Happy International Coffee day – 10 great coffee quotes from literature

Never mind if you’re a latte, an espresso or a cappuccino type, today is the chance to forget your differences for an international celebration of the black stuff. Here are some of our top caffeinated quotes from books. Let us know yours in the comments

Take it from someone who recently underwent an excruciating coffee detox, this drink is worth celebrating. While scientists argue about whether it’s good or bad for us, and how many cups we should drink a day, we’ve been looking into the proud literary history of the black stuff.

Thursday 1 October has been designated the first International Coffee Day, as decided by the International Coffee Organisation, which describes it as an occasion both to celebrate the drink and “support the millions of farmers whose livelihoods depend on the aromatic crop”. Many areas, including most English-speaking countries, have had a head start, holding their own celebrations two days earlier. Confusing as that may be, go here if you’re interested in finding out more about related events around the world today.

In the meantime, the social networks have been buzzing and we’ve been gathering coffee quotes from literature. Here are 10 of our favourites – please add your own in the comments, and we’ll add a selection to the piece.

I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now. ― from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Coffee is a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your older self. ― Thud! by Terry Pratchett. Recommended by DMU Bookshop.

I went out the kitchen to make coffee – yards of coffee. Rich, strong, bitter, boiling hot, ruthless, depraved. The life blood of tired men. ― from The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

For I have known them all already, known them all:

Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons. ― from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by TS Eliot. Recommended by Bharathy Singaravel

She poured the coffee, which was so strong it practically snarled as it came out of the pot, and then sat down herself, taking the small cat on to her knee. ― from The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks. Recommended by MrsC

Good. Coffee is good for you. It’s the caffeine in it. Caffeine, we are here. Caffeine puts a man on her horse and a woman in his grave. ― from The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The fresh smell of coffee soon wafted through the apartment, the smell that separates night from day.― from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

‘Well, one can die after all: it is but dying; and in the next world, thank God! there is no drinking of coffee, and consequently no – waiting for it.’ Sometimes he would rise from his chair, open the door, and cry out with a feeble querulousness – ‘Coffee! coffee!’ ― from Narrative and Miscellaneous Papers by Thomas De Quincey [about Immanuel Kant]

That’s something that annoys the hell out of me – I mean if somebody says the coffee’s all ready and it isn’t. – from The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger.

DECEMBER 16. I’m sick for real. Rosario is making me stay in bed. Before she left for work she went out to borrow a thermos from a neighbour and she left me half a litre of coffee. Also four aspirin. I have a fever. I’ve started and finished two poems.” The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño


Marta Bausells

The GuardianTramp

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