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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

If you enjoy tea in the morning, that’s great, but this article isn’t for you.  Some people can get up in the morning and go to class just fine, but some of us wake up and look forward to our first cup of coffee of the day.  In many ways, it sets the tone for the day.  Hot or cold, espresso or decaf, it’s what gets you out of bed.  Have you ever thought about what your coffee says about you, though? If you leave half your large coffee sitting to leave a ring on the coffee table or if you polish off your espresso shot in a demitasse. 

The first rivalry we have to address is the age-old Starbucks or Dunkin debate.  In the northeast, especially Massachusetts and New York, Dunkin doughnuts are just as plentiful as Starbucks in their store population. Still, as you travel west across the country, Dunkin fades away.  So, if you like Starbucks, chances are you live on the west coast, or you like rich coffee flavors with reliable drink flavors. 

Let’s start with the basics. The first-timer may go for something safe, probably something they have misconceptions about even. The first time I went into a coffee shop, I got a cappuccino, and when my drink came out, it was mainly foam; I was very confused. I initially ordered it because it was the only thing I recognized. I tried to pretend I knew what I was doing, but I should have just asked. There is comfort in what we know, though, which often leads us to a safe drink when starting out. 

This first coffee may be more fitted to Starbucks and Dunkin doughnuts, but its partisans still speak to its character. The Frappuccino is at its roots, a smoothie.  If you’re ordering this drink, you are quite possibly a boyfriend that has been dragged to Starbucks.  The other likely scenario is that you’re afraid of other drinks being too bitter, so you go for the safe sweet choice.  

The next step in a future coffee guru’s menu would likely be a Latte. Lattes are easy to add syrups to, making them easier to customize to your own palette.  Caramel, vanilla, hazelnut, pumpkin spice, and many more flavors can be thrown into a latte.  Lattes, being mostly milk, are a more mellow coffee option.  This drink does have coffee and caffeine, though. The one who orders this coffee might hang out in the coffee shop for a while, taking pictures of their drink.  This also could be the coffee you order in the morning in college and walk around with all day as a sweet fix to keep you going. For some reason, if you get this drink, you frequently skip breakfast.  

Further on the journey of becoming a coffee connoisseur, we meet the Cold brew.  Cold brew is made differently than other brews.  Cold brew is made by running water through coffee grounds, usually the fridge, all in a cold environment. This process yields a more potent, richer flavor that is also less acidic.  If your drink of choice is the cold brew coffee, you are a veteran of the coffee community that probably started off with ice coffee then moved on to something stronger and smoother when ice coffee was not waking you up in the morning anymore. 

Your coffee taste has now come a long way from your first coffee shop appearance.  You now know your way around a cup of joe and thought you could do better than your local barista, so you moved the coffee shop onto your kitchen counter, where you try to recreate drinks to make yourself feel more self-sufficient. This is where you meet the espresso shot. This is the drink of a true coffee lover.  Espresso is a few concentrated ounces of coffee made by pressuring nearly boiling water through finely-ground coffee beans. In this drink, there are no added flavors or milks.  The person ordering this drink or making this brew is probably casually sipping their demitasse with their legs crossed catching up on the day’s news, or doing a crossword.  This person has their life together and is well established. Let’s face it, no burnt-out college student is sipping espresso casually. 

Finally, we cannot neglect the decaf drinkers. The self-proclaimed coffee experts think they are better because they don’t need caffeine.  You don’t get an award for this, but you’re also not entirely wrong in thinking that it’s healthy.  This is why the decaf drinkers have been branded the health freaks! Studies have suggested that decaffeinated coffee can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as health complications leading to stroke or heart disease.  What decaf drinkers fail to admit, though, is that decaffeinated coffee is not naturally occurring. There is a necessary process of chemically removing the caffeine from the coffee that can raise eyebrows if the chemical process is actually good or bad. So people may think they are being health-conscious, but it is a tedious process to pull the caffeine out of the product. These drinkers probably shop at trader joes and also dabble in drinking the occasional cup of tea. 

Whether your coffee is hot or iced, decaf or non, milk and sugar or straight black everyone has different taste buds. We all like different things and our palettes change over the years, it’s natural. You just have to find the coffee that gets you out of bed in the morning. 

Piper is currently a junior and Siena college in Albany, New York. She is studying psychology and exploring health sciences as well. She loves hanging out with her friends, lake days and playing with her dog. Insta: piperg13
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