25 Quotes About Coffee from History’s Most Caffeinated Thinkers

"Coffee is a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening."

coffee

We reach for the French press in the morning before ever dreaming of getting work done. Our K-pods and pour-overs sustain us. And we’re not alone—some of history’s most legendary men and women lived for that caffeine jolt, too. Writers like Gertrude Stein and emperors like Napoleon Bonaparte needed a little kick to get moving.

Here, we’ve compiled our favorite quotes about coffee from throughout the ages. You’ll find that even unexpected figures like Jackie Chan and Bach make appearances, extolling the virtues of espressos, lattes, and simple black coffee.

Scroll down to see what these intellectuals and celebrities have to say about the importance of coffee.

Albert Camus

Who? Absurdist philosopher and journalist

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

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Photo: Pensaleas

Dave Barry

Who? Travel and humor writer

“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. I bet this kind of thing does not happen to heroin addicts. I bet that when serious heroin addicts go to purchase their heroin, they do not tolerate waiting in line while some dilettante in front of them orders a hazelnut smack-a-cino with cinnamon sprinkles.”

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Photo: KCRW


David Lynch

Who? Surrealist filmmaker

“Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.”

Jerry Seinfeld

Who? Comedian who loves cars and coffee

“We want to do a lot of stuff; we’re not in great shape. We didn’t get a good night’s sleep. We’re a little depressed. Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup.”

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Photo: Wikipedia


Christopher Fry

Who? English poet and playwright

“Coffee in England is just toasted milk.”

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Photo: Talk Talk

Eddie Izzard

Who? Comedian and eyeliner enthusiast

“I like my coffee like I like my women. In a plastic cup.”


Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who? Transcendentalist and poet

“Coffee is good for talent, but genius wants prayer.”

Flash Rosenberg

Who? Cartoonist and performer

“I believe humans get a lot done, not because we’re smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee.”


Josephine Baker

Who? Cabaret dancer and spy

“He was my cream, and I was his coffee. And when you poured us together, it was something.”

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Photo: China Rhyming

Johann Sebastian Bach

Who? Baroque composer, genius

“Without my morning coffee I’m just like a dried up piece of roast goat.”


Napoleon Bonaparte

Who? Diminuitive would-be dictator

“I would rather suffer with coffee than be senseless.”

Jonathan Swift

Who? Satirist and writer

“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.”

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Photo: Wikimedia


Henry Ward Beecher

Who? Clergyman and social reformer

“A cup of coffee – real coffee – home-browned, home ground, home made, that comes to you dark as a hazel-eye, but changes to a golden bronze as you temper it with cream that never cheated, but was real cream from its birth, thick, tenderly yellow, perfectly sweet, neither lumpy nor frothing on the Java: such a cup of coffee is a match for twenty blue devils and will exorcise them all.”

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Photo: Britannica

Burt Lancaster

Who? Hunky American actor

“I judge a restaurant by the bread and the coffee.”

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Photo: Hollybollyhub


Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

Who? French diplomat, wig-wearer

“Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.”

T.S. Eliot

Who? Poet, essayist, writer

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.”

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J.D. Salinger

Who? Reclusive American novelist

“That’s something that annoys the hell out of me—I mean if somebody says the coffee’s all ready and it isn’t.” (Catcher in the Rye)

Edward Abbey

Who? Anarchist and author

“Our culture runs on coffee and gasoline, the first often tasting like the second.”

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Photo: Fruitapulp


Bill Cosby

Who? Humorist and pretty swell dancer

“Like everyone else who makes the mistake of getting older, I begin each day with coffee and obituaries.”

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Photo: Paramount VT

Jackie Chan

Who? Kick-ass movie star

“Coffee is a language in itself.”


Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Who? Author and aviator

“Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.”

Sir James MacKintosh

Who? Scottish politician and historian

“The powers of a man’s mind are directly proportional to the quantity of coffee he drank.”


Gertrude Stein

Who? American novelist and expat

“Coffee is 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.”

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Photo: Wikimedia


Orson Welles

Who? Theater, radio, and film producer

“There are three intolerable things in life—cold coffee, lukewarm champagne, and overexcited women…”

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Photo: Pursuitist

Honoré de Balzac

Who? French novelist and playwright

“This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield, and the battle takes place. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind. The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of with start up like sharpshooters. Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder.”

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Photo: Fanpop

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