Young Java Generation Teenagers Discover Coffeehouses Make Welcoming and Safe Hangouts
Heidenrich, Chris, Edman, Catherine, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Chris Heidenrich and Catherine Edman Daily Herald Staff Writers
On a break from shopping at Hawthorn Center mall Thursday, Angela Hwang and her friends were found reading magazines at a bookstore coffeehouse instead of drinking soda at the food court.
It wasn't their first time, and they're not just cocoa drinkers. The five Stevenson High School students have an acquired taste for cappuccino, and latte with a shot of virgin Irish cream.
Yes, it's true. Coffee, long reserved for adults as an early morning boost or late night pick-me-up, has filtered to a younger crowd - a much younger crowd. And they're going to coffeehouses to drink it.
"There has been an increase in teenagers and younger kids coming in," said Kristen Deppisch, manager of Starbucks Coffee in Libertyville.
Isn't there some sort of license - or at least a learner's permit- to drink that stuff?
"It's strange to see kids younger than myself ordering cappuccinos," said Joel Disselkoen, 20, cafe supervisor at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Vernon Hills.
In fact, it's their elders who usually impart the habit.
Deppisch, 24, started drinking coffee at home. Other kids are attracted when seeing their parents stop at the local coffeehouse to pick up their weekly bag of beans, she said.
Teenagers go for everything from the sweet vanilla latte to herbal teas to the strong double espresso. Even though coffee and coffeehouses are nothing new, both are just becoming trendy among teens, Disselkoen said.
"It's just a matter of these kids getting out and recognizing there are places like these where they can go," he said.
So what's the attraction?
Mellow, calm and cool are the words used by Hwang and friends Laura Flodin, 15, Christina Park, 16, Jinna Kim, 14, and Nazia Sheriff, 15.
"I think the whole (coffeehouse) culture is one of very interesting people getting together in a community. I think that really appeals to teenagers," coffee industry analyst Kevin Sinnot explained. …