All right, admit it. Coffee never has been your cup of tea.

Truth be told, when everybody else was grinding beans, lining up at the coffee urn or pouring a hot cup of java, you were hankering for some other kind of morning pick-me-up.

You were just dying for a nice cold Coke, weren't you?

You were not alone.

An increasing number of Americans are getting their morning caffeine fixes from soft drinks and, not surprisingly, Coca-Cola Co. is doing all it can to encourage that trend -- although Coke has about one-third the caffeine content of coffee.

The Atlanta-based company slowly is rolling out a marketing campaign urging people to try Coke as a breakfast beverage. The "Coke in the Morning" campaign has surfaced in several markets, and some industry sources believe that Coke may broaden it soon. It's already is available on an optional basis to bottlers nationwide, although officials at Mid-Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling, the local bottler, say they have no plans to push the advertising campaign in the Washington area.

Coke says the morning push is based on market trends -- the percentage of Coke's total sales that is consumed in the morning has risen to 12 percent from 9 percent 10 years ago, and the increase is gathering speed, according to industry analysts. "If anything, we're not leading the consumer, we're jumping on the bandwagon they started," said Robert Baskin, a spokesman for Coca-Cola USA, the company's marketing arm.

"This isn't all just for breakfast," Baskin said. "This is Coke in the morning. A lot of people take mid-morning breaks, and they do it with a Coke."

Coke began experimenting with the campaign three years ago in markets in Texas and the Southeast, where Coke has always had a strong morning market.

Since then, it has popped up in parts of Kentucky, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Florida; the campaign includes radio jingles, billboards and other advertising as well as special offers through doughnut shops, convenience stores like 7-Eleven, and fast food outlets.

Industry experts say demographics are heavily in Coke's favor. Most young consumers have grown up drinking Coke and other soft drinks, and as the Pepsi Generation -- pardon the expression -- has matured, its members have accepted soda drinking throughout the day.

"What's happened is that soft drinks have become so pervasive. They're all over the place," said Emmanuel Goldman, a beverage industry analyst at Montgomery Securities in San Francisco.

"Kids are already hooked, because they're ... not milk drinkers, like we were, but Coke drinkers," said Tom Pirko, president of Bevmark, a Los Angeles-based beverage industry consulting firm that has done work for Coke and others in the industry.

With Coke looking for new market niches to increase its business, the morning coffee and tea market was a natural, according to Pirko. "What we've been discussing with Coke and people like them is how to grow, and we've felt for a long time that they could grow by targeting coffee and tea ... which they feel are sitting ducks," Pirko said. "We're fairly certain that they're going to dramatically increase {market} share."

Predictably, the coffee industry is taking a pretty dim view of Coke's efforts. Coffee sales have been flat for years, and the industry has had a tough time getting young people to become coffee drinkers.

"We're concerned about it. It's something we don't want to see," said Steve Gross, a spokesman for the Coffee Development Group, a Washington-based trade organization that pushes coffee use, particularly to young people, through programs such as working with colleges to set up coffeehouses.

A spokesman for the National Coffee Association, a New York-based trade group, said morning is the coffee industry's major market; about half of the 1.76 cups of coffee consumed daily by the average American is drunk at breakfast.

The spokesman said the industry is watching Coke's new campaign, but so far has no organized plans to combat it.

Officials at Coke's main rival, Pepsi-Cola, also say they're watching the campaign with interest, but they have no plans at the moment to match it.

"It's obviously an untapped day segment," a Pepsi spokesman said. "We've got our eyes on it."

And industry analysts say they are eager to see whether Coke will become a regular part of the American breakfast menu.

"It's an interesting approach," Goldman said of the Coke campaign. "Will it be cost effective? It probably will be."

"People are used to drinking soft drinks all the time now," he said. "Why not in the morning?"

You know who you are.