If there’s ever been a show for lovers of joe, it’s Twin Peaks. The cult classic was basically a 30-episode ode to “damn fine coffee” (in the immortal words of Agent Dale Cooper). Our count brings the coffee references to 70 (spoken) in total. That’s a lot of joe.
The single-mindedness about coffee isn’t surprising, given that the show’s creator is iconic director David Lynch. This is the man who once quipped, “Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all,” and who has his own signature line of beans that superfans can purchase online.
Twin Peaks was so ahead of its time when it comes to coffee obsession (among other things) that Showtime even released an old-school coffee-themed teaser ahead of the show’s return.
So if you want to explore the show’s love affair for all things steaming hot and “black as midnight on a moonless night” — here’s a timeline of memorable coffee moments in the town of Twin Peaks.
(Also, if you’d rather watch all the mentions, this super-cut of pie and coffee comments is pretty rad.)
Agent Dale Cooper, aka Coop, actually mentions coffee in his first appearance on the show. He records a voice memo to his (perhaps imaginary) colleague — Diane.
“Lunch was, uh, six dollars and thirty-one cents at the Lamplighter Inn, that’s on Highway Two near Lewis Fork. That was a tuna fish sandwich on whole wheat, slice of cherry pie, and a cup of coffee. Damn good food.”
Another significant coffee moment in the pilot: sultry Audrey Horne pokes a pencil hole into a styrofoam cup of coffee, causing it to spill out all over the concierge desk at her father’s hotel, The Great Northern. (Shenanigans.)
Coop has his first breakfast at the aforementioned Great Northern hotel. The waitress brings his coffee. He takes a sip and says: “You know, this is, excuse me, a damn good cup of coffee. I’ve had I can’t tell you how many cups of coffee I’ve had in my life and this … this is one of the best.”
Later, he and Sheriff Harry S. Truman (already BFFs) visit the Packard/Martell household, home to “one of the most beautiful women in the state” Josie Packard, villainess Catherine Martell and all-around-good-guy Pete Martell. Josie offers Coop and Harry a “cup of joe.” Pete asks how Coop takes his coffee. Coop’s reply: “Black as midnight on a moonless night.”
As the bromantic duo take their first sips, Pete runs in. “Fellas don’t drink that coffee. You’re not gonna believe this; there was a fish in the percolator!”
Later, Coop tells Diane: “Diane, never drink coffee that has been anywhere near a fish.”
Big Ed heads to the Double R Diner (venue of choice for all of Twin Peaks’ most significant meetings), telling Norma Jennings (his one true love since high school and owner of the Double R) he’s in the doghouse with Nadine (his unfortunate wife). He orders a: “cup a coffee.”
The Sheriff’s Department team is out in the woods with a giant chalkboard. Coop is preparing to demonstrate The Tibetan Method (IE an instinctive technique that involves throwing rocks at targets). Lucy (Sheriff Department’s administrative assistant) asks, “Anyone for a warm up?” and all of the boys concur. Coop takes a sip, spits it out and says, “Damn good coffee! And hot!”
Later, Donna Hayward (tragically dead heroine Laura Palmer’s best friend) and Audrey Horne run into each other at the Double R. Audrey asks Donna, “Do you like coffee?” Donna replies, “Yeah … with cream and sugar.” Audrey flashes a coy smile and says, “Agent Cooper LOVES coffee.” They giggle. Audrey continues: “But Agent Cooper likes his coffee black.”
Coop meets Harry and Big Ed at the Double R. Ed tells Harry that Coop is never “gonna figure it out.” (Referring to his love for Norma.) Norma takes the boys’ orders. Coop quips: “Big Ed, how long have you been in love with Norma?” Harry: “Ed, looks like pie and coffee’s on you.”
Then, Harry takes Coop to the Bookhouse (clubhouse to the town’s justice squad, the Bookhouse Boys) where “the coffee’s free.” Coop’s reply: “Like the sound of that.”
As Lucy and the Sheriff’s Department team begin to scour through vet records searching for a bird who bore witness to Laura Palmer’s death, Coop finds out they’ll have to search alphabetically by name. He exclaims: “We’re gonna need some more coffee.”
Coop meets Audrey at the Great Northern. He tells her: “I’m late, I only have time for coffee.”
Later, Hank Jennings (Norma’s estranged ex-con husband and all-around bad guy) tries to get back into Norma’s good graces. She tells him he can start by washing dishes. His response: Can I finish my coffee first? Boss?”
Harry and Coop stop for coffee at the Double R.
Coop: Harry, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair or two cups of good hot black coffee. Like this.
Harry: A present? Like Christmas?
Coop: Ah, man that hits the spot. Nothing like a great cup of black coffee.
Big Ed tells Coop the sad story of how he and Norma ended up married to other people. Harry distracts Albert Rosenfield (cranky but loveable FBI forensics man): “Albert, l’ll buy you a cup of coffee.”
Traveling Judge Sternwood arrives at the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, ready to try Laura Palmer’s father, Leland, for the murder of drug-dealing Jacques Renault. He quips to Lucy: “Who do you have to grease to get some coffee around here?”
Coop to Diane: “Diane, it’s 6:42 a.m. Rough sleep. l had dreamt l was eating a large, tasteless gumdrop. l awoke to realize that l was aggressively munching on one of my Air-Pillow silicone earplugs. Hence the tastelessness. Perhaps l should keep a closer eye on my after-dinner coffee consumption.” (Good advice for us all.)
Later, Maddy (Laura Palmer’s lookalike cousin) comes to the Double R and runs into James (Laura Palmer’s former boyfriend and current boyfriend to Donna Hayward).
Maddy: Can l get a cup of coffee to go?
Maddy: Large, please. (Is there any other size?)
James: So you seen Donna today?
Maddy: No, sorry. You?
James: No. So, what’s with the coffee?
Maddy: Coffee? lt’s for Uncle Leland. (Lie! She needs it for a stakeout she’s scheming with Donna.)
James: You don’t have coffee at home?
Maddy: James, l can’t talk now. l need to go.
James: You need to go? Where are you going?
Maddy: Home. Bye, James.
Coop: Hawk, you got that warrant for Harold Smith’s apartment? (Harold Smith was the orchid-cultivating agoraphobic confidant of Laura Palmer)
Hawk: On my way as soon as l finish my coffee. (Priorities.)
Later, Nadine and Big Eg hit the Double R.
Nadine: Two chocolate shakes, please, Norma.
Ed: Coffee for me.
Nadine: Extra whipped cream on mine. (She later crushes the shake glass with her bare hand, thanks to super-strength from adrenaline overload.)
Norma meets her mother’s creepy new hubs, Ernie Niles. He asks: “I wonder if I couId bother you for a cup of coffee?”
Harry says to Roger Hardy (Internal Affairs investigator for the Bureau, sent to investigate Coop’s alleged misconduct conduct): “Agent Cooper is the finest Iawman I’ve ever known. I’ve had nothing but respect for him since he arrived in Twin Peaks. Now, I don’t know what information you have or where you got it from, but it is dead wrong.”
Roger: “Thank you for your time.”
Harry: “HeIp yourseIf to a coffee on the way out.” (Because everyone, even a jerk, deserves a cup of coffee in Twin Peaks.)
Ernie returns to the Double R after a weekend up at One Eyed Jack’s (a brothel over the Canadian border, owner by Audrey Horne’s father Ben). He asks Norma: Could we get some coffee?” She tells him to go back to Seattle.
Later, Catherine Martell, who’s agreed to keep Josie on as a maid after various misdeeds, demands breakfast in bed the next morning: “Coffee, juice, dry toast, oatmeaI.”
Norma and Ed have a meet-cute at the Double R.
Norma: More coffee?
Ed: You bet. (No one ever turns down more coffee in Twin Peaks.)
Norma: Is everything aII right, Ed?
Ed: CouIdn’t be better. This is for you. (Ed hands her a note saying they have to talk.)
Norma: Bye for now.
Later on, 35-year-old Nadine approaches teenaged Mike Nelson (her crush) and asks him to to share a soda or a piece of cherry pie. He refuses, saying he wants to eat by himself. He goes on: “In fact, I want 16 cups of coffee.” (Possibly a record, even for Twin Peaks.) Nadine is undeterred and ends up kissing him. (He likes it.)
Donna heads to Wallies Hideout, a bar a couple of hours outside of Twin Peaks, looking for James, who’d skipped town. She orders coffee at the bar. James’ new older lover, Evelyn Marsh, pays for Donna’s coffee.
Later, Coop (who is now a deputy of the Twin Peaks Sheriff Department while on hiatus from the FBI), quips to Harry: “Harry, Iet’s get one thing straight. I work for you now. You say drink coffee, I’II drink coffee.”
FBI Bureau Chief Gordon Cole (David Lynch in the flesh) makes an appearance at the Double R and falls immediately in love with Shelly Johnson, adorable waitress. He approaches her and says: “l was wondering if l might trouble you for a cup of strong, black coffee. And in the process, engage you with an anecdote of no small amusement.”
Though Cole is hard of hearing, it turns out he can hear Shelly perfectly. A miracle. (Ain’t love grand?!)
Harry and Coop are also at the Double R, with Harry hungover due to the death of Josie Packard (his lover) and a subsequent drinking binge.
Coop to Harry: “Why don’t you go home and recuperate?”
Harry: No, all l need is some coffee, maybe a little food. (Coffee cures all ills in Twin Peaks).
Annie Blackburn (Norma Jennings’ sister) is now working at the Double R, and Coop’s in love. She asks him if he wants any breakfast. His reply: “l’ve got four hungry lawmen out in the police cruiser. We need donuts and coffee.”
He tells her he gets a tingling sensation in his toes and stomach when he talks to her. “l don’t think it has anything to do with coffee.”
He then orders for the Sheriff’s Department staff: “A dozen donuts, four cups of coffee, two black, two white, no sugar.”
Shelly, Donna and Audrey are being stalked by Windom Earle, Coop’s psycho ex-partner. Shelly tells Coop: “Same day l got the poem, l got a $10 tip for a cup of coffee. That’s unusual.” (Too bad nowadays cups of coffee ARE $10.)
Later, Coop comes to see Annie. “Coffee?” she asks. “You bet,” he replies.
(The s*** has officially hit the fan.) Coop is in the Black Lodge (an otherwordly place of pure evil). Harry and Andy are awaiting his return.
Andy (to Harry): Do you want a thermos of coffee?
Andy: Do you want a pIate speciaI?
Andy: Do you want dessert?
While in the Black Lodge, “The World’s Most Decrepit Room Service Waiter,” (an extremely elderly man who once brought Coop some hot milk as he lay bleeding from a bullet wound) brings Coop a cup of coffee while repeating “coffee” six times.
Coop takes it. First, it appears to be regular liquid. He goes to sip it and realizes it’s frozen. Then he tries to pour it and it’s semi-solid, like molasses. Or, perhaps, scorched engine oil … (Here’s a visual if you’re into that.)
And there you have it. All the memorable coffee moments in Twin Peaks. While we can’t say for sure whether David Lynch’s caffeine obsession is as robust as it was 26 years ago — it’s a safe bet to assume the reboot will have its fair share of odes to to the stuff.
Hannah Sentenac is a freelance writer and journalist who covers veg food, drink, pop culture, travel, and animal advocacy issues. She’s written for Live Happy magazine, Foxnews.com, MindBodyGreen.com, and numerous other publications and websites. Hannah is also the Editor-in-Chief of LatestVeganNews.com, a publication dedicated to positive, original news from the vegan and plant-based world.