While I am now a fairly regular drinker of coffee, this was certainly not always the case. In fact, I only began drinking coffee four years ago. I never drank coffee in high school, I never drank coffee in college, and I never drank coffee in rabbinical school. However, all it takes is the right circumstances.
When I moved out to Southern California a little over five and a half years ago, I found myself frequently meeting people in coffee shops, so I felt obligated to drink something. Initially that something was hot chocolate, which was seasonally appropriate, since it was the winter. However, when the winter warmed up, I wanted to drink something different, so I went with ice blended drinks (okay, it was primarily at stores of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, which have very tasty iced blended drinks, which are sweet). Somehow, I eventually moved on to drinking lattes, which were the closest I came to actually drinking coffee.
Outside of coffee shops, I would normally get my fix of caffeine through either Diet Coke (or similar drinks) or energy drinks, which had a generous amount of caffeine. However, when I was out of my element four summers ago, I turned over a new leaf in my caffeine consumption.
While staffing BBYO's International Leadership Training conference four summers ago at B'nai B'rith Perlman Camp, I did not have access to my typical caffeine sources - no lattes, no Diet Coke (okay, some, but how much Diet Coke was I going to consume?), and no energy drinks - what was I to do? After nearly a week, I knew I needed to do something, so having seen a pot of coffee in the staff lounge, I figured I would try some. With some Splenda added, it wasn't terrible. I then began consuming coffee regularly both there, in the staff lounge, as well as in the dining hall (which was not as good as that of the staff lounge, but it wasn't bad).
Upon my return to Southern California, I tried drinking lattes again, but found them to be too heavy for me to drink, whereas coffees were not. In addition to finding coffees lighter and easier to drink than lattes, I also enjoyed that they were minimally caloric, versus the hundreds of calories that came with lattes (or iced blendeds). Thus began my drinking of coffee regularly - thanks to being outside of my normal circumstances.