The evolution of a coffee habit


Emma Stewart, Editor in Chief

Senior Shelby Reeves, a fellow editor of the WEB, parks her cherry red Ford Escape on the curb of Northridge Parkway, directly in front of the Café. She saunters in, brushing her long hair behind her shoulders and, coming face-to-face with the barista who has her order (as well as many other Ames High student’s) down to a par, requests a tall drink of “whatever has the highest caffeine content available”. This is a ritual familiar to the lives of many girls at Ames High, the final product of years of commercial coffee exposure.

The minute a girl turns 13, her life changes forever. Suddenly, maturity isn’t measured in the number of rhinestones on her Miss-Me jeans, but rather the amount of (notably less expensive) coffee she is able to consume. The reasoning behind this? Simple. Adults drink coffee like water, so shouldn’t a young teenage girl, reaching helplessly for the silver-lining of adulthood, as well?

It starts with the teen Mecca of coffee – the face of a mermaid enclosed in a forest green circle beckoning you to take of sip of the near future. The consumption of coffee must start somewhere, so you root yourself into drinking peppermint mochas packed so full of sugar and so devoid of the distinct bitterness of coffee it leaves your tongue tingling. That’s the thing about coffee, you don’t just like it the moment you try it- it has an acquired taste that takes days, weeks, maybe even months to teach oneself to like.

This peppermint mocha, skinny-vanilla, and cinnamon dolce latte phase lasts for the first couple years of high school, until even a triple shot Venti of your favorite order (as Reeves attests) won’t keep you awake. Soon, you find yourself cringing at the evident processed chemical makeup of your drink.

This is when local coffee shops (much like the Café) enter the game plan, whose coffee becomes essential to your life the moment second period disappears from your class schedule (i.e. me). It’s an evolutionary change inevitable to any coffee drinker’s fate and the bittersweet realization that Starbucks can’t provide you with the “good stuff” anymore hits your adolescent heart hard.

The portion of the male population, who once mocked the countless number of sugar-stuffed mochas you toted into class, suddenly tips their hats towards the toned down, local version of coffee that has made its way into your morning routine. This is when the evolution has hit its final stage. Your taste buds suddenly scream for the black-as-night coffee your dad pours in his cup every morning before leaving for work and you wonder when you became the person. The person who does, in fact, drink coffee like water.

It happens within only a matter of four years, this evolution of a person’s taste for coffee. I myself know the feeling of nostalgia that comes with the return of pumpkin spice lattes in the fall; once loved and ordered up to the largest capacity, now are too sweet for even me to drink. That distinct, bitter taste of coffee is something that no longer needs to be masked and, by the time your senior year rolls around, this will become true for most of the students in your class. Embrace the evolution (and the unavoidable fate for sugary coffee), because local baristas are sure to know your order and the spelling of your name more accurately than the Starbucks employee in that infamous green apron.