5 Famous Thinkers Who Loved Their Coffee

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Can't imagine starting the day without a cup of joe? Well, you're certainly not alone. According to The International Coffee Organization, an estimated 165 million bags of coffee will be consumed around the world this year. But that enthusiasm for coffee is nothing new. In fact, some of history's greatest minds are known to have shared a deep devotion to the seemingly magical bean.

Johann Sebastian Bach Wrote "The Coffee Cantata"

In 1732, Johann Sebastian Bach, the famous German composer, wrote an entire short opera about Vienna's coffee obsession. Based on a comedic poem by his collaborator Picander, "The Coffee Cantata" mocked public concerns for the increasingly popular Vienna coffeehouse. At the time, people believed coffee would make women infertile and considered the beverage a societal vice. Lucky for us, these days we know it's actually packed with health benefits.

Soren Kierkegaard Had a Sweet Tooth

Soren Kierkegaard enjoyed his coffee with sugar — or perhaps it's best to say he enjoyed his sugar with coffee. The Danish philosopher was known to pour a heaping pile of sugar into a carefully selected cup and then dissolve it with hot black coffee. To complement this routine, Kierkegaard would ask his secretary to choose from a collection of 50 different cups and provide a philosophical reason for his choice.

Beethoven Drank His Coffee With Exactly 60 Beans

It is said that Beethoven, the German composer and pianist, was particular about his coffee (to say the least). According to his biographer, Beethoven drank coffee every day for breakfast, preparing his beverage in a glass coffeemaker with 60 beans per cup. Sometimes he even counted the beans out one by one, especially when he had guests.

Voltaire Drank Way Too Much Coffee

Voltaire, the French satirist, poet, and philosopher is known to have loved his coffee — perhaps too much, according to his doctors. Voltaire drank between 40 and 50 cups of coffee mixed with chocolate per day, a habit he was told would eventually kill him. His critics were wrong, though. Voltaire lived well into his eighties, never abandoning his coffee obsession.

Proust Fancied a Bowl (or Two) of Coffee

Marcel Proust's alleged diet offers some truth to the expression "starving artist." According to Proust's housekeeper Céleste Albaret, the French novelist would survive daily on only two bowls of coffee (yes, bowls) with one or two croissants, and hot milk upon waking in the afternoon. Although Albaret claims in the memoir about her time with Proust, "It isn't an exaggeration to say that he ate virtually nothing," there exist other accounts of Proust's life that highlight his appreciation for food.

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Written by Ashley Gabriel April 2, 2019
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