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Coffee or Tea? Great Geniuses Weigh In

Coffee or tea? A common question,and for lots of us a tough choice. Which is why we decided that no company devoted to the refreshment of nerds could offer one without the other. Thus the introduction of our Nerdfuel teas. Now you can enjoy the best coffee and the best tea, depending on your mood.


Writers, philosophers and politicians tend to be a finicky lot though, and over the decades, and the centuries, many great writers have declared a definite passion for either coffee or tea. But who loved what? To celebrate the launch of our tea line we thought we'd offer a look at which famous writers loved tea and which preferred their cup be filled with coffee.


The Tea Set

Samuel Johnson



Samuel Johnson, a man with so much patience and dedication to his art that he managed to create the first definitive English dictionary, was a big fan of tea. Writing of his favorite beverage he said ‘[I am] a hardened and shameless tea drinker, who for twenty years diluted his meals with only the infusion of the fascinating plant; who with tea amused the evening, with tea solaced the midnight, and with tea welcomed the morning.’


Henry James 



Henry James may have been a New Yorker, but his lifelong travels through Europe, and eventual decision to settle in England, gave him a  great love of tea, and the very British ritual associated with it there; ‘There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea,’ he wrote.


Fyodor Dostoyevsky




Fyodor Dostoyevsky loved his tea. He said: ‘I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.’ 


C.S. Lewis


Another true tea fanatic, C.S. Lewis said: ‘You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.’ And who can forget the magical tea party Lewis created in the very special world of Narnia? Who wouldn't want to try some of Mr Tumnuss’ tea? 


The Coffee Club

Honore de Balzac



Honore de Balzac was a hardcore coffee fan. It's said he used to drink 50 cups of coffee a day. He woke at 1 a.m. each day, wrote furiously for seven hours, took a 90-minute nap at 8 a.m, got up, wrote again from 9:30 a.m  to 4 p.m and then headed off to bed.


His day was fueled by copious amounts of coffee, and he believed it was something he needed to write; He said: ‘As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move…similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle.’


Søren Kierkegaard



Voltaire was also said to have drunk 30 – 40 cups of coffee , mixed with chocolate, every day. But his coffee habit was perhaps very tame compared to another great thinker; Søren Kierkegaard


As a man considered to have been the first existentialist philosopher Kierkegaard did many things differently. Including the way he drank his coffee.


According to his contemporaries he would pour a large amount of sugar into his coffee cup, filling it almost all the way up to the top. He then added very hot, very strong black coffee to slowly dissolve the sugar pile. Once it had done that he gulped the whole thing down like a shot.


Then there were Kierkegaard's coffee cups. He amassed a collection of more than 50 of them and would direct his secretary to bring him a different one every time he drank a cup giving a valid philosophical reason for his choice as he did.


Benjamin Franklin 



Bad news for those Americans who think that hanging out at Starbucks to work or study is a cool new trend. During the time he spent living in England Benjamin Franklin lived the sweet life of the coffee shop freelancer too.


Franklin would write, play chess, hold political meetings and also receive his mail at his favorite coffee spot. During one of those sessions he wrote of his favorite beverage ““Among the numerous luxuries of the table…coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions…is never followed by sadness, languor or debility.”


He did not leave things there though. Franklin got into the coffee business himself, selling his own coffee beans often hawking his wares to those sailing to America, explaining they should take their own coffee provisions in case the captain was not astute enough to ensure that the ship's supply did not run out.