Happy National Coffee Day: Famous Coffee Lovers

Oh, sweet nectar.  The caramel-flavored reward after a long hike, the morning ritual, the night cap espresso after a romantic date, my study partner in college, and the perfect thing to warm my hands in a snowy city.

I love coffee.  Pine for it, even.

Let’s take a look at famous coffee lovers throughout history who may have loved the brew even more than me.

Johann Sebastian Bach

My favorite composer (Yo-Yo Ma’s rendition of the melancholic and heart-wrenching Cello Suites makes me curl up and die in the best way) wrote an entire opera about coffee entitled The Coffee Cantata.  A famous line from the comedy spouts, “If I can’t drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment, I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat.”  Oh Johann, how do I love thee?  Let me count the cups.

Bach Coffee Cantata



Ludwig van Beethoven

Another German composer dominating the list, Beethoven was said to be so meticulous in his coffee addiction, that he would count out 60 beans for every cup that he made.  Now that’s dedication to brew perfection.



The first Frenchie on our list, satirical Enlightenment writer and philosopher Voltaire historically drank between 50 and 80 cups of coffee a day, mainly at the Café de Procope in Paris.  Some even say that it was coffee that fueled the creativity behind Candide, ou l’Optimisme

Voltaire coffee cafe de procope

Voltaire and Diderot at the Cafe de Procope (


Napoleon Bonaparte

The second Frenchie on our list and self-proclaimed Emperor of France, Napoleon once said, “Strong coffee, much strong coffee, is what awakens me. Coffee gives me warmth, waking, an unusual force and a pain that is not without very great pleasure” and “I would rather suffer with coffee than be senseless.”  He must not have had his coffee before having this portrait painted –>

Sad Napoleon.


And I unfortunately couldn’t locate any famous female coffee lovers, but there exists ‘The Women’s Petition Against Coffee’ printed in London in 1674.  As coffee was introduced in England, it was drunk mainly by men and served only in coffeehouses…which were suitable replacements for taverns?  Apparently the women of the time didn’t think so, as their husbands idled away time “to nothing more than the Excessive use of that Newfangled, Abominable, Heathenish Liquor called COFFEE.”


I’m a cream and sugar kind of gal.  How do you take your coffee?


“Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?”
Albert Camus


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