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College Students and Coffee: 13 Statistics to Know in 2022

hispanic female student using laptop near coffee mug

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

Starbucks and other major coffee houses are cropping up on college and university campuses around the country, and coffee is becoming the drink of choice for a lot of teenagers. While the potential dangers of energy drinks are touted in the media, little is said about the possible side effects of coffee. Reasons for its popularity include its apparent capability to help lose weight and burn fat, as well as its ability to increase concentration and heighten alertness. It is also said to improve physical performance and stamina. However, it is also said to cause insomnia, especially if drank too late in the evening, and it can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Below, we have curated 13 statistics relating to coffee consumption in college students. Research into caffeine consumption in teens has slowed during the pandemic, so many of the statistics date from pre-2020.

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The 13 College Students and Coffee Statistics

  1. 92% of students consume caffeine.
  2. 74% of students drink coffee in the morning.
  3. 13–18-year-olds saw the greatest increase in coffee intake in 2017, of any age group.
  4. Coffee is the preferred caffeine drink in male and female students.
  5. 26% of students study in coffee shops at least once a week.
  6. 30% of students make their own coffee rather than buy from coffee shops.
  7. The most commonly cited reason for caffeine consumption is to feel awake.
  8. Other common reasons include enjoying the taste, the social aspects, and to improve concentration.
  9. Only 27% of students said they believed coffee to be a positive substance.
  10. 24% of students drink a cup of coffee every day.
  11. Approximately one-third said that they had consumed energy drinks within a 30-day period.
  12. The average student drinks just over two cups of coffee per day.
  13. 37% of 13–18-year-olds drink coffee every day.

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Coffee Consumption In Students

1. 92% of students consume caffeine.

(National Library Of Medicine)

Caffeine is said to improve levels of alertness while also reducing fatigue, which enables the brain to better retain information. With students under high levels of pressure to digest and remember large volumes of data, often in a short space of time, it has some obvious benefits for college age students. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, 92% of students said that they consume caffeine.

students studying with coffee in their hands
Image Credit: Keira Burton, Pexels

2. 74% of students drink coffee in the morning.

(Exponent)

Coffee raises blood pressure and your heart rate making you feel more awake and because it is a stimulant, it is also habit forming, which helps explain why so many people say they can’t function until they’ve had their first cup of coffee in the morning. Students are no different, with nearly three quarters, or 74%, saying that they drink coffee in the morning, fuelling their brain and ensuring they are alert in time for classes.


3. 13–18-year-olds saw the greatest increase in coffee intake in 2017, of any age group.

(National Coffee Association USA)

Compared to tea and alcohol, which have been drunk for several thousands of years, coffee is a relatively new drink. Although it is likely that it has been consumed in drink form for 1,000 years, and there are question marks over its origin, its history can only be definitely traced back around 500 years. However, since its first sip it has become one of the most popular non-alcoholic beverages in the world, and it only seems to be getting more popular. In 2017, 62% of Americans said that they drink coffee, compared to just 57% in 2016, and the age group that saw the biggest increase was that of 13–18-year-olds. In 2016, 31% of this age group said they drank coffee. In 2017, the number had risen to 37%. And back in 2014, the figure was just 23%.

a female with coffee working on her laptop
Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Caffeine Delivery Statistics

4. Coffee is the preferred caffeine drink in male and female students.

(National Library Of Medicine)

There has been a lot of press about the amount of energy drinks that young people, and especially teenagers, consume, but coffee remains the most popular means of caffeine delivery in students. Energy drinks made up less than half of the total caffeine consumed on a daily basis.


5. 26% of students study in coffee shops at least once a week.

(State News)

Availability of coffee is likely a driving factor in the increasing number of students that drink the hot beverage. Multiple coffee shops, including major chains and boutique coffee shops, are found on most high streets, while a lot of college and university campuses now have a Starbucks or other coffee shop. These campus coffee shops serve as a meeting place, typically offer free Internet access, and they allow for social interaction. They also serve coffee. More than a quarter of students study in coffee shops at least once a week.

students in coffee shop
Image Credit: OrnaW, Pixabay

6. 30% of students make their own coffee rather than buy from coffee shops.

(State News)

However, while coffee shops are gaining in popularity, this isn’t the chosen source of coffee for a lot of students. Making coffee, whether instant, filter, or specialty coffee, is cheaper and enables access to caffeinated drinks at any time of day. 30% of students say that they make their own coffee, rather than buy from coffee shops.


The Effects

7. The most commonly cited reason for caffeine consumption is to feel awake.

(National Library Of Medicine)

Although 28% of students said that they have drunk energy drinks in an alcoholic drink, the most common reason for consuming coffee is to help feel awake.

a woman drinking coffee
Image Credit: Bogdan Glisik, Pexels

8. Other common reasons include enjoying the taste, the social aspects, and to improve concentration.

(Science Direct)

Students also said that they consume coffee because they like the taste, because of the social aspects of drinking it, and to improve concentration, with others saying it improves physical energy levels, mood, and it helps alleviate stress.


9. Only 27% of students said they believed coffee to be a positive substance.

(Exponent)

Despite the numerous reasons given, however, only 27% of students believe coffee to be a positive substance, when presented with the options of neutral, positive, or negative. 48% said that they believed it to be neutral and just 11% said it was negative. 14% responded “other”.

woman closing her eyes and smiling with a coffee cup in her hand
Image Credit: Tirachard Kumtanom, Pexels

Frequency

10. 24% of students drink a cup of coffee every day.

(State News)

Some studies suggest that drinking up to three cups of coffee per day can impart certain health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart attacks and Parkinson’s disease, although certain groups of people are advised to limit their intake or avoid caffeine altogether. Nearly a quarter, 24%, of students drink at least one cup of coffee every single day.


11. Approximately one-third of students said that they had consumed energy drinks within a 30-day period.

(Science Direct)

While about a quarter of students drink coffee every single day, only 33% of those surveyed had consumed an energy drink in the 30 days before. The high levels of caffeine in energy drinks, combined with other ingredients like taurine, can cause an elevated spike in heart rhythm, while many have very high levels of sugar in a can, hence why there are more warnings regarding energy drink consumption.

woman drinking bang energy drink
Image Credit: Sean Patrick, Pexels

12. The average student drinks just over two cups of coffee per day.

(Exponent)

Coffee drinking can become part of a daily ritual with cups of coffee before work, on breaks, and with lunch. The average student drinks just over two cups of coffee per day, with increased intake around intensive periods of study, for example leading up to exam periods or coursework deadlines.


13. 37% of 13–18-year-olds drink coffee every day.

(Medical News Today)

It isn’t just college students that consume coffee, of course, and one survey suggests that more than a third, or 37%, of teenagers aged between 13 and 18 drink at least one cup of coffee every single day.

student writing on her notebook near a cup of coffee
Image Credit: Sam Lion, Pexels

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Frequently Asked Questions About College Students And Coffee

What Are The Benefits Of Drinking Coffee?

As well as evidence to suggest that coffee makes people more alert and can alleviate signs of tiredness, multiple studies have shown there are certain health benefits to drinking coffee. In particular, drinking the right amount of coffee, usually stated as being between one and three cups a day, reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, stroke, heart failure, Alzheimer’s, colon cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. It can also protect the liver and strengthen DNA strands. (Hopkins Medicine)

What Are The Pitfalls Of Drinking Coffee?

Up to four cups of coffee is generally considered safe for a healthy adult. However, there are some side effects that usually present when a person consumes too much coffee or drinks it late at night. Such negative side effects of coffee consumption can include insomnia, restlessness, elevated heart rate, nausea, and vomiting. (WebMD)

woman drinking coffee
Image Credit: Ketut Subiyanto, Pexels

Is Coffee Addictive?

Coffee, or caffeinated coffee, is considered addictive. Once consumed, it quickly enters the bloodstream and it enters the brain, thanks to its fat-soluble and water-soluble properties. From here, it can prevent adenosine receptors that make people feel tired while also releasing dopamine and adrenaline. The brain craves more of these chemicals, which can lead to addiction. (Addiction Center)

Who Shouldn’t Drink Coffee?

Certain groups of people are discouraged from drinking coffee or, at least, limiting the amount of coffee consumed per day. Pregnant women are told to avoid coffee, while people with anxiety or depression, as well as those with high blood pressure, are also advised to steer clear of the drink. Young children should avoid consuming caffeine because of the increase in heart rate, too. For otherwise healthy adults, caffeine and coffee are considered safe. (Healthline)

Is One Cup Of Coffee A Day Harmful?

Not only is a reasonable amount of coffee each day considered safe, but it might have some health benefits that can extend a person’s life expectancy. A healthy adult can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, which is equivalent to four cups of coffee. Although the safe amount can vary according to the type and size of coffee drink consumed, one cup of coffee is generally considered a safe amount. (Mayo Clinic)

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Conclusion

Coffee is consumed by millions of people across the country every day and is one of the most popular non-alcoholic beverages in the world. It is revered for its ability to enhance alertness and reduce fatigue, which offer obvious benefits to college students, and the numbers bear this out. Coffee is very popular, and seemingly getting even more popular, with college-age students and, more generally, with 13–18-year-olds.


Featured Image Credit: Liza Summer, Pexels

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Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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