Ever wonder what would happen if you drank WAY more coffee than you do today? Well, it turns out there’s this guy who drank the equivalent of around 47 cups a day (Americano) for almost 25 years. That’s about six gallons a day, or cumulatively enough coffee to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool.
Since consuming six gallons a day of any liquid would kill you, he drank his coffee in the form of super-strong espresso, thus significantly cutting down the volume but not the potency. (He also chewed raw coffee grounds when he needed an extra energy burst.)
Now, you’d think that anybody consuming such an insane amount of coffee would get the jitters to the point that they’d be walking around on the ceiling like a gecko. What actually happened, though, was far more amazing.
While on world’s hugest coffee buzz, Honore de Balzac wrote 47 novels, 12 novellas, 18 short stories, and 8 plays. Balzac also created the world’s first continuing series with character crossovers–the model for all genre fiction. You think Stan Lee created a lot of heroes and villains? Well, Balzac invented and juggled 2,472 named characters.
Even more amazingly, Balzac created this mass of intellectual property without using a computer or even a typewriter. Or even a sharpie. No, that huge creative output came out of a hand-cut quill pen. And the writing wasn’t fluff. Quite the contrary, Balzac is widely considered the most influential novelist of all time.
So, we’d all like to be that creative, right? Well, before you order 12 espresso machines on Amazon, be forewarned that–despite the salutary effect it apparently had on Balzac– drinking that much coffee is really bad idea. While you probably wouldn’t get caffeine poisoning, you’d definitely end up with sleep problems and probably some kind of nervous exhaustion.
On the other hand, you might want to step up your game a bit. According to multiple studies, you get the greatest benefit from coffee if you drink between six and eight cups a day, or roughly a quart of brewed Americano. So most people, sadly, probably aren’t drinking enough. Bottoms up!
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