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Clash of the caffeines

What would millennial culture be without its sleep deprived, overworked young adults thriving on caffeine? It’s no surprise caffeine is the most abused drug in the U.S. This addictive substance has caused physical dependency in millions across the nation, and it’s a necessary evil for many perfectionists like me – especially during finals season.

With slogans like “America runs on Dunkin’” and “Red Bull gives you wings,” representing caffeinated brands, it’s no wonder young people start their caffeine addiction early. It was love at first taste when my mom let me have a sip of her Starbucks drink at 8 years old, and I’ve become obsessed with the manifestation of bean water ever since.

But some people, if they’re lucky, were never exposed to caffeine in all its glory when they were younger and were not affected by caffeine marketing campaigns. Regardless, now they’re surrounded by it in college in the forms of coffee, tea, energy drinks, sodas and even supplements like 5-hour Energy.

So for the caffeine newbies out there or people looking for a way to get through those late-night finals study sessions, here are some options to get your daily dose of energy:


1. Coffee lovers: Starbucks Americano

If you’re not a fan of good ol’ plain black coffee, then this may not be your beverage of choice. A grande Americano from Starbucks has none of the extra fluff like the flavored drinks and contains three full shots of espresso mixed with water – 225 milligrams of caffeine. It is the perfect amount to get through at least a few hours of studying. It’s one of the cheapest drinks offered at the ‘Bucks, and it gets the job done well.


2. Tea lovers: Green tea

For those who prefer leaf water over bean water, look no further for an energy boost. Green tea is tasty both hot and cold, and it’s great for those counting calories, too. It offers anywhere from nine to 50 milligrams of caffeine per eight-ounce cup, according to


3. Sweets lovers: Dark chocolate

This is an option for all you people who are sensitive to caffeine (bless your souls). Just one ounce of dark chocolate has 12 milligrams of caffeine, which is probably enough to wake you up a bit during a study sesh. Treat yo’ self this finals week with a bar of dark chocolate. Studies show it’s good for your heart, too.


4. Energy drink lovers: Red Bull

I may be biased since I hardly ever try any other energy drinks, but nothing beats a can of Red Bull. This energy drink is proven to help you concentrate on whatever task you have at hand and even helps retain memory. In just a 12-ounce can, it contains 111 milligrams of caffeine ­– far more caffeine per ounce than the 89 milligrams in a 16-ounce can of Monster. Plus, you won’t look like too much of a hardo drinking Red Bull compared to the edgy, skateboarding pre-teens who typically opt for Monster. When you’re studying for that big exam, keep a can or two of the best energy drink at hand.


5. Soda lovers: Diet Coke

Avoiding soda at all costs is something many of us try to do, but sometimes, you just have a craving for a fizzy, sweet drink. Diet Coke is a great go-to as it’s sugar-free and contains 46.5 milligrams of caffeine per can, beating out its Pepsi competitor with just 36 milligrams. But, if you have a fear of artificial sweeteners and their carcinogenic consequences, drink this beverage as sparingly as possible.


6. Effective energy lovers: 5-Hour Energy

Cheap, effective and straight to the point. 5-Hour Energy packs the punch with 200 milligrams of energy in just one shot. Buy a couple of these, drink one and save one for a few hours later, and you’ll be able to knock out that final paper, no problem. You may need a chaser, though, because it tastes a bit like swallowing acid.

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