coffee world, "no fun" means non-fat and sugar-free. Most coffee shops have sugar-free chocolate and flavor options that will eliminate that extra sugar, but they'll make your drink just as tasty. Or better yet, go for a soy or almond milk latte to eliminate the dairy and make it even healthier.

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Limit yourself.

I'm not telling you to stop drinking multiple cups of coffee a day, I know that's not gonna happen for any of us. But if you have to get coffee, be aware of the amount of sugar you're putting into your body.

Yeah, that skinny vanilla latte is a great wake up drink in the morning, but when you get the urge for another one in the afternoon, try a small coffee with a shot of espresso added instead.

Truth is, it's impossible to live without coffee in college. But if you're like me, you pick and choose where your calories go--and let's be real, coffee probably isn't your beverage of choice for that.

Source: giphy.com

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Health |  Source: N. Leeper, classpass.com

Best Starbucks Drinks For Non-Coffee Drinkers

Starbucks supports their non-coffee drinking customers!

There is a huge misconception that you must love coffee to love Starbucks and that is totally false. From their iced chai to frappuccinos, Starbucks works to perfect the best Summer drinks for the non-coffee drinker. So, next time your friends go out for coffee, you can definitely order something and not feel left out!

The Pink Drink
Cool, refreshing and healthy - the pink drink is definitely the way to go if you're looking for something light to cool you down during these hot Summer months. Composed of a crisp strawberry and acai refresher, creamy coconut milk and strawberry halves, the pink drink is perfect for fruit lovers. If you're on a health kick, this is perfect because it only has two and a half grams of fat. Also, if you are looking for a wake-me-up, the pink drink has approximately 50 mg of caffeine - perfect for taking to an early morning beach trip!


Iced Green Tea Latte
This is def not your traditional iced green tea. Starbucks' iced green tea latte is made of a smooth matcha green tea and mixed with your choice of milk. If you're looking to expand your palate or are into trying new things, this drink is totally up your alley. The benefit of this drink is that you have the option to choose the kind of milk you want from non-fat to soy, which will alter the calories and fat content of the latte. The matcha in this drink is a more acquired and thicker taste than your traditional brewed green tea, totally worth the try!


Iced Chai Latte
Starbucks' iced chai latte is the closest you'll get to a drink that kind of mimics a creamy, iced coffee. This drink is bursting with flavor and is perfectly creamy but still will leave you cooled down during the summer.

With a base of black tea, this chai is infused with cinnamon, clove, ginger, star anise and other warm spices. In addition to the tea and spices, Starbucks gives you the option to make this sweet treat low or non-fat by changing the milk that is added to it. If you fall in love with this Summer drink, it's also great for the autumn and winter -- just ask for it hot!


Caramel Frappaccino
This next drink has a splash coffee thrown in there so it's perfect for those who enjoy the effects of caffeine but not the taste of coffee. If that sounds like you, give the caramel frappuccino a go!

This blended drink is a perfect combo of sticky, sweet caramel, a splash of coffee, your choice of milk and topped off with whip cream and caramel drizzle. Compared to Starbucks' iced teas, this frapp is heavier on the fat and calorie content but is seriously the perfect treat at the end of a hot day.


Teavana Shaken Iced Passion Tango Tea With Lemonade
The perfect cross between a light iced tea and a fruity tangy drink, the Teavana shaken iced passion fruit iced tea lemonade is both airy and full of bold flavors all at once. Made of hibiscus, lemon and apple and mixed with lemonade, this drink can be sweetened or unsweetened.

This tea has absolutely no fat content and would keep you refreshed and hydrated during a walk around town or a hot summer bike ride!


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Health |  Source: L. Smith, Shutterstock

Watch Out, There Could Be Poop In Your Coffee

Beware of crappy coffee.

Coffee lovers, get ready for a rude awakening.

According to a recent report by BBC's TV series Watchdog, your iced coffee might have traces of fecal matter in it.

You heard me, there could be poop in your morning pick-me-up.

Watchdog's researchers took samples from three major U.K. coffee chains--Starbucks, Caffe Nero and Costa Coffee--all of which were found to have varying levels of bacteria in their ice. This bacteria is resistant to cold temperatures and has the capability to grow in the human digestive track, a big no-no.

Out of ten iced coffee samples at each chain, Costa Coffee ranked the worst, with six out of ten samples having fecal contamination--Starbucks and Caffe Nero did a bit better, with "only" three out of ten. While the levels of actual contamination are fairly minuscule, it still doesn't fare well for anyone's health. Had any of these bacteria also been contaminated with E. Coli, anyone getting coffee also would have had a high risk of getting food poisoning.

This is all too much poop for my tastes (ew), and experts on the subject seem to share my opinion. According to a spokesperson for the food-safety group Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, "These should not be [feces] present at any level, never mind the significant numbers found." If that doesn't make you reconsider your iced latte, I don't know what will.

After the release of this research, all three coffee chains announced that they would be reevaluating their ice-handling procedures--thank God--and Starbucks has issued a complete internal investigation on the issue. Until we can be guaranteed that all the poop is gone, I recommend making your own coffee from home--or better yet, make the switch to green tea.