"Death before decaf” is a popular saying that has been printed on many images. “Death before decaf” has been cited in print since at least 1991, when it was written on a drinker participation wall in a California coffee house.
15 August 1991, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, CA), “Juice” by Nicole Brodeur and Martin J. Smith, pg. E1, col. 1:
We’ll be visiting Diedrich Coffee in Tustin someday soon to scribble our thoughts on its new drinker participation wall, where customers can share ideas about coffee or life.
Two of our favorites were spotted recently by our boss—one heck of a gal who goes by the name of Cathy Lawhon. (Did we mention how much we love her?) They are: “Death before decaf” and “The world is a restaurant. Eat life before life eats you.”
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mv changes creation time?!?
J. David Schronce
J. David Schronce “Death Before Decaf!!”
27 September 1993, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, CA), “Java junkies shake all night to raise funds for hospital” by Tom Berg, Metro, pg. 4, col. 2:
Inside the cafe Sunday afternoon, a message on a bulletin board read: “Death before decaf.”
17 March 1995, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, CA), “Sometimes, coffee just isn’t enough” by Elizabeth Evans, Dining In, Show sec., pg. 39, col. 2:
And they are pleasing to even the most discerning coffee drinkers, including my two favorite 20-somethings — who live by the credo “Death before decaf.”
Right to Remain Silent:
A Connor Westphal Mystery
By Penny Warner
New York, NY: Bantam Books
She looked me up and down as I stood there in my “Death Before Decaf” T- shirt and jeans.
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Death before Decaf!
Google News Archive
16 June 2003, Lodi (CA) News-Sentinel, “Reunion,” pg. 8, col. 5:
Wearing a shirt at the reunion that stated, “Death Before Decaf,” Pierre would have been proud to cruise his wagon through the Java Stop, order a mocha, and say hello to his extended family.
The Practice of Person-Centred Couple and Family Therapy
By Charles J. O’Leary
New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan
I was wearing black, a Tshirt that has a skull on it and says ‘Death Before Decaf’.
EAT: Los Angeles:
The Food Lover’s Guide to Los Angeles
Edited by Colleen Dunn Bates
Pasadena, CA: Prospect Park Media
“Death Before Decaf” is the motto at this neighborhood café, and the baristas deliver the goods.
(UnUrban Coffee House in Santa Monica, CA.—ed.)