10 Great Quotes about Coffee.


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My Ode to Coffee.

I enjoyed Dr. John Douillard, DC’s recent article “Coffee! The Good, the Bad, and the Ayurvedic Perspective.

Though the article was well-researched, and definitely serious business, the good doctor left the spiritual benefits of coffee drinking out of his otherwise comprehensive piece, and I’m here to pick up the slack, people.

Call me a dreamer, but I hold coffee in high regard as a wonder drug cure-all love potion constitutional beverage from hell. Like no other drink in history, coffee gives temporary shelter to the artists, the poets, and the downtrodden. It is a world in a cup, it is a map and a mysterious journey.

“I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee.”

~Carly Simon

Bottom line, for the article? The jury is out on health benefits, and moderation steps forth, rearing his very sensible, tedious head as a pseudo solution. Thankfully, we are left to our own definition of “moderate”.

How backed into a corner are we here? I think we can wedge “spiritual health” into the calculations, just enough to justify that ninth cup.

What is this stuff, beyond the brown-black soul poem of its simple presence?  What do the great thinkers of our day make of coffee?  What questions do we need to address on java, to get this article off the grounds? (Other than the proverbial: “where can I get some, like now”?) For the opening overview, breathe in some steam from Gertrude Stein.

“Coffee is real good when you drink it gives you time to think. It’s a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup.”

~Gertrude Stein

The article might have peaked for insight right there, and if it did, hey, you could do worse for that wisdom dose we are all after. Gertrude is the man, but she is not alone. Other great thinkers have uttered sweet truths on the topic too.

“Without my morning coffee I’m just like a dried up piece of roast goat.

~Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) The Coffee Cantata

There is just no way a dried up piece of roast goat feels good. None of us want to be roasted.  (Vegan power what up!) Bach hits on something essential here. It is the transformative power in the stuff. We are talking way beyond the caffeine, you know that, right?

“No coffee, no prana.” 

~Maru Garcia

Can coffee really give us life energy, soul sustenance and power infused with a touch of grace?

Did Bob Marley know how to roll one? We do not have breathing rituals to enhance our coffee intake, or proper positions to assume while drinking.  Every time you do it, you are doing it right. Call it Javasana.


And before I keep talking, let me just say this. You will achieve a much higher state from your coffee intake when it comes from a mug, a mug you love, a mug that is not a treekilling mug. That’s been covered here in this awesome article by René Cousineau.

Anyway, the stuff is simply much more than chemical, and our comfort in it is deeper than the caffeine. A can of Red Bull will never match what coffee does with us. Seeing my mom having coffee every day at the kitchen table was a signal that everything was right with the world. You can’t translate that feeling. “Reassurance Roast” should be a flavor.

Coffee is an inexplicable elixir in times of woe and strife. A companionable constant in this all-too-steady event and information flow. A source of quiet, packing its own special noise. We drink coffee to warm the soul and mind, to bestow instantaneous ignition, and against all odds, to catch a clue.

I think we all pray to the first cup of the day. It’s a silent prayer, sung while the mind is still foggy and blue. “O Magic Cup,” it might go, “carry me above the traffic jam. Keep me civil in the subway. And forgive my employer, as you forgive me. Amen”

~Stewert Lee Allen

There is a ring of truth to those words, and, (not wanting to take anything away from yo mat and mala time, just sayin’) a unique, sacred simplicity in this reverent embrace of the mighty bean as a daily ritual. Sometimes, we bow to our coffee in supplication. We take refuge in coffee. Given that, how often should we imbibe? We are told to pray without ceasing.

“In Seattle you haven’t had enough coffee until you can thread a sewing machine while it’s running.”

~Jeff Bezos

I believe Jeff has several gods on his payroll, so if he can’t speak on coffee’s spiritual power, who can? Insight such as this would lead today’s brain to think that nine cups is child’s play. If you think this smacks of addiction, remember an easy pathway out of addiction is to serve others.

And if serving others is your path, well, serve them coffee. Regardless of the quantity you are dosing, the comic genius Steve Wright once spoke of the great spiritual power in your daily mug.

“I put instant coffee in a microwave and almost went back in time.”

~Steven Wright

I don’t think any other beverage could have granted Steve that experience, much less the brilliant nuance of that line. Don’t even get me started on instant. Instant

Joel Washing

coffee proliferation is Thailand’s glaring flaw. I’m a French press lover, but very open to anything that strains water through ground beans. I live in Mexico, where there is a saying:

“Nescafe no es cafe.”

       (Instant coffee is not coffee.)

There is something coffee packs that nothing else has, and we all know, not all coffee has it. Enter the pathetic unemployed brother-in-law of coffee, that old rascal decaf.

What is decaf, and why do we go along allowing it to be called coffee?

“Decaffeinated coffee is kind of like kissing your sister.”

~Bob Irwin

Rather than sharing the title of our very noble beverage, should we re-name the substance something a little more appropriate?

“Waiter?  I want some dessert, but its late, so can I just have a cup of hot water tinted brown?”

And while we are here, a word on tea. The spiritual leader Garfield once sat at a table with John.

John:  “How does your tea taste?”

Garfield:  “It tastes like its not f*cking coffee.”

I may be paraphrasing, but essentially, that is what there is to say about tea.

It is good to be informed, and I’m happy we’ve had this time together. But don’t allow yourself to get too well-informed. You know her. We’ve all been behind her.

“If you walk into a Starbucks and order a ‘decaf grandee, half soy, half lowfat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n’-Low and one NutraSweet,’ ooooh, you’re a huge asshole.”

~George Carlin

And other than that, I think its game on! And if your practice has taken you past your need for caffeine, if you’ve been smugly looking down on all these dependent pseudo yogis who aren’t as far along the path as you, on your mountaintop, twig tea in hand, I humbly submit that you’ve clearly lost it, and its time for you to wake up and smell the coffee.


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Karl Saliter

Karl is a circus artist sculptor writer miscreant gypsy, living in Mexico. He has written two novels, "Compassion's Bitch," and "Breakfast In A Cloud," and has published neither. He often feels as if he was born under a silver whale of a frisbee moon in the back of a red cartoon pickup truck. That careening down route 66 at speed, he leapt up into the cab, took the wheel, stuck his baby elbow out the rolled-down window, and that though the truck had awesome chrome mirrors, he never looked back. He hopes you frequently feel the same.


38 Responses to “10 Great Quotes about Coffee.”

  1. karlsaliter says:

    Many thanks to Joel Schapira: painter, sculptor, dear friend and closet poet, for his words on coffee above.
    Joel literally wrote the book on coffee, and if you are ever lucky enough to be invited to share a cup with him,
    I suggest you jump on it like a Japanese Science Schooner on a whale. This guy knows coffee.

  2. Lorin Arnold says:

    Posted to Elephant Food Facebook and Twitter.

    Lorin Arnold
    Blogger at The VeganAsana
    Associate Editor for Elephant Food
    Co-Editor for Elephant Family

  3. sandy says:

    the collaborative socializing coffee inspires, artists, and revolution http://www.economist.com/node/2281736 … its alright
    and humbugs on the anti-decaf finger wagglers, it can be done right, and slightly less delicious is still delicious

  4. karlsaliter says:

    Thanks, Braja! I like that, coming from you. (OK, I like that coming from anybody on the planet or off, but that includes you, tto!)

    Sandy, we are on the same page, the black and bitter page which comes right after all the preceding pages.

  5. Rachael says:


    From: someone who brings coffee into the hot yoga studio and places it next to her water during those 5:45 am classes.

  6. karlsaliter says:

    Now THAT is commitment, Rachael. I'm impressed. Gracias.

  7. christine says:

    GREAT article, really enjoyed it….Javasana hahaha

  8. karlsaliter says:

    Gracias Christine! Glad to hear from you here!

  9. freehugyoga says:

    Just sipp[ing my morning cofee…and having big smile on y face. Thanks for this. Misa

  10. karlsaliter says:

    Thanks for that. I'm far more awake than I have any right to be in Mexico right now. Time to close the laptop, I think. In a few minutes.

  11. David says:

    Wonderful read and certainly spot on!!!

  12. karl saliter says:

    Thanks, David. Glad you read it!

  13. sheri says:

    I, too, measure my life in coffee spoons. Love it.

  14. karlsaliter says:

    Thanks, Sheri! It was very fun to write.

  15. karlsaliter says:

    Thanks Braja! Loved what you wrote in the dark and scary thread. And this article is Dharmaliscious.

  16. ShennyR says:

    As a mostly and mustly decafer (after 12 noon, anyway ;-p) I must say that Starbucks Americanas (hot water and decaf expresso) give me what I need in taste and body. Hot or iced, its a real godsend since the caffine OOOGIE BOOGIE got me in my middling years!

  17. Jamie says:

    Decaf is like kissing your sister! Lol! These are the best.

  18. karlsaliter says:

    Shenny, I do get that, and the guy asking for hot water tinted brown for dessert in the article is me. Can't do it in the evenings anymore. Jamie thanks. Kind of you to say.

  19. Kim says:

    yeehaw! Thanks.

  20. karlsaliter says:

    Right on, Kim, glad you came by. Cheers!

  21. ValCarruthers says:

    From where I sit a day without coffee is a day that shouldn't have happened in the first place. Whether it's the caffeine or one of the 987 other compounds in coffee I couldn't care less but something in that effin' stuff opens a channel that sends words down into my brainpan from Mt. Kailas whether I'm teaching Yoga or writing about it. Been under the weather last few weeks with no java input and my head's been feeling like a rolled up sweatsock. Oh coffee my demon lover, soon we will embrace again.

    You rock Karl. Keep showing up.

  22. karlsaliter says:

    "Oh coffee my demon lover, soon we will embrace again."

    Great line, Val.

    It sounds like I'm not the only one who rocks, in this thread. Well met!

  23. […] been lovingly typed on an ancient machine by the poet Joel Schapira, whose poetry is featured in this article. Yes you could read it more easily from some wikipoemesque sonnet sourcing site, but the richness […]

  24. […] those days, it was said that coffee aided in uprisings and lead to riots in the streets. I suppose this could be true because a nice […]

  25. Red Wolf Deux says:

    “I hold coffee in high regard as a wonder drug cure-all love potion constitutional beverage from hell.”

    It strikes me as more heavenly than hellish… Gives rise to peace and introspection.


    • karlsaliter says:

      Thanks for the feedback, and I'm with you on that. This past year, I've allowed my use of the phrase "from hell" to include anything that packs a large amount of power, as in "These are the pancakes from hell!" to indicate that I actually love said pancakes.
      I have no reason for this,.

  26. […] you know it, Americans are waking up to a sugar-laced cup of coffee or two. In an attempt to pick the healthy choice, we might sip green tea to keep us going through the […]

  27. […] the latter diminishes the implied insult I can’t seem to stop seeing in the former. Weak coffee is less important than the vastly improbable action of getting ahold of a cup and drinking […]

  28. Margo says:

    Quintessential Saliter. Bravo!

  29. Andrew says:

    Thanks for this fun and well-written article. I have tried to give coffe up so many times but I always keep coming back for more. I feel incomplete without this mysterious brew. It truly is everything.

  30. […] If a shot of espresso is under extracted, then it tastes sour, and if a shot of espresso is over extracted, it tastes bitter. A really good shot actually requires the perfect balance of bright and bitter flavors, which come together in a mellow, delicious way. […]

  31. Whitney says:

    lol this is excellent

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