Confession: I don’t drink coffee.
As unusual as it may sound, it’s true. Somehow I made it through all four years of college without drinking it. In fact, I’ve now made it through 25 years of life without coffee. I’ve never once consumed more than a few sips of the classic caffeinated beverage or any of its varieties.
My default explanation is that my parents aren’t coffee drinkers, so I wasn’t around it very much while growing up. The only experience I had with coffee happened every Sunday morning after church as my young self made a beeline past the adults mulling around with their mugs as I sought out the cookie table. Coffee was never desirable to me (at least not in comparison to cookies).
By the time I was old enough to recognize the general appeal, I decided I didn’t want to drink coffee. I figured I was already hindering any ability to adapt to the acquired taste after avoiding it for so long, and I also wanted to avoid a caffeine dependency. On The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper once said, “I’m sorry, coffee’s out of the question. When I moved to California I promised my mother that I wouldn’t start doing drugs.” I guess I can see where he’s coming from.
When I started working at a restaurant in high school, however, I had to learn about coffee. Russ’ customers drank a lot of it. In the beginning, I didn’t know how to brew a pot, how long said pot would stay fresh, or how I could ever tolerate the strong smell. Eventually, I managed to get used to all of it. After a while, though, I realized I didn’t want to be indifferent.
Confession: I wish I liked coffee.
Coffee is difficult to avoid. It seems like life is built around coffee dates, meetings over coffee, swinging through a Starbucks drive-thru while doing errands, or even the alluring promise of caffeine as a get-out-of-bed stimulant every morning. With nearly 33,000 Starbucks locations worldwide, coffee is basically everywhere.
And I feel like my life would be a little easier if I drank it.
With coffee, I expect I would feel more awake in the mornings, and—at the very least—I could avoid the confused or mildly shocked expressions that often meet my confession. An enjoyment of coffee would also make social gatherings easier. Going to a coffee shop with friends is a classic activity, but for me it’s anything but easy. While I can usually order a hot chocolate or a smoothie and feel content, sometimes the options are very limited. I remember agreeing to a friend date at a coffee shop once and even feeling brave enough to try a pumpkin spice latte. With some anxious anticipation, I took a sip—and was naturally met with disappointment. It wasn’t long before I passed it off to my friend, who smiled and said, “I can barely even taste the coffee.” I drove home that day with a dull, throbbing headache, even though I barely drank any of the latte. I wasn’t anywhere closer to sharing the appeal.
Confession: I do have one fond memory of coffee.
Maybe, for a less headache-inducing experience, I could attempt to like decaf coffee. The only time I’ve tried it was when I came down for breakfast at the North Bridge Inn one day during the New England Saints interim trip. I discovered that I and one other fellow Saint, Jake, were the only ones awake enough to stagger downstairs that morning.
Jake had accidentally filled a mug with decaf and offered it to me, not wanting it to go to waste in pursuit of a cup of regular, all-black coffee. Despite my better judgment, I took my first sip of decaf as we sat down at a table together. I didn’t like the taste, and as we chatted and got to know each other that morning, he was naturally surprised to find out that I wasn’t a fan of coffee.
I’m guessing he’s still a little surprised that he now has a girlfriend he can’t take on coffee dates.
Kayleigh (Fongers) Van Wyk (’18) graduated with a degree in writing and resides in West Michigan. She works as a reporter for the Grand Rapids Business Journal and Grand Rapids Magazine while also making time for freelance writing. When she’s not behind a screen, she enjoys going for walks, eating ice cream, and buying more books than she’ll ever read.