How Young is Too Young to Drink Coffee?


The boy featured in this article’s title image is twelve years old.  By now, he is old enough to do plenty of things.  But should drinking coffee be one of them?  If you ask me, the answer is no.

What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?  Keep reading.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to pay my neighborhood Starbucks a visit.  Just as I was getting out of my car, a boy — who could not have been older than twelve — on a bicycle appeared right before my eyes.

Ordinarily, the fact that he was all by himself and not wearing a helmet would have bothered me; however, something else immediately rubbed me the wrong way.  Only one of the boy’s hands was clutching the handlebars.  The other was holding onto a Frappuccino — from which he took sporadic sips, as he leisurely pedaled his way down a residential street.

Sure, his drink may have been crème-based.  But what was this preteen doing in Starbucks to begin with?  The international coffeehouse chain has never struck me as being the least bit kid-friendly; nevertheless, despite its sophisticated carte du jour and steep prices, it continues to attract a younger clientele.

Since it is kitty-corner to a middle school, the location of this particular Starbucks may be to blame.  In fact, you can bet your bottom dollar that, during before and after school hours, its cashiers and baristas interact with tons of children between the ages of twelve and fifteen.

Did I start drinking coffee that early?  No way, José!  I do not think I even acquired a taste for it until I was nineteen or twenty.

When it comes to youngsters, I cannot help but wonder if this is all just another fad.  Do they buy Starbucks products to emulate their best friends, older siblings, and favorite celebrities?  Have they, therefore, come to associate the brand with that which is cool?  One thing is for sure:  these days, children are constantly searching for ways to act older and appear wiser.

In my opinion, twelve-year-olds ride bikes for two obvious reasons:  they are too old to be pushed in strollers and too young to drive cars.  And there is no need for them to drink coffee before getting their driver’s licenses. the end

Image credit: Trina Alexander

2 thoughts on “How Young is Too Young to Drink Coffee?

  1. While I appreciate the writer’s opinion on this matter, I was expecting a more detailed post on reasons why a child shouldn’t drink coffee. I agree that young children should not be drinking highly caffeinated beverages, especially expresso from Starbucks, but this post fell short of explaining any dangers of them doing so. I hate to sound overly critical, but this opinion seems to be based around the fact that the writer didn’t drink coffee at twelve, so no one else should either.

  2. I know, I’m a bad mom but my 12 Yo daughter occassionally goes to Starbucks with me as a treat and gets whatever that ice-cream based drink is…it may be what you are talking about. My 5YO drinks coffee at home all the time…my mom is latino and kids of hispanic heritage and possibly other nationalities give their kids coffeee at a young age. I think as long as it’s not on a daily basis then it’s ok.

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