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Photo credit: Sonia Kumar

It’s not uncommon to see students walk in late to class with a steaming cup of coffee perched in their hands. What is uncommon, however, is meeting caffeine addicts who understand how the caffeination process actually works.

So what happens when you ask a coffee shop owner, a barista and a coffee addict about coffee? Well, you learn how unique coffee is to the individual and find great alternatives for those wary of this caffeine-packed drink.

According to a report by the Food and Drug Administration about the effect of caffeine on the body, caffeine reaches a “peak” in your blood system typically within an hour after drinking it and can stay there anywhere from four to six hours.

Caffeine in moderation is not only normal, but healthy. But, what really is a “moderate” amount of caffeine? According to the FDA report, doctors suggest that 100-200 mg, or one to two 5-ounce cups of coffee is a good daily limit for caffeine. However, that limit varies from person to person.

For David Adkins, owner and general manager of Arrow Coffee Co., a moderate dosage is 8-12 ounces of black coffee or 2 ounces of espresso shots.

Mabry Keel, junior in business entrepreneurship and former barista at Cafe Q (formerly located in Fiedler Hall), suggested two or three shots of espresso or a medium cup of coffee for a good amount of energy.

Ultimately, it is important to be aware of your limits and stick to them. According to the FDA report, four to seven cups of coffee each day is too much.

For Sam Easley, junior in history, her first sip of coffee is “the greatest thing ever.” Easley said she needs coffee to stay awake and her lethargy dictates the quantity. She even suffers withdrawal at times if she is not regularly being caffeinated.

Withdrawal is common when drinking caffeinated beverages. Moreover, people who drink caffeinated beverages daily may not even get a rich sense of alertness. According to the FDA, headaches, muscle aches, a sense of depression and crankiness are all symptoms of withdrawal.

Although the coffee withdrawal cycle might be hard to break,, a healthcare media publishing company, recommends slowly cutting down your dose of caffeine over a period of days or weeks instead of going cold-turkey.

What do you do if you don’t like coffee, but want that caffeine kick?

Adkins suggested alternatives such as caffeinated teas, lattes and using different brewing methods like cold brew which has a natural sweetness, flavor and reduced acidity. Despite being a barista, Keel said he doesn’t love coffee, but he enjoys a good mocha.

Even if you personally dislike coffee, it is worth it to step out of your comfort zone and try something different. College is the time to experiment, so go on an take your first sip already.