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Must Have Caffeine / Real Life

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  • Given that caffeine has been legally available for a longer period of time than most other drugs and has spent a much longer amount of time being considered socially acceptable (thanks to it being extremely mild compared to other stimulants), it's not too uncommon to find people who practically run on nothing but the stuff, typically in the form of coffee or energy drinks. Even you, dear reader, may be one of those people.
  • The British Empire. They were so thoroughly yoked to tea as a stimulant that China put the East India Company 28 million pounds sterling in debt in 1793, which had to be paid in sterling silver, which Britain did not want to honor. The EIC retaliated by farming opium in India and illicitly moving it into China to settle their debts, despite the Chinese ban on opium imports. That's right, Britain enslaved India to deal illegal drugs to China just to make sure they could keep paying for the caffeine that their navy ran on.
    • If you go by weight, the British military purchased more tea than artillery shells during World War II, Including in 1942, when they purchased the entire world's tea crop (except for Japan, who wouldn't sell for some reason).
    • Britain takes tea time very seriously.
      • To put this into context, even their tanks have tea-makers, called "Boiling Vessels". While they may be mocked for it, the design was poached, and can currently be found in most NATO tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles. And they're a prime example of Boring, but Practical.
  • When Washington State was deciding on a design for their state quarter, they took in many suggestions from the public. One suggestion was a steaming mug of coffee, from the proliferation of coffee shops in the Seattle area (Starbucks is headquartered there) and the frequently gray, cold, and windy weather. When a nationwide survey was done on "what is your state's most hated foodstuff?," the answer was K-cup coffee. Apparently, it was too weak in flavor and punch for Washington tastes. Also, even the region's water has measurable levels of caffeine.
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  • Stoughton, Wisconsin — a town made up primarily of descendants of Norwegian immigrants — claims to be the birthplace of the coffee break.
  • According to the UnDutchables, the Dutch are a living coffee cult. And no, not for the shops.
  • Nordic nations, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland are worlds top 6 coffee drinkers with Finland and Sweden consuming over 10 kg or 22 lbs per person each year.
  • Richard O'Brien, from The Crystal Maze and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, reportedly had to go to rehab for caffeine overdose.
  • French author Voltaire claimed to drink 72 cups of coffee a day. Even though cups were generally smaller and coffee generally weaker than today, that is one man who loved his coffee. When someone told him that coffee was "a slow poison", Voltaire responded, "It must be slow, for I have been drinking it for sixty-five years and am not dead yet."
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  • Surrealist film director David Lynch has his own brand of coffee and reportedly drinks 18 cups a day, whilst practicing transcendental meditation. This may explain a thing or two about his work...
  • One theory for the origin of the term "cup of Joe" is that it was named for Secretary of the US Navy, Admiral Josephus Daniels, who abolished the officers' wine mess in 1914, after which coffee was the drink of choice on navy ships.
  • During the American Civil War, if Union soldiers didn't have time to make coffee many of them would suck on the grounds just to get the taste. Soldiers of both sides who weren't that lucky (if shipments were disrupted) experimented with chicory, roasted dandelion roots, burned nutshells...
    • Coffee had a major role in the Civil War for both sides.
    • There were many cases where the armies of either side were camped close enough together that the outer pickets could talk with each other. When that happened, illicit trading often took place. One of the most common trades was tobacco (Grown in the South) for coffee (Shipped in by Northern trading companies, virtually unobtainable in the South due to blockades and chronic southern shortage of hard currency).
  • U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was a teetotaller, but he was said to drink at least a gallon of coffee on a slow day. He coined the Maxwell House Coffee slogan "Good to the last drop". Seeing as Roosevelt suffered from asthma, and caffeine, being a vasodilator, is a reasonably good remedy for it (especially in an era without modern inhaler medication), the president was likely self-medicating.
  • Musician Frank Zappa's drugs of choice were caffeine and nicotine.
  • John Lennon liked Gitane cigarettes and "down and dirty black, black coffee" according to Rolling Stone.
  • Mike Patton of Faith No More wrote one song about sleep deprivation after subjecting himself to staying awake for three days in a row, aptly named "Caffeine". He claimed around the time that he doesn't drink alcohol, but drinks 8 cups of coffee a day.
  • Dave Grohl, while in-studio with Them Crooked Vultures. FRESH POOOTS! Unfortunately, this landed him in the hospital with heart palpitations, though Dave didn't take long to make fun of himself about it.
  • In one of his commentaries for Dilbert, Scott Adams claims that he once accidentally drank decaf one morning and thought he was sick.
  • Professional wrestlers are generally big-time coffee drinkers. The Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage were among the biggest consumers. The Warrior claims that before their match at Wrestlemania VII, they consumed a combined five gallons.
  • Robert Downey Jr. says that he has been known to wake up, do a triple shot of espresso, and then head back to bed.
  • A link on the right side of the Hyperbole and a Half homepage is an enthusiastic plug for a coffee shop, which supposedly named a blend after the author.
  • Good Eats host Alton Brown is a self-described coffee aficionado (among other things), dedicated at least two entire shows to it (one for coffee, one for espresso). People have often commented on the very large amount of coffee he uses just for a standard cup. Alton argues that the more coffee you use the less bitter the brew is.
  • Pope Clement VIII probably helped the Christian world accept it with his coffee blessing. He was a scholar too and wasn't about to give up his 3 a.m. joe just because some stuffy old redhats said it was an Islamic thing and therefore non-Christian.
  • Cambridge computer engineers invented the they could see from their workstations whether or not the pot in the coffee room was full. Decaf would probably set the field of computer science back at least a couple of decades.
  • David Foster Wallace was apparently fond of putting tea bags in hot coffee for extra flavor and kick.
    Det. Harris. Tea... and coffee? That makes it — toffee!
  • Britney Spears indicated in her Hawaiian special, she's very fond of having Mocha coffees in the morning when she works. She's also almost the unofficial spokesperson for Starbucks she's seen walking away from there so often, on working and non-working days.
  • Neil Young was a Starbucks supporter until Starbucks became involved in a lawsuit to stop a Vermont law that requires GMO foods to be labeled. He says he'll forego his morning latte until they come clean about their involvement. He even wrote a song about it: "A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop".
  • John Flansburgh and John Linnell of They Might Be Giants are well-known coffee addicts.
  • American Naval officer and historian Samuel Eliot Morison famously said: "The Navy could probably win a war without coffee but it wouldn't like to try."
  • During a recent appearance on deadmau5' informal "coffee run" video series, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford ordered a quintuple espresso. Even Deadmau5/Joel, who usually orders an extra large and has been known to quaff several Coca-Colas during studio sessions, was amazed. Given that Ford was later embroiled in a major political scandal that rendered him virtually powerless after footage of him smoking crack surfaced, it's likely the extreme amount of caffeine was intended to be way to more safely get a buzz in public.
  • Alexander Hamilton was probably the first if not the earliest recorded case of extreme caffeine addiction: He drank 10 cups of black coffee a day. One must wonder how bad it was to have his severe insomnia and hyperactivity.
  • In Game 7 of the 2015 conference semifinals, Matthew Dellavedova of the Cleveland Cavaliers supplemented his usual pre-game coffee with half-time coffee to spur a depleted Cavs team to victory.
    • Preceding him, Darrell Armstrong was known for having five cups of coffee before a game.
  • Probably the most serious political crisis in the GDR after the 1953 revolts and before the events that led to its fall was related to coffee. that other wiki has an article on it. Basically, the GDR ran out of hard currency to buy coffee at a time when the world market prices hit a new high. As Saxony (then as now the culturally-dominant region of East Germany) was renowned for its "coffee culture" centuries before the GDR rolled around, this became Serious Business; for comparison, East Germans spent as much per year on coffee as they did on furniture, and twice as much as they spent on shoes. On no other topic did the GDR government ever get so many letters of complaint. And we are talking about a regime that most of the time had a shortage of decent housing. Eventually, the GDR resolved the problem by helping Vietnam (which up to that point had no coffee culture or cultivation whatsoever) become the second largest coffee producer in the world. Unfortunately, it takes eight years for newly-planted coffee to be ready for the first usable harvest, which occurred in 1990, which was a bit too late for East Germany.
  • The common Finnish army slang word for coffee is petroli ("kerosene"), implying coffee is basically to the men the same as what fossil fuels are for the machinery. May also be an unkind comment about how badly the military issue stuff tastes.
  • Heavy coffee drinkers undergoing surgery may wake up with a massive headache, as a reaction to the anesthetic; so it's not uncommon for caffeine to be added to their IV, in order to lessen the reaction.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach was well known for having a major coffee habit. He directed an ensemble, the Collegium Musicum, that performed regular concerts in a popular coffee house in Leipzig, Café Zimmermann. He even went so far as to compose a "Coffee Cantata," entitled Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht, which tells a humorous story about a father who tries to get his rebellious daughter to give up her coffee addiction.
  • Mafia boss Carlo Gambino drank at least a dozen cups of black coffee every day.
  • Not Always Right: This customer ordering a coffee and repeatedly responds to the question of "What size?" with "Coffee." All commenters agree that translates to "Large."
  • A Space Battles user once shared the story of what happened when the lab at the hospital he worked at had their coffee switched for decaf on the sly by a temp manager: Productivity dropped by half in four days, and on the fifth he arrived at work to find the entire lab busy analyzing caffeine content. Cue the temp manager's arrival bearing more decaf, immanently followed by said manager's departure chased by half the lab staff screaming expletives.
    Sucal: According to a friend at another hospital, she apparently twitches if you even mention the word coffee around her.
  • There is a story (or rather, an epic) on r/IDontWorkHereLady where the Pointy-Haired Boss of a construction company working on a listed building, called Noisy Gobshite in the story, fired a near-irreplaceable specialist in a specific post-medieval English construction technique, causing a shitshow that resulted in a vaguely similar 19th century Bulgarian technique being used and rejected by English Heritage due to incorrect materials, part of the building being destroyed due to Noisy Gobshite's ignorance of early modern architecture, and Noisy Gobshite being fired by his brother and cousin in a desperate attempt to save the company and at risk of criminal prosecution. The reason? Noisy Gobshite was having a meltdown over a carpenter taking too long with his coffee and the specialist refused to see where the carpenter was on the basis that he was a self-employed subcontractor that didn't actually work for the company and that Noisy Gobshite was acting like a dick. A number of commenters are astonished that a man could destroy his own business over a cup of coffee.
  • During the Franco-Prussian War, French troop trains were fitted with a device that used the steam from the locomotive boiler to brew large tanks of coffee.
  • Italians. Espresso, cappuccino, and latte are Italian words referring to particular methods of preparing coffee the Italians invented and then exported, with the espresso machine being invented because previous methods were considered too slow to properly provide enough coffee to drink.


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