The extraordinarily prolific and witty French writer-and-philosopher Voltaire — whose real name was François-Marie Arouet — drank up to 100 cups of coffee a day!
Voltaire called coffee “the bucket of black snakes” and said it was the closest thing he had to a religion.
He did most of his imbibing at the Café de Procope, in Paris.
Whereas the equally prolific — though far less witty and philosophical — Frenchman Honore de Balzac, whom we’ve discussed here before in the context of his unbelievably grueling writing schedule, “only” consumed about 50 cups of coffee per day, but … dig this:
“Whenever a reasonable human dose failed to stimulate, Balzac would begin eating coffee powder on an empty stomach, ‘a horrible, rather brutal method,’ said Balzac, ‘[which belonged] only to men of excessive vigor, men with thick black hair and skin covered with liver spots, men with big square hands and legs shaped like bowling pins'” (source).
Isn’t that beautiful?
Just incidentally, if you’re interested in Voltaire and if you’re looking for an entertaining summer read, you might try Voltaire in Love, by the erudite Nancy Mitford. This book was written in the 1950’s, in London, and is breathtakingly articulate and fascinating.