You set the example every morning, the ads on TV and at the bus stops extol the virtues of Nespresso and the latest Grandma Arabica, and here’s the result: your little one is clamoring to finish your cup of coffee at breakfast. But is a child allowed to drink coffee? At what age is it safe to start drinking coffee?
Drinking coffee is fashionable, and kids want to be fashionable
In metropolises around the world, chic coffee shops line up next to each other, and the last artisanal roasters let the tempting aroma of coffee beans waft through the air. Department stores, bookstores, hair salons, and even fast food chains are increasingly offering coffee, and not just any coffee!
In addition to classics such as cappuccino, latte or latte macchiato, particularly sweet coffee drinks are becoming increasingly popular with the advent of Starbucks Europe. Made with lots of milk, cream, syrup or caramel, many of these variants are less reminiscent of coffee than a flavored milkshake. This evolution of flavors and beverages offered in stores is no accident: marketers have targeted children and youth as a potential customer base.
And while only a few children and teenagers would be likely to be really enthusiastic about the slightly bitter aroma of real coffee, the situation is naturally very different with such mild and trendy blends as those offered by the famous American chain. The advertisements and the big Hollywood stars who are photographed with the famous cardboard cup in hand do the rest.
Coffee is cool, and kids want to be part of the adult world earlier and earlier. But at what age is a child old enough to have a coffee? Can coffee consumption be a problem at a young age?
Caffeine and calories
Although the health benefits of coffee are also perfectly valid for a young body, the disadvantages are even more important. Coffee contains caffeine, and too much caffeine is not good for an adult, let alone a child. While adults can tolerate a fairly high amount of 300 to 500 mg per day, this amount is much lower for adolescents and children. Depending on their age and constitution, they can only tolerate 50-125 mg per day, and since coffee is not the only source of caffeine in the diet, these levels are reached quite quickly.
Tea, chocolate, soft drinks and energy drinks contain less caffeine than coffee, but they still contribute significantly to daily caffeine intake. If you drink coffee in addition, the maximum daily consumption is easily exceeded. Insomnia, restlessness, stomach problems, lack of concentration and headaches can be the consequences.
In addition, sweetened coffee specialties such as those sold as take-away also contribute significantly to the intake of unnecessary calories. Overweight and dental problems can be negative consequences.
Coffee only for children over 14 years old
For children under the age of 14, coffee should therefore remain taboo as a rule, because here, unnecessary calories and caffeine are often already absorbed in more than sufficient quantities via other foods, such as chocolate or soft drinks.
An additional, stimulating source such as coffee should therefore be avoided if possible. From the age of 14 onwards, however, occasional consumption of coffee can be allowed without any problems. Nevertheless, a healthy average should be found. If, for example, coffee is drunk at the weekend, other sources of caffeine and sugar should be avoided in return. At this age, going to the coffee machine should never become a daily routine. As is generally the case in life, a balanced and healthy mix is the most fun and keeps you healthy.