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Need For Caffeine: Getting Bang for your Buck at Starbucks

If you’re a university student, you have doubtlessly at some point in your life pulled an all nighter. (Unless you’re A. kidding yourself or B. are a perfect paragon of time management and efficiency). Caffeine is a must for staying awake, and typically ingested through copious cups of coffee.  Most people turn to Starbucks, which is interesting considering the cost and the fact that because we are Canadian, there is always a Tims around the corner. 

Starbucks has a desirable social connotation; it’s cool, it’s unique, it’s obnoxious in a fun way (if you’ve ever taken delight in a freakishly long and complex order, you know what I mean). It’s also expensive. A daily Starbucks habit adds up, and the problem is that you start craving the drinks. You convince yourself that it’s ok, just one more time, until someone introduces you to a new order or the seasons change, then it’s well I have to try this, at least once. I personally am a Starbucks addict, happy to live in ignorance. I do not want to know how much I’m spending on coffee out of fear that I’ll have a heart attack. 

But there are ways to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth. Do you know how much caffeine is actually in your non-fat grande Americano with no foam? Or in your straight black I-appreciate-the-beans venti coffee? I do, and I’m going to tell you.


A classic winter drink is the white chocolate mocha. Not too sweet, not too bitter, great for a cold winter day. The caffeine in a grande is good too – the same amount as in any latte. There is 150mg of caffeine in a grande and 75mg in a tall. 150g is a good amount of caffeine, it’ll wake you up and give you a buzz. But espresso drinks (that’s what lattes are, espresso based) have nothing on brewed coffee. The amount of caffeine in a grande brewed coffee is enough to wake anyone up and have all but the most seasoned coffee drinkers bouncing off walls, or at least with a good sized boost of energy. A grande brewed coffee has 330mg of caffeine, and is – don’t quote me on this – usually cheaper than a latte. 

If you’re a tea drinker – the health benefits of tea alone are wonderful –  you’re getting significantly less caffeine because the average grande tea based drink (such as the classic chai tea latte) has 95mg, while the earl gray latte (grande) has a meager 40mg of caffeine. 

Next time perhaps we’ll address the pros and cons of caffeine, and whether or not it’s even really good for you. For now at least, you know how much you’re ingesting and how much you’re paying for it. Literally. If you’re curious how much caffeine is in your usual Starbucks drink, click on the link below:



Happy drinking!



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Student at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
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Lisa Chen

U Toronto

Lisa Chen is currently a second year student majoring in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (it's a thing - I swear!) with a minor in English and a joint minor with Singapore National University in Asian Culture and Literature. When she is not editing articles for HerCampus and marveling at the amazing content her writers produce, Lisa is an executive on the Arts and Science Student's Union (ASSU) where she represents and advocates for the interests of over 24,000 students enrolled in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Lisa hopes to study law after graduation, preferably somewhere warm like California because Canadian winters are ridiculous and she loves high-waisted shorts. If you see her around campus, don't be afraid to come say hi! Especially if you love Adventure Time and Harry Potter as much as she does. 
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