The Joy of Coffee Drinking in the Age of Enlightenment
Coffee has been a popular beverage for many years. Looking back at history, coffee lovers are in very good company. Following are examples of famous historical personalities who enjoyed drinking coffee and helped promote this beverage among their fellow citizens and observers. Who knows? Perhaps coffee contributed to the inspiration that gave way to so many wonderful works of art, poetry, literature and music from the Age of Enlightenment!
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Famous 18Th Century composer, harpsichordist, violist and violinist. Renowned for ecclesiastical and secular works for choir, orchestra and solo renditions. Bach liked coffee so much he immortalized it in his “Coffee Cantata” by writing for this musical piece “How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter than Muscatel wine!” and he also wrote” Without my morning coffee, I’m just like a dried up piece of roast goat.”
Alexander Pope (1688-1744). 18Th Century English poet, satirist, who said about coffee, “Coffee, which makes the politician wise, and see through all things with his half-shut eyes.”
François-Marie Arouet, better known by the pen name Voltaire, (1694-1778). Writer and philosopher famous for his wit. Built a reputation as a coffee lover by allegedly drinking 40 cups of coffee a day mixed with chocolate. Voltaire said about coffee, “Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.”
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). One of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A leading author, printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor and diplomat. Benjamin Franklin had high standards for his coffee, “If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.” Another quote from Benjamin Franklin: “Among the numerous luxuries of the table…coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions…is never followed by sadness, languor or debility.”
Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). Philosopher, writer and composer of the 18Th century enlightenment age. Rousseau said about coffee, “Ah, that is a perfume in which I delight; when they roast coffee near my house, I hasten to open the door to take in all the aroma.”
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). The 3rd President of the United States of America. Principal author of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson deemed coffee “the favorite drink of the civilised world.” Jefferson enjoyed the coffee houses of Williamsburg and Paris. He served coffee often at the President’s house, Poplar Forest, and Monticello.
John Paul Jones (1747-1792). He was the first well-known United States naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War. He was a frequent patron at the Procopé, opened in 1686. This is one of the oldest cafés and restaurants in Paris still in operation. Procopé was the meeting place for intellectuals, writers, poets, artists, revolutionaries and other “enlightened” personalities. Procopé served coffee, a somewhat exotic beverage at the time. John Paul Jones was known for saying, “I have not yet begun to fight!” After such exclamation, he would often drink coffee with delight.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). German writer and polymath. Goethe was a person known for his expertise in a significant number of different subject areas. Goethe was a personal friend of Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge who was able to isolate relatively pure caffeine from coffee beans in 1820. Goethe had an interest in decaffeinated coffee to reduce insomnia symptoms. Goethe, who was an enthusiastic coffee drinker, once said, “Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.”
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821). Masterful soldier, tactician, superb administrator, Emperor of the French, said about coffee, “I would rather suffer with coffee than be senseless.”
George Gordon Byron, also known as Lord Byron (1788-1824). British poet and leading figure in Romanticism who said about coffee, “Tis pity wine should be so deleterious, for tea and coffee leave us much more serious.”
Benjamin Moseley (1789-1819). English Physician who said about coffee, “The use of coffee will probably become greatly extended – – as in other countries, it may diffuse itself among the mass of the people, and make a considerable ingredient in their daily sustenance.”
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