Most of us omnivorous beings love a good story about someone who has found a single food they enjoy and dutifully commit to it. (Remember the delightful tale of the man who ate the same lentil soup for 17 years?) For a culinarily adventurous species, it fascinates us to no end that some people can establish such a rigid eating pattern. Or drinking pattern. Now Grub Street has published an interview with a writer who has been drinking 25 cups of coffee each day for the past 15 years.
Charles Anderson is a Canadian writer and illustrator. He tells Grub Street that he started drinking coffee when he was 10, a choice he defends by pointing out that it’s not as sugary as the sodas that most other kids that age are drinking. (And hey, health science is more or less on his side.)
“It was a gradual buildup,” Anderson says of his 25-cup-per-day habit. “But now it’s become a ritual, a writer’s superstition. I find that it’s important for creativity. There’s an idea in every cup, and you need a lot of ideas to get one good one.”
If your first thought is that a habit like this might break the bank, rest assured that Anderson is no snob. He enjoys the coffee at McDonald’s and Tim Hortons, and tends to make simple drip coffee at home. He used to take it with cream and sugar, but after a 90-year-old woman told him that taking one’s coffee this way is a sign of “weak moral character,” he started taking it black and hasn’t looked back.
When Grub Street asked Anderson if he gets “negative comments from people” about his habit, he had a thoughtful response:
People have criticized me for years — family, friends, doctors. I get messages from people saying it’s physically impossible to drink 25 a day. It’s not, obviously. People are constantly telling me that it isn’t healthy or it’s bad for my stomach or it can kill me. It does sound like a lot when you say “25 cups.” I drink about one-and-a-half cups per waking hour on most days. I know it sounds unadvisable. But my blood pressure is always perfect. I work for myself and I get seven to eight hours of sleep a night, not a problem. I might go to the bathroom a little more than the average person. That’s it.
Only once in his mid-20s has he ever experienced negative effects from his coffee consumption: heart palpitations and shortness of breath that led him to see a doctor. Since then, he keeps track of his coffee intake and makes sure not to drink more than 25 cups per day. Moderation is key!