In what is both fodder for a future article in The Onion and an actual survey, leading “coffee retail brand” Don Francisco asked some 1,000 Americans to quantify their level of inspiration on a scale of 0 (“not at all inspired”) to 100 (“extremely inspired), taking into account internal factors (optimism, spirituality, health) and external factors (state of the world, the economy, weather). Not surprisingly, coffee drinkers are among the “most inspired” on the coffee company's “Inspiration Index.”

Other findings: while most coffee drinkers surveyed (thankfully) are not so addicted to caffeine as to trade their cup of coffee for their jobs, cars, or sex, four out of 10 surveyed would choose coffee over alcohol or a trip to see Harry Potter or any other movie. Overall, 40% of the total number of respondents are struck by some sort of inspiration during their daily coffee break.

What may be the ultimate source of inspiration, however, is an answer that doesn't appear to be on the survey at all: coffee at a TED talk. Between undoubtedly inspiring talks by the likes of Malcolm Gladwell and Rebecca MacKinnon, attendees at last week's 2011 TEDGlobal Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland sipped and learned about coffee from the world-class baristas of Coffee Common. That nexus of great muses and great coffee quite possibly may have been off the charts on Don Francisco's Inspiration Index.

We can't bring that experience to you, but we can offer the next best thing: Steven Johnson at his 2010 TED talk on how coffee houses, among other places, are one of the many places that can give birth to great ideas. The only thing you need is the coffee.

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