29 September is International Coffee Day. The day is used to promote fair trade coffee and to raise awareness for the plight of coffee growers.
Authors have always had a lot to say about coffee. We took this excerpt about writers who loved their coffee from our post, Writers of Substance (Abuse) - Famous Writers and their Addictions.
The Coffee Club
Honore de Balzac used to drink 50 cups of coffee a day. He woke at 1 am each day and wrote for seven hours. At 8 am he napped for 90 minutes, then wrote again from 9:30 to 4 pm. He said: ‘As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move…similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle.’
Søren Kierkegaard had an interesting coffee ritual. He poured sugar into a coffee cup until it was piled up above the rim. Next came the incredibly strong, black coffee, which slowly dissolved the white pyramid. Then he gulped the whole thing down in one go.
Voltaire was said to have drunk 30 - 40 cups of coffee (mixed with chocolate) every day.
Gertrude Stein also loved coffee. She wrote: ‘Coffee gives you time to think. It’s a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup.’
Benjamin Franklin had high standards for his coffee. He said: ’Among the numerous luxuries of the table…coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions…is never followed by sadness, languor or debility.’
Alexander Pope enjoyed coffee. He said: ‘Coffee, which makes the politician wise, and see through all things with his half-shut eyes.’
Jean Jacques Rousseau said: ’Ah, that is a perfume in which I delight; when they roast coffee near my house, I hasten to open the door to take in all the aroma.’
Dave Barry wrote: ‘It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.’
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was an enthusiastic coffee drinker.
Jonathan Swift needed coffee at least once a week to write. He said: ‘The best Maxim I know in this life is, to drink your Coffee when you can, and when you cannot, to be easy without it. While you continue to be splenetic, count upon it I will always preach. Thus much I sympathize with you that I am not cheerful enough to write, for I believe Coffee once a week is necessary to that.’