The coffee controversy: Coffee on campus doesn’t have to be controversial

Sebastian J. DeLorey sips a cappuccino. Drinking coffee can be a controversial topic in the Seventh-day Adventist church. Friday, October 15, 2021. (Photo illustration by: Nicole Sabot)
Sebastian J. DeLorey sips a cappuccino. Drinking coffee can be a controversial topic in the Seventh-day Adventist church. Friday, October 15, 2021. (Photo illustration by: Nicole Sabot)

Written by Katie Hallock

Adventists and coffee. Perhaps oil and water. Growing up rooted in the church, my family has always done the traditional Adventist pastimes: Sabbath hymns, haystacks and way too much hiking. But my mother and father do differ on a few things –– coffee being one. 

My mother represents the liberal side of Adventism, and my father takes a more traditional stance. So, naturally, in the spirit of neoliberalism, my mother loves coffee. My father never had a whole cup in his life. He doesn’t enjoy it and thinks that he may as well err on the side of caution, considering Ellen White’s sentiments. White wrote in “Counsels on Diet and Foods,” “Coffee is a hurtful indulgence. It temporarily excites the mind to unwonted action, but the aftereffect is exhaustion…”. 

But, luckily for my dad, he’s not writing three papers all due on Tuesday. 

The reason I think coffee should be sold on campus is that modern college students are going to buy it anyway. If Southern sold it, the revenue could be going back into Adventist education where the heart of Christianity is taught. Every Adventist has the right to choose which Ellen White writings they ascribe to and which they think are obsolete. The coffee issue, I think, is one of the more outdated and less timeless proclamations.  

But my dad still leaves coffee alone. And this is fine; it hasn’t caused a rift in my parents’ relationship because I just don’t think it’s that polarizing of an issue. And I think the same thing would happen if Southern chose to allow it on campus. I think students like me would be thrilled to have it available on campus so that we don’t have to drive off campus to study at a coffee shop, and those who disagree could simply not buy it. Coffee on campus doesn’t have to be controversial. It can be like me and my dad choosing different beverages over breakfast.

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