By: Efrat Malachi | Opinions  | 

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Whether it’s an espresso, a cappuccino, or a latte, at its core lies a pure, simple ingredient – coffee. Although it seems harmless, the clever content marketed by Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts has stealthily wedged its way into our thoughts and morphed itself into a driving force within our lives. Recognizing its damaging psychological effects can help prevent problems from forming and developing further. This is not to say that the entire coffee enterprise in America is one big hoax, but it has stormed many frail wallets and robbed people of their hard-earned money and sanity.

I’m mostly concerned, though, with the fact that the cup of “coffee” most dream of nowadays is a magnified spin-off of the original. The focus has shifted to the minute features of a coffee drink. The main thing that matters is the grandiose appearance, which is ascribed to the whipped cream and caramel drizzle on top. Marketing teams across the country have enjoyed playing with our vulnerable psyches. As a consequence for the acceleration of capitalism and consumerism, it has become almost effortless for sellers to convince people of buying and investing in their promised products. And as consumers, we tend to lean towards the more expensive brands since high quality is important and associated with higher costs, but that’s not always the case. For honesty’s sake, there is no secret element within the mix of drinks we buy and no dramatic, fundamental difference between coffee beans at competing coffee houses, including big brand names.

That is not to say that the cuboid ice, smooth syrup, fresh milk, and sweet toppings don’t appeal to the eye and delight our taste buds. However, they do take away from the coffee, turning the focal point of the drink into a minor detail. While this isn’t necessarily wrong, it seems as if these “coffee” drinks are being portrayed in a slightly flawed light; its essence is masked by all the sugar and milk. Sometimes, keeping things simple with our coffee is better and more desirable. It allows us to indulge in its simplistic perfection.

To go even further, instead of caring about the coffee itself, what we really crave is the sophistication and respect it represents. One of the reasons why we all love to carry around a nice cup of iced coffee or a steaming, foam latte, especially when we don’t really care to have one, is because there is, to some degree, a sense of lacking and void that we millennials are trying to fill. We want to feel like an adult and somehow coffee is tightly linked with maturity, professionalism, and success, all things we desperately desire.

I must include that I don’t discriminate between Starbucks lovers and Dunkin’ lovers. Whoever you are and whichever “coach” you choose to motivate you is based on your own choice. One should not mindlessly go with the flow of societal standards and pressures. Not everyone needs to be a die-hard Starbucks fan just because of its prestigious symbol, and not everyone needs to rock the Dunkin’ Donuts swag and receive all its benefits and perks. They each have their pros and cons, but what draws them together is this commonality of serving coffee. And just so you know, there is even coffee being sold on street corners and private shops that are highly underestimated.

These are all simply observations of behavior and how they are highly influenced by the media and social expectations. This does not mean that your morning coffee dictates your every move and mood throughout the day. It’s only one of the many effects I’ve experienced, and seen others experience as well. A person can live a wonderful, happy, and fulfilled life with or without coffee. It’s just striking to see how many people decline in their wellness for a drink that they don’t always seem to need or enjoy. At the end of the day, coffee is a stimulant that we might come to depend on, and so it can easily turn into an addiction.

On the brighter side of things, coffee is a form of motivation. It gives people that psychological and physiological push to meet academic demands, deadlines, and expectations. It can lift your spirits and positively alter your mood. Coffee can work against you, but when done right, it will be that moral voice and supportive coach standing behind every word of a toilsome essay and homework assignment . Additionally, it spices up your life with the array of flavors and seasonal specials that are available.

The original cup of Joe (i.e. black coffee) isn’t for everyone. Because of that, we have come a long way in revolutionizing coffee, turning it into a universal idea and a vernacular for industrious minds. It is fascinating how the coffee of today has created a whole new ball game for capitalists. Subjectivity and diversity have become the focal point for our modern-day cup. They are what entertain our minds and excite our lives, primary objectives for the everyday millennial. This burst of creativity and imagination promotes pride in one’s own individuality and encourages self-expression through endless, potential coffee options.

Fortunately, coffee companies and shops have given people the opportunity to pour their emotions into their drinks and you can learn a lot about a person based on their order. Various aspects of one’s personality can come out through their cup. Sometimes, it even works the other way around by influencing behavior and forming certain traits. For example, once a person transforms into a caffeinated creature, it increases their energy levels and awareness, leading to positive changes in performance, efficiency, and productivity. People’s senses are heightened and they become more sensitive and aware of their surroundings, resulting in them being more conscientious, responsive, and fun.

Finally, coffee helps people get things done. It has become a symbol of success, effort, and achievement. It encourages people to work hard as they enter adulthood and fulfill the infinite responsibilities that tag along with it. When brewed properly and served right, coffee can become your friend. However, be cautious of taking it to extreme levels, as that can ultimately lead you down troubled roads. Applying the principle of moderation with your coffee intake will decrease dependency and increase satisfaction with your coffee experience. So, next time you plan on buying a cup of coffee, remember to not hold anything back and just express-o yourself.