A survey of 1000 students by the NUS and YouthSight found that coffee shops were the most-used facilities on UK campuses (87 per cent) ahead of bars (74 per cent).
Half of the students rated coffee shops as the most ‘beneficial’ university facilities behind clubs and societies.
The NUS said sales of draught and packaged beer at student’s unions have fallen for the past three years while sales of hot drinks have risen 11 per cent in the past year alone.
Richard Brooks, NUS vice president for union development, said: “Students’ unions are not an outdated stereotype of sticky bars filled with beer-swilling students avoiding their lectures, this is the new face of student life: profitable enterprise with a social edge.
“Our research shows students are flocking to their unions for shops, cafés and other non-alcoholic spaces, and they are making use of advice centres for financial, employment and welfare support more than ever before. Students’ union clubs and societies across the country and doing amazing work to engage students in local community work, volunteering and fundraising.
“This innovation, being led by our increasingly diverse membership, is in reaction to the changing face of student life, and proves times have changed drastically since decision-makers in politics and the education sector were at university.”
However, students may want to watch their hot drink habit given last week's research that major coffee chains are serving drinks containing up to 25 teaspoons of sugar per cup.