Hopefully you have time on World Book Day to enjoy some reading time with a cup of coffee. A cup of joe has seemingly always been beloved by writers. Here are some of our favourite writer quotes about coffee.
1 | Coffee > compliments
“I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.”
― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
Talk is cheap, according to Alcott. Flattery is a nice boost at the right time, but any kind of conversation can be a bit of a strain first thing in the morning. This is the 1868 version of the “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee” slogan and it definitely deserves to be on a tote bag or something.
2 | Impatience for a brew
“That’s something that annoys the hell out of me - I mean if somebody says the coffee’s all ready and it isn’t”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Okay, so maybe the protagonist in this American classic complains about just about everything, but we have to agree with this particular gripe. You get all excited and it’s still dripping. Ugh!
3 | No tea for me!
“I don’t even glance at the herbal teas, I go straight for the real, vile coffee. Jitter in a cup. It cheers me up to know I’ll soon be so tense.” — Margaret Atwood
This quote by Atwood is on par with David Lynch’s famous quote, “even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all” - and whilst we’re a fan of well-roasted, high-quality coffee for your morning brew, we have to love her dry wit in any context. It’s hard to imagine A Handmaid’s Tale written on herbal tea, after all.
If a strong-tasting cup is what gets your brain going, check out our dark roasts.
4 | More is better
“You need some coffee, don’t you?”
“Yes, I’ve only had a gallon.”
― John Grisham, The Confession
Flavour first, quantity second. With that being said, did you know you can get our delicious Terras Altas coffee in kilo bags?
Being English and all, we’re not sure what a gallon is, but we support you having quite a lot, anyway.
5 | Coffee is life
“Were it not for coffee one could not write, which is to say one could not live.” — Honore de Balzac
Writers unite - isn’t this one the truth? It’s clear from Balzac’s quote that without our favourite hot beverage, we would never have had Old Goriot. Whether you view that as a horrible concept or not is a matter of taste.
6 | Waxing lyrical
“On taking this drink one feels the sentiment of well being and hope; melancholy is dissipated; one feels capable of doing, because of a condition of strength. Coffee is truly a brain stimulant.” — Voltaire
Let’s have a look back on coffee history. Voltaire was born in 17th-century France. It was during this century that coffee was introduced to Europe.
It’s worth noting that Voltaire had an excessive coffee habit - he reportedly drank 40 to 50 cups a day. No wonder this quote makes him sound like he has reached some kind of over-caffeinated nirvana.
His doctor warned him about the impact his coffee ritual could have on his health, but he lived into his 80s… that’s good enough for us.
Without wanting to put a downer on it, it would be remiss not to acknowledge that despite being known for his criticism of slavery, coffee (much like tea) has a dark history. When it was first introduced to Europe and America, it was slavery that transformed it into the commercial product the modern world knows.
Things have come a long way since then, but make sure the farmers growing your delicious brew are paid properly!
7 | Motivation
“Where do you get inspiration for your books? I tell myself I can’t have another cup of coffee till I thought of an idea.”
— Douglas Adams
Deprivation as motivation? Well, whatever works. But, seeing as coffee aids cognition, we’d recommend having a cup before you begin ideating - no need to make life more difficult!
8 | A ritual
“It was a pleasant cafe, warm and clean and friendly, and I hung up my old water-proof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a cafe au lait. The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of the coat and a pencil and started to write.” — Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway is known for his use of plain language to captivate a wide audience - there’s even a readability tool named after him - but this long list of activities in the first sentence belies what he’s most known for. But it’s really effective. It paints the picture of a ritual.
Rituals help us to be creative because they set us up to be in the mood for whatever the end goal is. Hemingway’s ritual here is going to a cafe and completing a set of specific actions and ordering a specific coffee drink. Then, and only then, is he ready to settle down and write.
9 | A bit harsh
“I just want a hot cup of coffee, black, and I don’t want to hear about your troubles.” — Charles Bukowski
Bukowski isn’t known for niceties, granted, but this one’s a bit mean… yet kind of relatable. And forgivable, like Alcott’s quote, first thing in the morning. Later in the day, we recommend finding that person and having a cuppa and a chat.
10 | Couldn’t say it better
“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.” — Gertrude Stein
This last quote is a great one to leave you on. Coffee brings you back to yourself and take a moment out of your day. We couldn’t agree more that it’s more than just a drink. Coffee is a coffee is a coffee is a coffee (sorry, couldn’t resist the Stein reference.) Coffee is a state of mind.