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Just know fellow non-coffee drinkers, you're not alone. (Image: Getty Images)
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The Shame of Not Being a Seattle Coffee Drinker

It's a bit embarrassing when I get invited for coffee in Seattle and order a juice or hot chocolate. I just don't drink coffee. The person looks at me like I just made an armpit fart noise, and for the duration of the time, it feels as though they're sitting in a towering adult chair while I'm at the kids' table.

Not drinking coffee in Seattle is about as difficult as not inhaling oxygen. It's everywhere. Cafes dot the streets like they're mounting an invasion, and it seems like every other hand is gripping a fresh cup of coffee, with every keyboard nervous that the one a few inches away is going to spill on it.

When people discuss cold brews and French presses and dark roasts, I turn my head back and forth like a dog who doesn't understand what's going on.

“Don't talk to me until I've had my coffee,” someone will say, and I'll phonily respond, “Yeah, I hear that.”

It's obviously an instrumental part of Seattle culture and I have no intention to detract from that. Quite the opposite - I want to be a part of it, to join the coffee community and go to the coffee parties and eat the beans and drink the beans and rub the beans on the beans or whatever people do.

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But I don't really like it and I'm not the only one. Us non-coffee drinkers walk amongst you, in fact, we look just like you, except there's no coffee cup in our hands. You may see us whispering to each other in hushed tones about how we don't drink coffee, lest some Seattle coffee drinker discover us and point accusingly like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", pelting us with coffee beans and chasing us down the streets.

Believe me, I've tried. Barista friends have made me fancy cups of coffee and assuredly said, “Just try this,” and I'm always like, “No good, sorry.” It's not that I outright hate the flavor. I like coffee ice cream and chocolate-covered espresso beans and somehow love the smell of ground coffee when I pass it in the grocery store. But if you give me a real cup of joe, I tend to react like a child drinking cough medicine.

Just know fellow non-coffee drinkers, you're not alone. I know it's hard out there, but you must take precautions to prevent yourself from being caught, and tied to a train leaving Seattle. When meeting someone for coffee, tell them that you're already three cups in and will be up all night if you drink another, so you'll just get a water instead. “You know how it is,” you can add for effect.

Rub coffee beans on your clothes in the morning so you have the scent, and complain about the awful coffee at work even though you don't know how to operate the coffee machine. If someone asks your favorite place for coffee, just say that would be like choosing your favorite child and you could never decide, though if they pry further, do your research ahead of time and say something like Caffe Ladro or Espresso Vivace. Don't make the mistake I did by unconfidently muttering, “Uhh... Coffee Hut?”

Remember, you can still sort of be an adult if you don't partake in the 24/7 coffee jamboree that is Seattle. Who do these coffee drinkers think they are, anyway? There are plenty of beverages just as worthy as coffee, like Ovaltine, Fresca, egg creams, Go-Gurt, Metamucil, those drinks that have mist coming off them - okay those weren't great examples but you know what I mean.

Sorry, I’m just a little tired this morning. Not sure what people do in this situation.

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