Coffee addict David G. Lennox examines the stories of five famous coffee drinkers – including J. S. Bach and Britney Spears
Some say that blue mountain beans from Jamaica – which are of extremely limited production and of which 80% of each year’s crop go to Japan – give those that purchase them the finest coffee in the world.
Others, on a lesser budget, plump for Shoreditch brand Grind or “coffee without fuss” from Cirencester’s Rave collection, but for those looking to serve up something that is accessible yet enjoyable at home you will need a great quality coffee coffee grinder (also called a ‘mill’).
By using such a device you’ll get a fresh brew that has a delicious aroma and a house smelling with pleasure and here below I select five famous individuals whose caffeinated brilliance allegedly stemmed from their addiction to the taste and smell of this black nectar.
Johan Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
“If I couldn’t, three times a day, be allowed to drink my little cup of coffee, in my anguish I will turn into a shriveled-up roast goat” shared the German composer and musician Johan Sebastian Bach in his humorous Coffee Cantata – a controversial 18th century secular vocal composition that was also titled Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht BWV 211 (‘Be still, stop chattering’).
In it, a killjoy father urges his coffee addicted daughter to give up her pleasure and pursue happiness in marriage instead. By the end, both end up expounding the pleasures of coffee drinking and forgetting the woes of marriage.
Father sir, but do not be so harsh!
If I couldn’t, three times a day,
be allowed to drink my little cup of coffee,
in my anguish I will turn into
a shriveled-up roast goat.
Ah! How sweet coffee tastes,
more delicious than a thousand kisses,
milder than muscatel wine.
Coffee, I have to have coffee,
and, if someone wants to pamper me,
ah, then bring me coffee as a gift!
T. S. Eliot (1888 – 1965)
Written from 1910 onwards and shared in the June 1915 edition of Poetry: A Magazine in Verse, this Dante inspired work was considered as “outlandish” in its content as the supposedly hundreds of cups of coffee the American born British transplant drank whilst penning it.
Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States of America (1743 – 1826)
Noted also as an “enthusiastic” wine drinker, this Founding Father referenced coffee as “the favourite drink of the civilised world.” Considered one of the finest examples of a “Renaissance man,” Jefferson enjoyed the coffee houses of Williamsburg and Paris and consumed a pound of it a day during his retirement. His French maïtre d’hôtel, Adrien Peitt, served the political titan’s beverage of choice from a “silver coffee urn made to his very own design.”
Britney Spears (born 1981)
The Baby One More Time singer created her twentieth fragrance in June 2016 with the help of coffee. “Get a whiff of Britney” enthused ETOnline of ‘Private Show’ whilst Miss Spears herself told them that she’d come up with “an uplifting, sexy scent that empowers [my fans] to achieve their dreams.”
A press release for the perfume added that it was inspired by the Mississippi born ‘Princess of Pop’s’ “love of dulce de leche, white florals and iced coffee.”
Voltaire (born François-Marie Arouet, 1694 – 1778)
This witty French enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher was known best for his advocacy of freedom of speech and religion and the separation of church and state. Voltaire supposedly came to such views whilst drinking an astonishing 50 to 72 cups of coffee per day and aside from viewing this “brain brew” to be a creative inspiration paid “hefty bonuses” to servants who found his favourite beans.