10 Drinks You Were Obsessed With Before You Realized You Liked Coffee

For the last, oh, decade or so my life mantra has basically been, "But first, coffee." However there was a time when I didn't depend on this glorious brew for my daily pick-me-up. Rather, other beverages filled me with the euphoria now reserved for that morning cuppa joe. If you think back, you likely recall drinks you were obsessed with before coffee, too. With the exception of you hardcore coffee drinkers in the crowd who started your habit in high school, for most of us this list of pre-coffee libations looks a lot like drinks we loved in the '90s. 'Cause, well, that's when we were still figuring this whole life thing out and/or heeding our grandmother's ominous promise that coffee would stunt our growth.

Now that I'm a grownass woman (and also 5"10', thank you very much), I've come to realize nothing kicks off my morning — and afternoon, and evening — quite the way coffee does. Perhaps it is partially due to the placebo effect, but there are days I swear I couldn't make it past noon if coffee weren't part of the equation. Coffee is like my little liquid cheerleader, perkily encouraging me to keep going when all I want to do is crawl into bed and bingewatch Breaking Bad. So, every day, basically.


Still, the enthusiasm I have for coffee now hasn't always been exclusive. Truth be told, the following drinks were my first loves. But don't worry, coffee. You're my last.

1. Surge


Surge may be singlehandedly responsible for getting me through high school. I'm not sure whose idea it was to stock the cafeteria vending machines with this nectar of the gods, but point me in their direction — I owe them a debt of gratitude. Nothing revived me for second period Spanish class after an all-night pond party (What? I'm from the South!) like a few swigs of Surge.

2. YooHoo

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There was something inherently exciting about shaking up a bottle of YooHoo, hearing that familiar pop of the top, and then chugging to your heart's content. It just made a pre-coffee gal feel better about the world somehow. And having discarded YooHoo bottles rolling around the floorboards of your car was essentially a rite of passage growing up.

3. Orbitz

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The idea of eagerly drinking a beverage with little floating balls in it is a bit offputting to me now, if I'm being honest. Orbitz was like the tapioca of the beverage world. Or like a lava lamp ... you drank. But I sure loved the heck out of it. It may not have offered the same caffeine rush coffee does, but it flooded you with good feelings nonetheless.

4. Josta

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Josta will always be the OG energy drink for '90s kids. It was the spark that started the entire energy drink craze, and for good reason — this stuff would get you all jacked up. A potent combo of guarana and caffeine delivered on the beverage's promise to give you enough energy to "do the good stuff now" ... and then some.

5. Hi-C Ecto Cooler


I don't care what naysayers said — the inexplicably neon-green hued citrus drink that was the Hi-C Ecto Cooler was and always will be one of the best things to ever come in a cute little juicebox. Long before the days I took my first sip of coffee, I was addicted to this oh-so-sweet and slightly florescent beverage being shilled by Slimer.

6. Crystal Pepsi


IMHO, Crystal Pepsi was every caffeine lover's dream, because it was — wait for it — crystal clear. That meant you could drink as much as humanly possible without worrying about the potential of permanently staining your pearly whites. This was my jam before I decided to pledge my blind devotion to coffee.

7. Flavored Milk Mini-Cartons


Remember the rush you got every time your mom let you get one of those flavored milk mini-cartons? Sure, chocolate was great — but strawberry and vanilla weren't too shabby, either. Variety is the spice of life, after all. These little guys got mornings going in the B.C. days. And by B.C., I definitely mean the ultimate measure of time: Before coffee.

8. Squeezit


Chucklin' Cherry, Berry B. Wild, Rockin' Red Puncher, Smarty Arty Orange — the list goes on and on. Squeezits didn't joke around when it came to flavors. There was a little something for everyone, which makes it not unlike coffee, eh? It's like the kid-version, sans caffeine.

9. Jolt

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Ah, Jolt: The old school soda that would literally make you itch with anticipation and twitch after the fact. Good times. And rebranding the cans to look like AA batteries? Gen-ius.

10. Sunny D


In real talk, I've been known to siphon Sunny D from my kids' cups to this day — the nostalgia I carry for this citrusy drink may never entirely fade away. But long gone are the days when I started my day with this sunshine in a cup. You'll always hold a special place in my heart, Sunny D, but coffee is my low-key liquid soulmate.

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