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Am I the only adult in America who doesn't like coffee?

Growing up in the San Francisco area I remember crossing the bay bridge on foggy mornings with the smell of the Coffee Roasting Plant drifting up from under the bridge at the San Francisco end. Rich, full, luxuriant, coffee smells like chocolate tastes. Unfortunately for me the taste of coffee has none of the depth, the subtleties, the scope that the smell has. I only taste one flavor. Bitter.

It doesn't matter how much milk or sugar I add, it doesn't matter if it has been turned into a rich dessert like tiramisu or a coffee candy, or coffee ice cream. The bitterness is pervasive. Not a light bitterness that can lend an interesting edge to a dish. No, this is a medicinal level of bitterness, like drinking a beverage brewed from aspirin.

And it's not just 'cheap' coffee. I live in Hawaii, I've had really really good coffee. I've had light roast, medium roast, dark roast, French roast. Fresh ground, course ground, fine ground. I've had coffee with no film on the surface of the cup to coffee that looked like it had an oil slick on it.

I've had instant coffee, coffee machine coffee, k-cup coffee, percolator coffee, thai coffee, vietnamese coffee, espresso, mocha, latte, etc. So lets not get into the "but you have never had the coffee at Demel's in Vienna or whatever (actually I did try coffee with pastry at Demel's in Vienna, I didn't like it, ruined the delicate flavor of the pastry.)

I'm not interested in learning to love coffee - I'm fully aware of what I'm missing. I'm just wondering if I'm the only one who doesn't like the stuff.

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  1. You are not alone. I don't like coffee. It doesn't matter how much sugar or cream goes in, I still do not like the basic coffeeness of coffee.

    1. Well, there's at least one other - my brother. His dimwit kindergarten teacher (1975) told my mom to give him a big cup of black coffee each morning so he'd be better at paying attention. He hated it and hasn't touched it since the first grade:)

      9 Replies
        1. re: KrumTx

          Couldn't be any worse than all the pills people are giving their kids to 'pay attention'.

          1. re: KrumTx

            This isn't a crazy idea. For some kids that are naturally ramped up, caffeine actually has the opposite effect that it has in the rest of us. It calms them down.

            1. re: NotLucky

              Yep. When I was diagnosed with ADHD (just called hyperactivity disorder then) as a child in the early 70s, the doctor prescribed coffee for me. It worked. I was calmer and more focused until it wore off.

              1. re: Isolda

                I have Aspergers and drinking coffee relaxes me. It only last a few hours but it does work.

                I know 2 people in my immediate family that hate coffee so you're definitely not alone.

            2. re: KrumTx

              The teacher was not really such a dimwit.

              Caffeine can alleviate attention and focus difficulties, though it is less effective than prescription stimulant medications. For properly diagnosed people, stimulants activate impulse control and focus neurotransmitters in the brain (like stimulating the brakes on a runaway car).

              Lots of people "self medicate" with coffee and colas.

              The problem was giving a large amount of black coffee, when a milky and sweet latte type drink might have gone down better :)

              1. re: Rasam

                My son's neurologist has suggested the same as that "dimwit" teacher, thought she suggested a hot cup of tea or big glass of iced tea if he doesn't like coffee. It can help him transition in the morning and in the afternoon.

                1. re: foodieX2

                  That'll teach me not to use the word dimwit, and I do agree that coffee/something else is better than prescription drugs in most cases. I suppose my reaction is from my memory of being 8 years old, sitting across the breakfast table from him and watching him try to choke down coffee without crying. (We got in even bigger trouble if we cried). I felt that I could terrorize my little brother all I wanted, but when someone else did something to make him miserable, it was a different story. Feel the same way almost 40 years later:)

                  Thanks for the replies.

                  1. re: KrumTx

                    Oh...that poor little guy...that's a very difficult visual.

                    Did he have any understanding of why he was told to drink the coffee?

            3. Same here.
              I've tried. OH, I've tried.
              I once worked at a place that always had 2 pots on--and almost always fresh. No water fountains. No fridge. And the sink water was terrible unless boiled. I thought I would be able to force myself to endure coffee, since I occasionally felt on the verge of dehydration.
              No luck.

              And, like you, I've had the opportunity to try "the best" from several different cultures, at the source.
              Bitter, bitter, bitt-ahh.

              Before coffee was a trendy thing, it was sort-of okay but now it seems I can't be an educated person if I don't have a range of arguments about the best coffees and if I don't want to hang out and Drink Coffee.

              1. Nothing wrong with not liking coffee.

                Who says you (or anyone) has to like what a lot of other people like.

                I don't like butter or cheese, and I sleep well at night ...

                1. Nope. I love the smell of coffee brewing but am never tempted to drink the stuff. Tried a cup once, black, I was maybe 27yo. It wasn't *horrible*, but I had no desire to repeat the experience. Coffee ice cream is a waste of good dairy. Besides the taste, I have never had much use for hot bev: Tea, even hot chocolate leave me, excuse the expression, cold. Starbucks is a $3 (or $6) a day habit I don't need at all---as though Americans need another excuse to consume sugar!