Got the coffee itch?

Coffee consumption is common among high-school students; caffeine-addiction often results

Did you know that coffee was first discovered in AD 850 by an Ethiopian goat herder? He noticed his goats were ‘dancing’ after eating red berries. The red berries came from a coffee bush. So what does an Ethiopian goat herder have anything to do with me you ask? Well, it’s not the Ethiopian goat herder that matters, but his discovery. A few hundred years later in AD 1971 the first Starbucks was opened.

With the daily routines of work, school sports and extracurricular activities, waking up early is not an easy task, not to mention staying awake. So what do Minnehaha students reach for when they need that extra boost of energy: a monster, pop, candy or coffee?

Well, sorry to tell you MA, but the latter (coffee) has been tested and proven to be extremely addictive. Those symptoms of nausea, headaches and complete inability to function might very well be coming from that hot cup of Joe you had this morning.

Withdrawal: that feeling you get when you want, (sometimes feel you need) something. A common caffeine/coffee withdrawal symptom is headaches. It is one of many including: fatigue, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, as well as muscle pain and stiffness, the list goes on. Withdrawal comes from a routine activity and when that activity is ended your body (physically, emotionally or mentally) reacts to the sudden change.

Sophomore Erin LeVahn took her first sip of coffee at the age of eight, but later in the eighth grade was when she began drinking coffee regularly.

“It began with the taste,” she said.

Like many, she enjoyed her coffee with lots of cream and many packets of sugar. She soon came to realize that without that daily cup, the headaches would come.

“If I was going to drink it as often as I do, I can’t have that much sugar,” she said.

She began to take her coffee black, even though she preferred the sweet creamy taste.

Coffee is like a drug in the same way that addiction can and does occur. Another similarity is that it affects certain people in different ways.

Math teacher Richard Pluntz also drinks coffee often, daily to be precise.

“I started [drinking coffee] after college, when I started a career,” Pluntz said.

When he began his career he needed that boost of energy to wake him up those early mornings. Like LeVahn, Pluntz also began with sugar and cream, but his preferences changed to straight black coffee.

Physically Pluntz knows he’s not addicted, but emotionally he is.

“If I had to stop, I would,” he said.

Whether physically addicted as in LeVahn’s case, emotionally addicted as in Pluntz’s case or mentally the facts remain, any addiction can be rehabilitated.

The withdrawal symptoms for coffee are visible for 12 to 24 hours after the last amount of coffee. The best way to rid your addiction is by gradually decreasing your coffee intake over a time period of one to two weeks.

But for those of you who would rather not “quit” coffee, a new brand of coffee comes to mind.

Exclusively sold at Lunds and Byerly’s is the Ten Peaks African Mori brand of coffee. The new brand offers people the chance to measure out the amount of caffeine they need.

The brand has four different caffeine percentages: 100, 72, 34 or one. According to the Facebook page, the new brand allegedly offers that “fine artisanal experience you expect, with just the amount of energy you need”.

Though that Ethiopian goat herder may have discovered that coffee bush those many years ago, we owe it to him to enjoy his discovery in a way that will not harm us.

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About Pauline Ojambo

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