I will start by saying this — caffeine is the key to having energy in college. Personally, I find myself having to buy an iced vanilla coffee on days when I know that I have mountains of work to do. But what about when you're getting ready to hit the books? Or spending the night out with your friends? Or you have to be alert early for a midterm? Caffeine is definitely the answer, but do certain types of caffeine — coffee, tea, soda, or energy drinks — work better for different needs?

To dive more into this topic, I spoke with nutritionist Michelle Blum, owner of NutrishMish, who gave me all the tips and tricks for knowing the best caffeine source for all college occasions.

You can (or not) depend on caffeine as your main source of energy, especially in the morning.

If you're someone who needs that extra kick in the morning, grabbing a coffee or an energy drink could be the perfect way to go. Caffeine stimulates chemicals in your body such as dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine. Once caffeine stimulates these chemicals, the activity in the brain and nervous system is stimulated as well.

“Caffeine happens to be the same shape as these chemicals, and can fit into their receptors. At the same time, dopamine levels increase, giving you that jolted awake feeling,” Blum said.

Whether it be partying or studying, caffeine can be a great mechanism to implement into your life. However, once the adrenaline starts dying away, your mood will, too.

“The problem is, once the effects wear off, the sleepy chemicals finally have a place to become activated, and the person will likely feel groggier than they did before, so it is important to time it out well,” Blum explains.

Caffeine can benefit and harm the body.

When consuming your daily cup of joe, it’s important to be mindful that caffeine has both positive and negative effects.

“Some positive health effects include improved cognitive function, mood, and memory. Too much caffeine, however, can come with many health consequences, such as headaches, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat,” Blum said.

Look for low-caffeine for an afternoon jolt.

“For a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, I would recommend something with lower caffeine content, such as tea. An eight-ounce tea contains about 47 milligrams of caffeine,” Blum said. “Or better yet, green tea only contains 28 milligrams.”

Basically, if you're looking for something to help you wind down after a long day or something that lifts up your mood, tea is the best drink to choose.

Opt for coffee when looking for a late-night sipper.

“If you need to stay awake for an extended period of time, like pulling an all-nighter, an eight-ounce coffee contains 96 milligrams of caffeine or a one-ounce espresso will contain about 64 milligrams,” Blum added.

With all that said, do be mindful of how much you consume. With these tips, you can find something that will be right and help you through whatever you need to stay awake for.