Isn’t coffee always the protagonist? (Spoilers! Spoilers!)

Coffee and books go together like cream and sugar. Like milk and foam. Like… well, coffee and books. And sometimes, we have more in common with our favorite book characters than we thought: as we sip our coffee and flip the page, we find them doing the same. Here are just a few moments we’ve caught book characters loving coffee as much as (if not even more!!) than we do.

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1. 1984 by George Orwell

In a dystopian futurepeople are forced to drink diluted “Victory Coffee,” a low-quality, bitter version of the real thing. When Winston gets his hands on a mug of a real brew, the sensation is killer:

“The smell was already filling the room, a rich hot smell which seemed like an emanation from early childhood, but which one did occasionally meet with even now, blowing down a passageway before a door slammed, or diffusing itself mysteriously in a crowded street, sniffed for an instant and then lost again.

‘It’s coffee,’ he murmured. ‘Real coffee.'” (p. 141)

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2. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

There’s no comfort like coffee – Feeling hopeless and freezing in the middle of World War II, Billy Pilgrim and the American soldiers are finally at ease by an offering of food and coffee from a group of English soldiers.

“The Englishmen brought over real coffee and sugar and marmalade and cigarettes and cigars, and the doors of the theater were left open, so the warmth could get in. The Americans began to feel much better.” (p. 187-188)

3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

If you can make it to the end of Me Before You without your tears clouding your vision, you’ll find a touching coffee-love scene. Lou follows super specific instructions to read Will’s letter in Paris over a special cup of coffee.

“On the front of the envelope, in typed capitals, it send, under my name:

ONLY TO BE READ IN THE CAFE MARQUIS

RUE DES FRANCS BOUGEOISE, ACCOMPANIED BY

CROISSANTS AND A LARGE CAFE CREME.” (p. 366)

4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Talk about getting the jitters when you’ve been waiting too long for your promised cup – When Holden goes to visit his old teacher, he’s not havin’ it:

“For one thing, I had this terrific headache all of a sudden. I wished to God old Mrs. Antolini would come in with the coffee. That’s something that annoys hell out of me–I mean if somebody says the coffee’s all ready and it isn’t.” (p. 239)

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5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Francie’s family may not have much, but they do allow themselves a single luxury – a hot cup of coffee. Mugs of brew warm Francie’s heart and hands, bringing that comforting familiarity and richness we all know and love:

“There was a special Nolan idea about the coffee. It was their one great luxury. Mama made a big potful each morning and reheated it for dinner and supper and it got stronger as the day wore on. It was an awful lot of water and very little coffee but mama put a lump of chicory in it which made it taste strong and bitter. Each one was allowed three cups a day with milk. Other times you could help yourself to a cup of black coffee anytime you felt like it. Sometimes when you had nothing at all and it was raining and you were alone in the flat, it was wonderful to know that you could have something even though it was only a cup of black and bitter coffee…

Francie loved the smell of coffee and the way it was hot. As she ate her bread and meat, she kept one hand curved about the cup enjoying its warmth. From time to time, she’d smell the bitter sweetness of it. That was better than drinking it. At the end of the meal, it went down the sink.” (p. 6)

Any coffee moments that you love? Let us know!

coffee and book

Above photo courtesy of Tokyo Times. All other photos are property of CUPS.

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