Must Have Caffeine


Captain Janeway: Coffee. Black.
Neelix: I'm sorry, Captain, we lost two more replicators this morning—
Janeway: Listen to me VERY carefully, because I'm only going to say this once: Coffee. Black.
Neelix: Yes, ma'am.

Ah, caffeine! Truly one of the greatest gifts of nature. It allows us humans to surpass the limits of our endurance when we need it most, and it has become a sort of lifestyle for a lot of us.

As a result of these special qualities, coffee and associated paraphernalia like coffeepots, coffee mugs and paper coffee cups with plastic covers have become an ubiquitous feature of every office setting. Oftentimes when points are being discussed, one or more of the participants will have a mug in hand. Important things happen around the office coffeepot, and the number of paper cups at an employee's desk is often used as a visual indicator of how much stress he or she is under. For some reason, other drinks are not considered to be as representative of our reliance on caffeine as good, strong coffee, even if some teas actually have more caffeine.

Outside of the office, people of all professions have also been depicted as being dependent on caffeine — to the point where attempts to drop the habit are used as a dramatic device. In certain works, something other than coffee may be used (such as soda), including obvious stand-ins used where real caffeinated beverages would be out of place.

Sudden and unexpected deprivation of this essential substance, on the other hand, is sometimes depicted with comedic consequences, such as sleeping or lobotomized workers.

There are some theories that the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution only occurred because the Western world discovered coffee.

People who actually dislike coffee generally only turn up in fiction as a literal punchline to the old "do you want to come in for coffee" joke. Or they're British.

Compare: Spot of Tea, G-Rated Drug, Caffeine Bullet Time, Klatchian Coffee. See also Gigantic Gulp. Often the only means of defying Not a Morning Person. This trope is usually the only reason people tolerate coffee that's Bad to the Last Drop. Caffeine Failure is when the caffiene won't work for one reason or another.

Example subpages

Other Examples

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  • In ads for McDonalds Premium Roast Coffee we see a man who says to everyone who tries to interact with him, "not before I have my coffee." Including the person at the fast food restaurant he goes to, presumably to buy coffee.
  • A 1970s ad for Jack in the Box showed a growling werewolf driving a car, who only turned back into a normal man when he'd gotten his morning cup of coffee from the Jack in the Box drive-through. ("Do you feel like a monster in the morning before you've had coffee?")

    Card Games 
  • Flavor text for the Net Runner card "Jack 'n' Joe":
    There's too much blood in my caffeine system.

  • According to legend, when coffee arrived in Europe, the Moral Guardians took issue with drinking an Islamic drink. The issue came before The Pope, whereupon he took a whiff and baptized it because good Christians shouldn't be deprived of such an obviously heavenly drink. The real story is even better. It seems that the hard-working scholar-diplomat Pope Clement VIII was already a big fan of coffee, and wasn't about to let some stuffy old-fashioned advisors stand in the way of progress or his all-nighters.

  • The 50th aniversary cover of Private Eye showed two versions of their mascot Gnitty, surrounded by the essential paraphenallia of journalism in 1961 and 2011. Prominently displayed are a cup and saucer (1961) and a Starbucks paper cup (2011).

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • On FM & AM's "Drugs," we hear this from George Carlin:
    When they talk about drugs, they don't talk about all of them, that's the problem. They don't mention coffee. (Chuckles) The low end of the speed spectrum, I grant you. But there are coffee freaks. And they're walkin' around, and nobody, y'know, worried about it or anything. Mrs. Olsonnote  never tells you about that mild speed lift, y'know? She's shooting freeze-dried Folgers, right? But you've seen the coffee freak in the office, haven't you? The guy who drops eight or nine cups every morning, and always in a good mood: (rapidly) "Hi! How are ya? Warm that up for ya? OK, yeah! Hi, how are ya, good to see ya." Always in a nice mood. Until the coffee urn breaks, man. Then he's the first guy to: (more rapidly) "Whaddaya mean broken, man? Wha'? Plug it in, man! Turn it around! Never mind, man! Put some water in. Holy shit, man! Turn the plug around!" Then he goes out and scores, 'cause he's the one who's hooked.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The only way to get through a game of Risk in one sitting. Or almost.
  • In Twilight 2000, the coffee production and distribution infrastructure was one of the first things to be repaired After the End.


    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Professor Ozpin's rarely seen without coffee. The new students have their first lesson on a clifftop overlooking a monster-filled forest... and even in that location Professor Ozpin manages to conduct the lesson with a cup of coffee in hand. The one time he was seen without coffee for any length of time was also the one time where his behaviour was so out-of-character that it was lampshaded in-universe that he was Not Himself.
    • Doctor Oobleck may be even worse than Ozpin. Within in the space of a single lesson, his lecture is constantly interrupted by him pausing to guzzle coffee after coffee, of several different types, including espresso-shot mugs. He also never stops moving for long and his jittery behaviour indicates he can barely stand still for a moment. His weapon is eventually revealed to his his coffee thermos flask, which morphs into a flame-thrower.

     Web Video 
  • In The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, Grace Poole's favourite drink is coffee without milk or sugar. She drinks it even at parties, as seen in the episode "A New Age of Aluminium".
    Warren: Grace! Gracie P! Are you having any fun?
    Grace: (on edge) Yes, Warren, thank you. [...] Actually, Warren, I really don't think this is...
    Warren: You know what, Gracie? I don't think you are enjoying yourself properly. What are you drinking? (takes her cup and sniffs it) This is COFFEE!
  • The Nostalgia Critic is desperate enough for coffee that he'll even have it before going to sleep.
  • In the Home Office video "Me, I'm Not (File 2/15)", Linc is grumpy due to a lack of coffee.

Alternative Title(s):

Must Have Coffee