The Writer That Drank 50 Cups of Coffee a Day


Honoré de Balzac coffee drinking
The Waka Life Blog

Who Is The Writer That Drank 50 Cups of Coffee a Day?

We definitely do not recommend consuming that amount of coffee, but you would want to read this true story about the French writer Honoré de Balzac.

We all know those people who make entertainment out of swallowing swords or eating enormous portions, but what about coffee? Is there anything out of the norm for the coffee world? Yes, there are people who will drink only a certain type of coffee or add it to other foods, or even have everything scented like coffee, but even that is not so unusual... 

We are talking about the real walking on fire type of crazy stuff. Does that happen in the coffee world too? Or is coffee too mainstream to reach such extremities? In fact, even for something as simple as coffee there are people who go through tremendous limits just to have that single cup. For all the talk that there is for coffee and having too much can be harmful for you, there is one person who drank 50 cups of coffee in one day, for 25 years, to write a book! That’s a lot of coffee for one person! Shows how passionate he was about his writing. 

Honoré de Balzac (1842) Detail and coffee

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Honoré de Balzac (1799 - 1850), a playwright and novelist from France, known for depicting the French lifestyle in a way that reaches everyone. In terms of European Literature, Balzac is credited with being one of the founders of the Realism Movement. With each of his pieces, he brings the complex life of the characters to real life, allowing the reader to feel as if they are a part of the story themselves, or at least watching the story unravel from inside the fourth wall. 

Balzac’s writings and stories influenced many other influential writers and philanthropists like Charles Dickens (i.e. A Tale of Two Cities) and Karl Marx (known theories on communism and capitalism).Balzac’s pieces not only influenced other extraordinary people, but also brought movement to his own work. People began to understand the real depth of his work as they started to see more and more of it with every step they took. 


“Coffee is a great power in my life." The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee by Honore de Balzac

If his dedication to his work wasn’t inspiring enough, Balzac’s love for coffee was even greater. Balzac loved his coffee just as much as he loved his work, sometimes even more. He loved it so much that he was willing to jump through hoops to get that cup of coffee, even if meant it might be bad for his health. In his opinion, if you were drinking coffee it could do no harm - the more the merrier!

Why did he drink 50 cups a day?

henry coffee writer 50 cups a day

As a writer, in order to publish work that would be appreciated by everyone you have to put as much effort as you can to make sure that it is at it’s absolute best. Often this includes going through extreme lengths just to achieve that special piece. Balzac wanted his works to always be at their best, and found that when he drank coffee he was able to write more smoothly, as his mind was pushed to its limits from the coffee. 

Balzac believed that on days he drank coffee he was able to write the most in-depth pieces of work. In order to comply with this association, Balzac decided that if he just drank coffee from the moment he woke up every day, and continued to do so all day long, he would be able to write great pieces all the time. And so for 25 years Honoré de Balzac drank about 50 cups of coffee per day to achieve his greatest moments. Nowadays, you should all know that this was an unhealthy addiction and consuming that amount of coffee a day is simply dangerous. 

Balzac’s writing about coffee

over consuming coffee every day 50 cups

You would think that drinking that much coffee would have a negative effect on a person’s body, but in Balzac’s case, it made his life that much more thrilling. With all the coffee drinking each day, and chewing on coffee grounds as well, Balzac’s career turned to unthinkable paths. From all his coffee drinking per day, he was able to write numerous pieces of art, including 8 plays, 12 novellas, 18 short stories, and 47 novels. 

Since most of his career was based on the fact that he drank so much coffee per day, he even allowed himself to take a short break from writing about the Parisian life, and write an entire short story about the thing that pushed him so far in life; coffee. In “The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee” Balzac wrote about the struggle and love battle he had with the delicious caffeinated drink.

In this piece, he talks about what it means to truly be a coffee lover. He explains what coffee does to one’s nerves, muscles, behaviors, and most of all intellects. “Coffee roasts your insides” he explains, as it puts ourselves to a test of whether or not we can live up to the task or not. From this story we are able to understand how the amount of coffee that he drank every day not only showed the struggles he had to overcome to do so, but also how he felt after drinking all these cups of coffee. No matter how hard the coffee drinking habit may have been on his body and self esteem, he was willing to put himself through it every day to produce such realistic works.

Too much of a good thing is never a good thing on any spectrum. When a person drinks too much coffee it can have negative effects on themselves, both internally and externally. Drinking excessive levels of coffee can be very harmful and should be avoided at all costs. 

    So no, you should not try to become the next Honoré de Balzac and drink 50 cups of coffee for 25 years, as good as it may taste. Sorry! 


    Get creative with our quality instant coffee. Get it here.


    Waka Coffee & Tea