A freshly-made mocha sits atop the Idego bar while employees prepare additional orders behind the counter.

Who is a coffee drinker? What defines one? Freshman marketing major Ethan Thompson from Blacksburg, Va., also a barista, classifies himself as such.

Thompson was one of 151 students surveyed in a form to see which majors at Virginia Tech drink the most coffee. The form asked students various questions, including “How many cups of coffee do you drink in a day?” and “How many hours of sleep do you receive each school week (Sunday night through Thursday night)?”

“Coffee is a part of my life because it is a potential career and it’s a side passion because it’s fun to do, so it’s both professional and pleasure on both aspects,” Thompson said.

Thompson generally drinks between zero and three cups of coffee per day and estimates around nine per week.

“I drink coffee more so just because it tastes good, so sometimes if I need a distraction, I go and get coffee because it’s relaxing,” Thompson said. “Or I make it.”

Although caffeine doesn’t play a huge role in his studies, he says his enjoyment of specific drinks does. He doesn’t classify his major — marketing — as one of the more strenuous at Tech.

“My enjoyment of coffee does not change according to school. It’s been fairly consistent since I’ve started making coffee,” Thompson said. “In the summer, I tend to make more cold brew, because it’s iced, but about the same amount, I’d say. Sometimes twice in a day. Sometimes no times. Sometimes once.”

He started drinking coffee at about ten or eleven but began regularly and enjoying it at sixteen.

Ethan Thompson, a freshman marketing major at Virginia Tech, enjoys a cup of coffee in Blacksburg’s local coffee shop, Bollo’s.

“I started making coffee as more of a specialty craft (and) side-enjoyment pursuit … when I was seventeen,” Thompson said.

He expressed his respect for “coffee culture” in coffee shops.

“I am not well-versed in the arts, but I enjoy the arts, and I think coffee culture and coffee shops always have that atmosphere in them; there’s a sophistication to them,” Thompson said.

“There’s art, you see people with their Macs writing, there’s people grading tests. It just brings a very artistic appeal … It’s more of a liberal setting, which has always really appealed to me.”

That atmosphere, he said, has always piqued his curiosity.

“Just recently I understood what it meant to not just experience it but also provide (coffee),” Thompson said, “and that’s what I’m more on the search for now, is not only being a part of it, but being able to create it for others.”

A local coffee shop Idego recently moved from Christiansburg to Blacksburg, and it’s only a short walk from campus. Owner Paul De Arras of Richmond, Va., described his day-to-day work.

Paul De Arras, owner of Idego, prepares a mocha behind the counter of his new Blacksburg location.

“During the day is a lot of … making drinks, talking to people, drinking coffee, and after that is a lot of clerical stuff — payroll and ordering coffee and training,” said De Arras.

Thompson said he likes to educate people about coffee because when he first started learning about it, he didn’t know there was so much information to know.

“I had never felt so excitedly nerdy in my life,” Thompson said, “and so I found out that other people, too, when they find out that coffee is so complex — arguably more complex in flavor than wine — that it’s very interesting, and so I like piquing others’ curiosity in hopes that they will share the same passion as me.”

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