It is universally known that morning grogginess is one of the worst feelings to be welcomed with, as the dawn glow peaks through our curtains. If we were to get that sense of pure alertness every morning – the same feeling we used to get as children – would we still want to fill our bodies with the dark-chestnut, magical liquid that is more commonly known as coffee?
Sometimes I do wonder; does coffee have a placebo effect upon us? As there have been times when I have been deprived of my post-awakening cup and do feel more alive as the hours roll on. Or, is it the case that we are such an impatient bunch who must feel at peak readiness to begin the day as soon as we open our eyes from slumber? Upon reflection, I think it might be the latter. At the end of the day, (or the start in this case) coffee isn’t always consumed to make us feel like we can get the day done, it also comes down to the fact that it is just pretty damn tasty.
The cost of coffee
Now if you don’t drink coffee, A) I’m surprised you’ve made it this far into this piece and B) it’s probably a good thing as it’s a drink that doesn’t often come cheap. With the average price for a cup costing £2.60, that figure can grow into something quite spectacular. According to britishcoffeeassociation.org, 80% of those who enjoy a cup of coffee out of the house do so every week, whilst the remainder purchase a coffee on a daily basis. Now, let’s do some maths here – for those who visit a coffee shop once a week and assuming the price for the coffee is the national average, a forgivable total of £135 would be spent on coffee for that year. In the grand(e) scheme of things, that isn’t too bad. However, for those who indulge in a fresh coffee daily (and for arguments sake, let’s say that’s a working week, so 5), you’d be spending a whopping £676 per annum – and that’s based on the average! If you’re into your double-shot, Trenta-cappuccino with vanilla syrup, you’re looking at a tad more for your average.
Coffee drinking demographic
Surprisingly, those aged 65+ consume more coffee than the younger generations, which in this era, with those on the hunt for the most idyllic coffee art in a shabby chic café setting to put onto the Gram, I would’ve suspected under 25’s to be the ones that indulge in the drink more frequently. In 2019, it was recorded that a massive 95 million cups of coffee were consumed daily in the UK – 25 million more than the previous year. Says a lot about 2019, eh?
What really happens
Caffeine affects the body in many ways: from increasing alertness, metabolic rate and boosting your mood. But it’s also very common for coffee drinkers to experience what is known as ‘the crash’, where too much coffee can have the opposite effect to its purpose. From a personal study with my housemates, it takes approximately 4 cups of coffee for us to experience ‘the crash’, so we try and avoid drinking any more than 3 to ensure this affect doesn’t hit us. The best way to monitor your coffee drinking before experiencing the sluggish aftermath is to take note of the intervals between each cup. It takes an average of 45 minutes from the moment you take your first sip for the caffeine to have physical affects upon the body, so it is best to wait around an hour from the point you finished one cup before moving onto the next.
Costa vs. Red Bull
Something to be aware of is that Costa Coffee’s flat whites – a particularly trendy drink at current – has 277mg of caffeine, which to many people is a statistic that is meaningless, but when put in comparison to Red Bull, a 250ml-can contains just 80mg of caffeine. So, just when you thought that Red Bull is the best source of energy when on a hangover, you know just where to turn now!
When compared to other competitors, Starbucks’ flat white contains 160mg of caffeine, whilst Nero’s contains 3 times LESS caffeine to Costa’s at just 86mg, whilst Pret has even less with a mere 65mg. There are pros and cons of which one you go for – if you know you’ve got hectic day ahead and you need the extra push to get through, Costa is going to be your best bet, but if you’re the sort of person to lose sleep over drinking too much caffeine, you might want to avoid Costa Coffee after 5pm.