America Runs On Coffee

America Runs On Coffee

Why American culture is seemingly a coffee culture.

If you’ve ever had to wake up early for an opening shift at work or stay up late finishing a project, usually some sort of liquid caffeine helps the process go a bit smoother. How many times has that been tea? Coffee? A soft drink or energy drink? More times than not it’ll be coffee. Granted, a cola or Mountain Dew from time to time help break the monotony of coffee, but the likelihood of tea getting to your hands is slim.

That choice of coffee over tea has a variety of factors, all of which are valid. I feel that decision could even trace its way back to the beginning of our nation. Britain enjoyed tea. We didn’t enjoy Britain. So we dumped it all in the Boston Harbor (not only in defiance of the nation itself, but everything can be traced to economics at some point). After that moment, the colonists felt they could make the comparison of coffee vs. tea is equal to American vs. England. Thus, our ‘coffee culture’ started.

In the modern day, coffee shops outnumber tea houses in the states to an unfair degree. The number of commonly known tea brands is always dwarfed by the number of commonly coffee brands. Even then, they are known more for the iced tea they produce. Iced tea is also American in that it’s a middle finger to how the drink was originally prepared; a rebellion in the tea world itself. But our ‘coffee culture’ is not like other cultures where coffee is the primary and preferred drink. American coffee culture is unique. It’s unique in that we have the cheapest coffee beans and the elite coffee beans in the same building, sometimes even next to each other. We have lower class, middle class, upper class, working, and unemployed alike drinking coffee next to each other. It is not a drink that only one group of people enjoy. Everyone can and typically does enjoy some form of coffee.

The reasons behind this are simple: it’s cheap and fast. A cup of coffee can cost no more than $1 but on the same hand can be more than $10. Ask for a cup of coffee and maybe a minute later it’s in your hand already being enjoyed. We are a people of efficient and economically sound practices and of almost instant gratification. Coffee gives us just that. The caffeine buzz is quick to enter and hard to leave. It can be had in a mere few ounce shot or a whole pot of brew. With different flavors and sugars and milks we have also made a seemingly countless variety of cups of coffee to be had.

Tea doesn’t have all that. Don’t feel extreme bias here, I enjoy both coffee and tea regularly but they have their time. Coffee is the for the on-the-go person who needs a quick drink that can keep them going. Tea slows everything down a notch. It has to be steeped in smaller quantities, which takes more time. It has lower caffeine, so more has to be had for the same effect of coffee. Sugary flavors can’t be added to mask the taste of tea so children and those who don’t even like coffee or tea tend to shy away from it. Tea is almost made to be sipped on, in a relaxed manner, with no sense of urgency on the mind.

Coffee is the counter-part of that, coinciding with a fast paced culture such as ours. And with that, fills a very large niche with the American people.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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3 Popular Instant Coffee Brands That You Will Probably End Up Settling For When Starbucks Is Just Too Expensive

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Coffee is energizing, aromatic (structurally, as well), and pairs nicely with a book at the end of the day. Or in the morning. Or during the post-exam-dash-back-home-to-drink-more-coffee in that one hour break, I have between classes. Anytime is a good time to drink coffee. At least it is for me.

But being a caffeine addict, on top of having a small food budget and busy schedule, means I normally "settle" for the instant, just-add-water variety. I tried several brands until I finally encountered one that was acceptable to me.

Yes, I know I am a spoiled coffee snob.

Here are my thoughts on three popular and low-cost brands of instant coffee on the market.

1. Folgers

Leaves a slimy texture reminiscent of hair conditioner. The scent coming off a cup of Folgers conjures up images of old batteries. My opinion is especially significant, considering the fact that I have fewer-than-average taste buds on my tongue- meaning that I should theoretically be less sensitive to bitter, strong flavors than the average person.

The oily black residue this solution leaves behind makes me feel uncomfortable. However, this brand is usually the cheapest in my grocery store, and I'm sure adding tons of cream and sugar will cover up any of the flavors.

2. Maxwell House

Has an unoffensive yet unremarkable flavor, doesn't have much body in the flavor. Smells like cardboard pieces that have been boiled in water, with a hint of a coffee taste. Pairs nicely with a bagel though.

3. Nescafe Taster's Choice

I've stuck with this one because the flavor just falls short of richness. Also, adding triple the amount of the suggested coffee-to-water ratio makes for a hearty coffee with the proper bitterness that I'm accustomed to. This instant coffee brand is generally more expensive than the other two, though.

Despite my words, which partially come from a grumpiness induced by sleep deprivation- without instant coffee, I would be half as competent as I am now (for what that's worth).

Also, everyone obviously has different flavor perceptions. So take my criticism with a grain of instant coffee.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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The Official Ranking Of Villanova's Dining Halls

The Exchange was my biggest discovery of first semester.

One of the biggest adjustments for most college freshman is eating at dining halls and learning to eat what is offered. I’ve come to appreciate Villanova’s dining options, because there is no denying that there is an option for everyone. So whether you are a prospective Villanovan or an alumnus, I’m sure you’ll find this list to speak the truth.

1. The Exchange

This place was without a doubt my biggest discovery of first semester. Since I am not a business student, this incredible eatery in Bartley was foreign to me at first. The Exchange offers made-to-order fresh sandwiches and hot dinners of delicious dishes. You can always find this spot crowded at lunchtime and the tables around it packed. The downside of the Exchange is that they only accept food points or the Exchange upgrade meal plan. So if you enjoy this spot, make sure to save up your points!

2. Café Nova

A popular lunch option for most students, Café Nova offers different stations to cater to many different tastes. From burrito bowls, to sandwiches, to pizzas, this dining option is among my favorites, as it’s usually quick to get your meal and consistently delicious. The outdoor seating at Cova is also a plus during the spring and fall. As for meal plans, Cova accept MPEs only, but doesn’t require a specific upgrade like The Exchange.

3. The Spit

Located on the freshman South Campus, the Spit is one of Nova’s all-you-can-eat dining halls. The Spit offers the same daily hot meals as The Pit, but what sets it apart is the pasta, deli, and stir-fry stations each night for those who aren’t interested in the hot meal. The quesadillas and made-to-order pasta are just some of the reasons why sophomores find themselves missing The Spit immediately. There is also a ton of study space that makes it a popular spot late at night for students to socialize and get work done as well as hold events.

4. The Pit

The main all-you-can-eat dining option on main campus is The Pit, located in the basement of Dougherty Hall. The Pit often offers better desserts than The Spit, but other than that it cannot compare to the immense food stations at its counterpart. While definitely a good option for someone on main campus all day, The Pit’s selections are limited to the hot meal of the day and maybe one food station like a stir-fry bar. A plus is that The Pit’s salad bar is often stocked and full of choices!

5. Belle Air Terrace

Ranking as my least favorite option, Belle Air Terrace is more of a fast food location. They offer an all day breakfast line as well as a deli line and a hot food line with burgers, fries, and chicken. This is not my go-to spot mostly because I find the options to be more limited than the other dining halls. Students do enjoy this spot, however, because it has giant TV screens showing sports games and is housed in our student center.

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