Loco for Lattes: Why Do Students Buy So Much Coffee?

2 mins read

Just a quick stroll through Menlo Park reveals an abundance of coffee shops: Philz, Peet’s, Coffeebar, and four Starbucks, to name a few. Each store offers an array of mass-produced beverages, all at a hefty price. According to U.S. Inflation, the average coffee costs $5.89, a costly purchase for mere bean water, milk, and sugar. So why do many M-A students continue to allocate hundreds of dollars a year to these drinks alone?

Junior Katherine Pavloff said, “I get coffee every weekday so I probably spend around $140 a month. It’s easier for me to get it on my way to school than to make it at home.” 

Senior Emma Brongersma shared, “I’m always super tired when I do not get coffee in the morning. There are many coffee shops on my way to school so it is easier for me to pick some up on the way.”

Other students choose to make coffee at home. Senior Maria Jakovljevic said “I make coffee at home instead of buying it because I don’t want to spend that much money. It does add up.” 

She continued, “I like making lattes and drip coffees at home which taste good. With an espresso machine, I can make a coffee in under a minute. With the holiday sales, you can get one for around $100.”

The average cost of a Starbucks espresso machine is a whopping $18,000, however, nobody needs a machine with that many bells and whistles to make their day-to-day cup of coffee. One of the top home brewing machines sold today is the Breville Touch which costs roughly $1,200. A pack of Starbucks brand espresso costs roughly $12 for 18 oz, which can make around 72 shots of espresso. A gallon of milk costs roughly $5 and accounts for about eight 16-oz lattes worth of milk. With a few clicks of the calculator, we come to find out that the average homemade latte is just shy of one dollar. If a grande iced latte from Starbucks costs five dollars, in less than a year, the espresso machine will have paid itself off.

Some might even argue that people use coffee as an accessory to their daily outfits. Whether it’s freshly made or has been sitting out for multiple class periods, students continue to rock this coffee-in-hand look. 

“A lot of people comment on the fact that I’m always carrying my coffee,” Pavloff said.

Surprisingly, the abundance of local coffee shops hasn’t deterred other businesses from opening their doors. Andytown in Menlo Park’s new Springline Mall debuted this year and already has a major following. On the other hand, the Starbucks in the Stanford Mall closed this summer because their sales fell below the necessary threshold. This goes to show that although each shop seems to offer unique drinks and flavors, students tend to stick to their favorite shops. Once someone finds their favorite coffee fix, they tend to stay loyal to that brand.

Pavloff mentioned, “I go to Peet’s consistently. Sometimes I’ll go to Starbucks or Coffeebar depending on the day, but normally Peet’s.”

Despite the argument that it improves productivity, coffee is one of the leading causes of delinquency. Every day, students rush to class after the final bell rings holding their morning coffee in hand. Though people drink coffee intending to boost their energy—and thus their productivity—it has actually caused a decline in student attendance. Go figure.

Clearly, M-A students love their morning coffee and are willing to go as far as risking tardiness to ensure they start their day off with the perfect boost of caffeine.

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