Confessions of a Coffee Non-Drinker

Starting with: I have nothing to say to Starbucks-advocates


If you were looking at my Facebook profile page from 2004-2007, you would have assumed I was a big fan of Starbucks coffee given the large cup that accompanied unlit cigarettes and unhealthy amounts of bronzer in almost all of my photos. Truth is, if you looked inside the cup, you would’ve found water or more likely, Diet Coke. I achieved this high form of trickery due to peer pressure and a desire to look like an Olsen Twin. I’d ask for a spare cup, pour my beverage of choice in, pose for a photo, and *bam*, I was part of coffee culture too.

It’s not like I haven’t tried to like coffee. I always assumed it was one of those things you grow into, like dark chocolate (check) or blazers (check) or cleaning up after yourself (mostly check).

As Willow Smith once proclaimed, “I am me.” I’m not Willow, she probably drinks coffee, but I am me, the coffee non-drinker.

A small selection of things I am tired of hearing:

“We can go somewhere with tea! You drink tea, right?” — Nope, I don’t.

“How do you even wake up in the morning?” — Diet Coke.

“You drink Diet Coke when you wake up?” — Yes.

“That’s really bad for you, you know.” — I had no idea, thank you.

“You just have to get used to the taste.”

“Grow up!”

Invitations that require a lot of navigation and craftiness on my part:

Informal interviews

Meetings with professors

Weekend socializing when you don’t want a meal

Third dates

Mid-day breaks with co-workers

Things I am completely ignorant about:

How to order a latte

What a latte is

Ditto Americano, macchiato, espresso

The sixteen cafes between Bleecker and Mulberry and which one has the best coffee

If it really is “so much better in Europe”

If it’s worth it to buy your own espresso machine

Things I will never experience:

Flirting with a barista

Having my name spelled egregiously wrong on my coffee cup or the subsequent Instagram capture

Pumpkin spice

Hungover Sunday coffee dates

Finding out what my coffee order says about me

Don’t ask me on a coffee date, don’t include me in your 4 pm coffee run. Sometimes 22 is more like 14; I’ll be here with my soda pop and my dark (okay, milk) chocolate. I’m just a girl, standing in front of a Starbucks, asking it to love me.


Get more Humor ?
  • Molly

    Yes! i don’t drink coffee so also have to get my caffeine hit from Diet Coke. I feel the shame most in the mornings haha.

  • I used to be like this so I found this really refreshing and sweet! Now I am a coffee addict.


  • Rachel Hippely

    It’s okay. I drink coffee but never drank “diet” anything in my life. It’s cool. We can still hang. Berate me for not loving the “diet” culture. (Enter in cheesy smile)

  • DScalz

    Finally someone who doesn’t drink coffee either, I feel like I’m missing out on so much, I still have hope that I’ll grow into it.

  • So, like, if I wanna meet up I should ask you if you wanna get root beer floats or Italian sodas or something?……

    ……Ex: “Hey Kayla, it’s Emma, just if you’d like to chat over a cup of carbonated beverage! Let me know!”

    • Kayla Tanenbaum

      sure, sure, but for the record, I can’t say no to chicken fingers

      • That actually puts a lot of your person into perspective for me. The Chicken Finger People are a breed of their own.

        • firefirepants

          Please describe The Chicken Finger People breed. I need to find my people. I am so sick of kale salad.

          • The Chicken Finger People are generally stubborn. They are picky and it’s not so much that they are not willing to try new things — often times they are, and they enjoy these new things — but there’s an element of homebody that elicits a sense of comfort when they are surrounded by things they know they love and enjoy. This familiarity-induded euphoria usually trumps the new experience-induced euphoria for them, and thus they will expose constants in various aspects of their everyday lives.

          • I was hoping for some protein-fitness-obsessed-fans who look for/bond over lean protein instead of coffee runs.
            Need to find that tribe too.

        • I have a friend who, no matter where you’re eating, orders chicken fingers or the next closest thing.

          • It’s an undying breed of loyalty that is both admirable and irksome.

          • Sati Marie Frost

            Onion rings here. Or onion blossom / blooming onion. Or anything involving battered, fried onions. No matter where I am. (Is this why I’m single?)

          • No way! “Wanna get some onion rings” is probably one of the best pick up lines out there!

        • Kandeel

          But where are the mozzarella stick stans?? Mozzarella sticks are the bomb dot ca tbh

    • or you could pull a Will Hunting and suggest you get together and eat a buncha caramels.

  • Molly

    love this, more kayla plz.

  • Maaike Driessen

    Ha, great post! Except sometimes I invite friends to drink a cup a coffee, but I just mean a non-alcoholic drink.

    • Emilia Heiselberg

      I do that too, but instead i mean a un-non-alcoholic drink

  • daysleeper

    It’s kind of pathetic to go to that much trouble to fit in that you’d pour soda into a Starbucks cup. If people think less of you because you don’t drink that evil shit (I hate coffee) then fuck them. Confidence and self-knowledge will ALWAYS trump accessories, fake or not.

    Also, if someone told me to “grow up!” upon learning I don’t drink coffee, I’d knee them in the genitals so hard they’d be gargling their balls and/or ovaries.

  • Quinn Halman

    As a great scholar once said “you get the best of both worlds”. Dr. Montana was probably talking about how I handle my caffeine addiction because I get a headache if I haven’t had coffee by 10 and I start to get very irritated if a diet coke is not ready for me after school.

  • Kirsten

    Ok so I too am a d coke addict and I relate to this so hard. For 6 months of high school I pretended to drink coffee all so I could flirt with a boy in the art room. As it turns out he was a almost as bad a kisser as I find coffee to be. Diet coke forever!!!!!

  • Jenny Rose

    Fantastic piece.

    Question to the board.. Does anyone else like coffee but NEVER like it when YOU make it? If the barista doesn’t put the cream or sugar in for me when I order it, it’s as good as gross. I feel anxiety when I’m sanctioned off to the DIY coffee stations. In all my years, I have not uncovered the proper cream to sugar ratio. Others seem to be born with this gift.

    I’m a hapless coffee lover, with no coffee-making efficacy.

    • I can’t decide.

      If it doesn’t taste as good as the barista makes it, try adding more sugar. Also, the sugar has to be thoroughly mixed in for you to taste it. Stir it a bit more before adding the cream.

  • Christina

    Finally! I don’t drink coffee either and every time I mention it people look at me like I am some sort of alien. You can imagine how they look at me when I add that I do not drink alcohol as well…


  • I don’t drink coffee either! Well, I don’t drink anything caffeinated. I’ve recently stopped ordering decaf just to fit in on random weekend coffee runs with friends. I’ve saved $12.50/ month and plan to put that money towards eye drops. Winter is here, and the space heater under my desk dries out my eyes.

  • Carla in Savannah

    I’ve laughed so much at this. I love the smell of coffee although I hate the taste. I also don’t drink coke either so I’m sleepy all the time, jajaja… A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a place for some tapas in Madrid with a friend, at around 8.30pm (I live in Spain so that’s a normal time for drinking beer or wine, not even having dinner yet) and we passed a café where people was drinking coffee and I was like ‘Ummm, I don’t trust people who drinks coffee when it’s time to drink beer’…
    Loved your post!!

  • I feel your pain! If people find out I don’t drink coffee, they look at me like I’m a crazy person. I’m happy with my tea, luckly I don’t need caffeine to get through the day.

  • yes it’s true, coffee is better in France with “le petit noir” and in Italia with a “ristretto” (it’s just a sip !) but i think you only can’t stand the taste of something with hot water, tea or coffee or whatever, no ?


  • juicyfruit

    I don’t drink coffee either!! Or tea, or soda really… I do drink hot chocolate but I’m super picky so I rarely order it. People look at me really strangely when they ask what I drink and all I can say is… “fruit juice?” I’m just glad I’m living in NYC during this massive juice trend. I can pretend I’m a health conscious adult rather than admit I choose drinks from the kids menu.

  • Kayla Tanenbaum

    guys, these comments make me feel so much less alone. we should all go out for a nice sparkling water some time

    • Kelsey Moody

      where do you stand on coffee ice cream?!

      • Kayla Tanenbaum

        I think the best part of eating is chewing so I’m not a huge ice cream fan *cowers in fear*

        • Quinn Halman

          Ben and Jerry’s is always the solution, especially now

        • ok ROSS.

  • parkzark

    I got coffee this morning and picked up a diet coke for later. Caffeine is good in any form, maybe except pills?

  • Chrissabella

    This is such a great and refreshing post! I’m not a big fan of coffee either and have contemplated about walking around town with an empty cup … I guess we all have been there 😉


  • Anna

    This post was so much fun, loving the _slightly_ sarcastic tone! I’m, too, a coffee non-drinker and thus recognize myself in this post of yours.

    I’m a doctor by day and a fashion blogger by night. New post up on:


  • Hanne

    can anyone else not open the link to esther’s picks?

    • Amelia Diamond

      Link to Esther’s Picks here: http://bit.ly/1tInHrX BUT, where were you having trouble opening it?

      • Hanne

        thank you!

  • I can’t decide.

    My husband used to drink coffee, but it started give him indigestion. He hasn’t had any in 10 years. He eats candy and ice cream that are coffee flavored, though. He drinks diet coke for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’m really not sure it’s worse for you than coffee. Diet coke is an acquired taste I’m not interested in acquiring. Besides, they have coke zero now. I’ve noticed it’s almost impossible to switch back and forth.

    • I can’t decide.

      My mother believes caffeine is evil and doesn’t drink coffee, tea, or soda pop. (She eats chocolate, though)

  • lavieenliz

    coffee gives me anxiety attacks so I get tea from starbucks or hot chocolate!


  • Hanne

    i love this, i also don’t drink coffee at all, but actually when meeting my professor i am usually accepting when they offer coffee, just to get the idea of the give-and-take relationship going. but other than that, i can easily get something else when going for a sunday afternoon or a hangover coffee with a friend, i mean i’ll just order an alternative. but i get youuuuu. also, loving the notting hill reference!

  • Amalie

    Same! When I say I don’t like coffee, people give me ‘that look’.


  • AlexaJuno

    While I laud your blissfully java-free lifestyle, I’ve just found that coffee is a great alternative to hating everybody all the time. How do you do it?

  • OK, you don’t drink coffee, I got it, but what about the smell? Freshly ground coffee smells so intoxicatingly good especially on a cold day.

  • Melissa

    I love everything about this!! I am a big coffee drinker, but I hate that people have to pretend things they are not for social pressure. I love how you own who you are and writing witty and interesting discussions along the way 🙂

  • It’s all crap! I just drink water and do yoga!


    • I thought I was going to dislike working 12:30-7:30pm (if I don’t have motivation to leave my apartment, I will bum around until I have to), but I LOVED doing yoga before work. I’m back to a regular 9-6 schedule and I wish I could fit a yoga class in the morning

  • Aisha S

    Come join the coffee culture! We are all good and super hyper people!!!!!

  • Have you tried chai? or even better, a mocha chai? At starbucks just ask for a grande chai with two pumps of mocha syrup. There’s zero coffee, a bit of a caffeine buzz, and dark chocolate with some cinnamon… Aaaand something to order when you’re forced to go out for coffee.

  • I mentioned this in the “What Your Coffee Order Says About You” article – I can’t drink coffee. I don’t love the taste, and I don’t love how I feel after consuming it. I think too many people think being “addicted to coffee” makes them interesting


    • Courtney

      I concur!

  • I don’t drink coffee it gives me heart palpitations (feels like I’m gonna have a heart attack not cool!). Tea, especially those of the green variety I’m partial to though. Tea also gives a more sustained caffeine boost throughout the day!


  • starryhye

    I used to work with 2 women who would run to Stbx every day at 4pm for their “dope”. AKA, a dopio espresso, aka a double shot of caffeine. I didn’t really get it back then (I was 24-25). I didn’t drink coffee until I had kids. Now I’m a slave to my Keurig and get monthly deliveries of k-cups via Amazon prime.

    What about smoothies or juice? Aren’t juice bars a thing in NYC? This kinda makes me think of that episode of Friends where Rachel starts smoking in order to socialize with her boss. Coffee has really become a social thing. Like, I can’t go to a bar and drink and socialize in the middle of the day so I guess I’ll settle for some coffee and chit chat.

    • Gotta say, in all the jobs I’ve had in NYC the past 7 years, (retail, publishing, fashion, tech) I see a lot of coffee cups, and very few juices or smoothies

  • crazygemini12

    The coffee is definitely better in Italy. France’s coffee was just okay, if it helps 🙂

  • I have also tried to drink coffee numerous times and can’t quite grasp what all the fuss is about. I’m a total tea addict! Great post, witty and honest 🙂

  • My coworker ordered an espresso because he “needed desperately no wake up”. He tasted it without the sugar and he made the funniest disgusted face ever. He ended up drinking it like a shot – quick. Meanwhile, I sipped on my two-shot (doppio) espresso lol we’re big espresso drinkers at my house.

  • Wait, diet coke? In 2014? (Almost 15) You guys have got to stop.

  • Emily

    I’m so glad this article was written! So many times I’ve been invited out for coffees and lattes and what not and I’ve been shamed for being such an uncultured swine. I’m sitting here with my diet coke feeling the tender reassurance that this has provided me. I’ll never grow in to coffee but at least I’m not alone.

  • MagpieStyle

    That is me to a T. I grab a Diet Coke first thing to wake up! Never drank coffee.

  • belle_christina

    Haha, this post was hysterical and too true. I don’t drink coffee or tea either and my co-workers think I am bananas and don’t know how I function. I reply and tell them that I am energetic enough as it is, I don’t need coffee to make it worse!

  • I recently got hired at Tim Horton’s and I’m truly an embarrassment – at the ripe age of young adult I know absolutely nothing about coffee or tea and I can hear my supervisors’ internal conflict as to why on earth they hired me.
    Whenever someone asks me to go out for coffee, I just roll with it then surprise them at the cash register when I order a hot chocolate or juice or something. I don’t even like drinking pop. I AM A SOCIAL SIPPING OUTCAST. Just kidding – this thread is proof that I’m not alone you are not alone WE ARE NOT ALONE.♥ ♥ ♥


  • María Belén

    This is why when I go to Starbucks, I end up drinking hot chocolate or iced shaken lemon tea (green tea one, is the best). I still can’t understand what is so weird about not drinking coffee (or liking coffee), or why I seem crazy every time someone asks what do I have for breakfast and I say “A glass of milk” (have you noticed that adults don’t drink much milk? or at least where I am from).

    Buuuuuuuut I guess that is the same feeling people that don’t drink alcohol get when I shout to ’em “WHAT? YOU DON’T LIKE ALCOHOL AT ALL? BUT YOU GET USED TO THE TASTE!” – wow, epiphany right there.

  • pamb

    My favorite coffee story: in the early 90s, I was Miss Starbucks. I thought I was so cool with my lingo and sophisticated ‘adult’ habit. A girlfriend and I went to Italy, and I insisted that she order a latte, since she didn’t really like coffee. “You’ll love it!” I said. Imagine our surprise when she was presented with a mug of warm milk. Our American latte is called a caffe latte in Italy. Even the waiter admitted that he thought it was odd that an adult would be ordering warm milk. And…. scene!

  • Leanne

    All I need is my green tea in the morning, another tea about an hour later and I’m good. Otherwise I can’t talk right. Ha:)


  • Really funny post:)

    Traveling soon? Check out my latest post xoxo

  • Honestly, alcohol completely replaces coffee in social situations… orrrrrrr hot chocolate, just saying.

  • Clara Ella

    I feel like I use all my money on coffee.. It’s sad but true
    Loved this post.


  • The coffee non drinker would be me :/ I like tea!! IM SORRY



  • Kaitlyn Vitug

    I took forever to grow into coffee, and honestly I’ll still pick hot chocolate over it! But I do love tea. :3


  • NoeMaDi

    As a Caribbean girl ( coffee producers area), who lives in Italy ( the masters of the coffe) obviously I have to be a coffee lover. It’s part of my culture as it’s part of yours the coke, diet coke and all these things. You should try it’s soo good!! and yes, Europe coffe ( I mean Italian coffe) it’s better than american one. https://www.eltinterodenoe.wordpress.com

  • I have a few friends who don’t drink tea or coffee but for me its routine! the first thing I look for when I wake up and the social side of going out to get one!

    Rachael O x

  • SupaSarah

    I never ever drank hot drinks until I started drinking coffee at 35 years old. This was out of total desperation because of having a newborn baby but still needing to understand an ExCel spreadsheet. In the pre-coffee years I never pretended to like that stuff. That is cray-cray!

  • I’m totally with you and steer clear of all establishments serving coffee…and Pepsi!

  • Coffee Addict. Check out my line Honey Bee Swim at http://www.shophoneybee.com

  • This is a sitcom waiting to happen. Love the article.

  • I fall somewhere in between the coffee spectrum. I just like it very simply – strong, dark with a splash of milk so navigating through the lattes, frappes and macchiatos of the world is really confusing as well.


  • vanessa

    No coffee. No caffeine. Just water. And a Saturday Proseco. And a Thursday Proseco. Seven Prosecos. Three on Thursday, four on Saturday.

  • Carol Gillott

    Me too but moving to Paris is hard on non-coffee drinkers so I get 7/8 hot milk and 1/8 coffee. Tastes yum. I do like coffee ice cream but it keeps me up at nite!? I once had to do a lot of paintings for a French coffee company and they kept giving me ‘flights’ of tastings like wine…felt like stones in my stomach. Awful ;(

  • Ebony Vargas

    I can relate to this so much! I’ve tried getting used to coffee, but I just can’t. I’ve discovered over the years that I’m more drawn to tea, and that’s fine, but even then I’d rather go for juice instead. I’ll never know how to order a latter either. What the heck is that anyway?! Great story, by the way. I had a good time reading it.

  • I love coffee! But I did have somebody tell me I must be a grown up because I liked coffee. This is untrue!

    average adventures

  • Allie

    This is hilarious. Went to Starbucks yesterday randomly and they spelled my name “Pullie.” I’m pretty sure they do it just to feel powerful.

  • Amanda

    Ahahahahah!!! Well, actually, I am addicted to coffee at mornings. I can understand though you drinking diet coke when you wake up: it’s your daily dose of caffeine!

  • sipolos

    I Love Coffee 😛
    Suplemen Makanan

  • thebusykhaleeji

    Hilarious post, but as a passionate coffee drinker I immediately felt the urge to turn you…


  • Haha me neither! Even this morning i poured my self a coffee just to prove to myself it wasn’t that bad but it was that bad!

  • ratched

    I have never been a coffee drinker. I am deeply in middle age, and I got there with never having made a pot of coffee in my life. Then. The little bottles of Starbucks Frappuccinos. They probably don’t really count as “coffee”, but I also can’t quit them. They are a comfort type “food” for me. I also am not a tea drinker nor water. For the last ten years, it’s been Diet A&W Root Beer (and in the middle of the night too) but I decided to quit the artificial sweeteners, so I pour a glass with about 2 fingers of pure juice (apple is probably my favorite) and fill the rest (about 10 oz.) of mineral water. Topo Chico or Pellegrino. Cheers!

  • haha! You’re better off without coffee, trust me. It’s such a deep love/hate addiction. I started drinking lattes because of Mary Kate too, back when I started seeing all of the celebs carrying Starbucks cups… because I thought it was the cool thing to do, and it made me feel like a grown-up. It seemed innocuous at first, but over the next few years, it turned into a full blown daily coffee addiction requiring a Keurig machine, $12 K-cups every week and a half, and emergency trips Starbucks whenever I’m feeling a little bit sluggish or not peppy enough to conquer the day. Before coffee, I was freer, I felt better in the morning, I had more consistent energy levels, whiter teeth (with stronger enamel!), a brighter smile, and a cushier wallet. I wish that I had never given in to the coffee craze to begin with…

  • Stoical1

    If you are a supertaster, ( for ex. you can’t eat broccoli because they taste bitter etc. because you can taste PROP and PTC etc.) you can never ever get used to the taste of diet coke! But if you are regular taster or non-taster (which doesn’t mean those people don’t taste anything, they anatomically have less taste buds) diet coke should be OK. Women are more likely to be born as supertasters, also the Asian, Lationos, Africans.

  • Thank you so much for this. Unlike you, I drink tea, so I couldn’t identify with the Diet Coke predicaments, but the last section is perfect. Also, the way people stare at you when you tell them you don’t drink coffee? What’s that about?

  • Finally somebody 😀 I usually order pumpkin spice hot chocolate at Starbucks though.

  • Nina

    I love this!! Finally…I am non coffee drinker, too..been there – to all the points..too funny!!!

  • Coffee is not delicious…to me. I’m more of a tea person. But enough cream and loads of sugar and I’m in 🙂

  • Sati Marie Frost

    I’m an occasional coffee drinker. I love it, but it doesn’t love me. One cup keeps me in the bathroom all afternoon (sorry!) and awake all night.

    I’ve been around coffee drinkers my whole life (grew up in Spain) but I’ve never met anyone who loves it like my new boss. He has no sense of smell and not much taste (in the oral sense; his taste in clothes and music and stuff is excellent). When I started making him coffee he said to whack as much as I could in his cup, and I thought he was joking or doing the he-man thing. So we began what I *thought* was a game, where I made each cup a bit stronger than the last, until halfway through my first week I literally poured half a bag of Colombian filter coffee into the French press. It was so strong I needed every bit of my

  • Denise Dunlap

    I get you! I don’t drink coffee, I don’t like coffee flavor desserts, I don’t even like the smell of coffee!! I was perfectly happy drinking milk in the morning. The only reason I actually started drinking tea was for the caffeine to help prevent my migraines. (and it does, thankfully!) “Non-coffee drinkers unite!” 🙂

  • Szia Ujj


  • You know who are the people I am suspicious of? The ones who don’t drink coffee, tea or soda. Or alcohol. And no cake either. I am very suspicious of these people – I suspect they are of the green smoothie variety.


  • Crowther Amanda-Beth

    Coffe is gross grandma acared me from tea (dad’s side) by forcing it on me as a little girl. I don’t drink alcohol because it isn’t safe i am adhd and have rage moments. Ppl think I have 3 heads sometimes. I don’t. There is plenty of things to drink. Lots of stuff has caffeine in it if you need it. Adhd caffine calms me instead of amps me.

  • Pudenda Shenanigans

    I don’t drink coffee or liquor, but I don’t love me a large McDonald’s Diet Coke.

  • John

    Diet soda is cheesy and ludicrous, I like coffee although hate the new snob culture of it which is the blame for it all. Tim Hortons was better than Starbucks