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From Voltaire to Johan Sebastian Bach: Historical Figures Who Loved Coffee

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A lot of people think of the coffee obsession so many people have as a modern phenomenon, but there are so many historical figures who loved coffee.

Many of the figures on this list have made a huge cultural impact. Maybe there’s something magic in the coffee beans they were drinking?

In this list, we’re going through some historical figures who loved coffee, and we’ve even got some quotes for you regarding how much these cultural cornerstones loved a cup of joe.

David Lynch
David Lynch

Photo: pexles.com


The genius sairist is said to have consumed up to 40 cups of coffee every single day. This is not something that is recommended.

Voltaire is a significant cultural figure and his wit and writings are still enjoyed today. Was it fueled by coffee beans? Well, he certainly consumed an incredible amount. It is said that he most enjoyed mixing his coffee beans with chocolate, too.

Doctors supposedly tried to get Voltaire to kick his habit on numerous occasions, but he lived a long life in spite of consuming huge amounts of caffeine.

David Lynch

Though Lynch is not confined to history, and his work is still crucial in the modern age, the filmmaker has a reputation for loving to drink a lot of coffee. He is said to drink between 5 and 7 cups of coffee every day, and spoke about his obsession with coffee in a recent blog post. Did you know that there is even a David Lynch Signature coffee like that you can buy and enjoy?

Who knows if we’d have enjoyed quite so many spectacular movies if it weren’t for David’s love of coffee.

Johan Sebastian Bach

The composer is still a household name hundreds of years after the significant cultural works he provided us with.

“Without my morning cup of coffee, I’m just like a dried-up piece of roast goat”. Yes, this is a real quote.

Bach was known for his love of coffee, and actually composed a funny poem (from which the above quote is found) called The Coffee Cantata. This was way back in the early 1700s. The poem was designed to poke fun at people getting concerned about coffee’s growth in Vienna, as at the time it was perceived as a problem.

Bach was prolific throughout his life and is known as one of the most influential composers of all time. Did the coffee help? Who knows, but culturally there is no denying that the coffee houses of Vienna were playing a huge part in the movement at the time.

David Lynch
David Lynch

Photo: pexles.com


You can probably see a theme developing here when it comes to classical composers.

Beethoven was supposedly obsessive about coffee, and while it isn’t known exactly how much he would consume, it is said that he would drink a cup every morning after counting out 60 beans for the cup by hand. It supposedly had to be 60 exactly to satisfy the famously fussy composer.

Teddy Roosevelt

Well, there’s no denying that this is a job that will keep you busy. Perhaps it is no wonder that Roosevelt drank so much coffee.

It is said that he would consume a gallon of coffee every single day. That means another historical figure on our list that is consuming way more than could possibly be healthy. We don’t recommend replicating this habit.

Roosevelt is also said to have had between 5 and 7 sugars in every single cup, and his son said that the cup he would drink out of actually resembled a bathtub.

Napoleon Bonaparte

This is a bit of a strange inclusion, and there is a lot of mythology around Bonaparte. However, it is said that coffee grounds were found in his stomach when he died, and he has also been attributed with a quote about coffee. “I would rather suffer with coffee than be senseless.”

David Lynch
David Lynch

Photo: pexles.com

Why So Many Historical Figures Loved Coffee

You can definitely see the slippery slope to getting hooked on coffee. Historical figures such as those on this list will have led hectic lives, much like many of today’s modern celebrities.

As well as being busy and going for a little caffeinated support, a lot of historical figures will have consumed coffee as it was (and still is) part of the culture. Coffee shops and cafes have long been a hangout for creatives and cultural figures, and Italy, Vienna, America, and the UK have all played a part in the growth of the popularity of coffee. It is little surprise that so many of these historical figures are said to have loved the drink, or even potentially got a little hooked on it.

We now know to drink coffee in moderation, of course. The 40 cups a day ritual is not one to replicate, but enjoying a cup of coffee can help to fuel ideas and ambition.