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Study shows millennials consume more coffee than previous generations

<p>Photo Illustration | Millennials – people between the ages of 18 and 34 – have been increasing the amount of coffee they drink, and now account for about 44 percent of global coffee consumption.</p>

Photo Illustration | Millennials – people between the ages of 18 and 34 – have been increasing the amount of coffee they drink, and now account for about 44 percent of global coffee consumption.

Not only is coffee trendy on Instagram, but the caffeinated drink is being consumed in large quantities by millennials who are increasing its price and demand to historic records.

Millennials between ages 19 and 34 have caused a surge in U.S. demand for coffee, consuming about 44 percent of it and making it a top five raw material on the Bloomberg Commodity Index, according to the Washington Post.

The coffee trend is also starting young, with those born after 1995 beginning to consume it at about age 14.

Millennials consume more coffee than other generations have in order to stay alert and keep up with their busy lives, said Chung Yang, a distinguished professor and John L. Colaizzi Endowed Chair in Pharmacy.

“Coffee is more appealing to millennials possibly because of the images presented by Starbucks and the media,” he said.

Two forces are driving millennials' increasing coffee consumption, the Washington Post reported.

Coffee culture, including the proliferation of coffee shops, is driving the recent increase in consumption, according to the article. Urbanization is another factor, with those who move into cities beginning to consume coffee for the first time.  

The status, experience and personalization attached to coffee embodies millennial values, according to the article. It is more socially acceptable and trendy to drink coffee compared to other beverages, such as soda.

Due to increasing demand, the price of certain coffee beans is skyrocketing and has reached the highest level since early 2015, the Washington Post reported. Investors should expect more gains in the future, with demand over the next year potentially outstripping supply.

Coffee shops can be seen all throughout New Brunswick, said Jessica Strauss, a School of Social Work junior.

“There is coffee everywhere. To-go cups can be seen in student’s hands, Keurigs are in their dorms, we even have coffee vending machines in the library,” she said.

As Strauss walks to class every morning, she said the Dunkin Donuts line is out the door.

“People rely on coffee in college,” she said. “Even late at night in the library, everyone is drinking coffee. I am used to having a cup in the morning occasionally, but I see people drink it all the time, everywhere.”

The existing research shows two to three cups a day can be beneficial to most, but Yang said excessive amounts of caffeine consumption may be harmful.

Drinking a moderate amount of coffee has health benefits, according to Mayoclinic.com. Coffee can protect against Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes and liver and cardiovascular disease. Studies show it can also improve long-term memory and decrease the risk of depression.

Still, there are negative effects of high coffee consumption.

Two or more cups of unfiltered coffee per day is linked with an increase risk of heart diseases and mild elevations in cholesterol levels, according to the article. Studies have shown high consumption may also lead to insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, a fast heartbeat, muscle tremors and may increase risk of early death.

“I try to only drink it when I am feeling tired and need to get through a busy day ahead of me,” Strauss said. “I don’t ever want to feel dependent on a beverage. Just because it is socially acceptable to drink, doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you.” 

Noa Halff is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies. She is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum.

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