If you think about it, coffee and tattoos have a lot in common. Both garner cult followings, and, along with them, snobs. Both give you an adrenaline kick. Both are better when made by artistically—and dexterously—gifted professionals, unless you have an extraordinarily steady hand and a clean kitchen. And both, of course, are straight-up addicting.
Chances are, if you’re a functioning member of modern society, you have at least one cup of coffee a day, and chances are better that you drink that cup of coffee during your darkest, most desperate moments: that awful stretch of morning between waking up and brushing your teeth; that interminable stretch of the afternoon between lunch and dinner; that perpetual stretch of unceasing, unrelenting time between birth and death. Coffee is your source of inspiration, of energy, of willpower. It’s probably a more loyal presence in your life than any other human you know.
So why wouldn’t you want to show the world the precious bond between your soul and your caffeine with a badass tattoo? Isn’t your beloved coffee just as worth a plot of real estate on your arm as your significant other/mom/nondenominational symbol?
These 11 people thought so. Check ‘em out.
1. Classic Coffee Pot
A coffee pot and a stack of pancakes? Girl’s killing the breakfast-themed-sleeve game.
2. Keep Going
A friendly reminder: caffeine’s got your back.
3. Death Before Decaf, Pt. 1
What makes a death-before-decaf tattoo more hardcore? A death-before-decaf tattoo nestled inside a disembodied lower jaw…
4. Death Before Decaf, Pt. 2
…Or a death-before-decaf tattoo on a disembodied skateboard, because what’s more punk rock than a strong cup of coffee and a destroyed deck?
5. Cup of Ambition
What makes a roiling cup of coffee even better? Dolly Parton lyrics and Betty Rose’s incredible glittery guitar, of course!
6. Coffee n’ Punk
If it’s good enough for Milo — the nerdy cartoon logo for ’80s pop-punk band Descendents, inspired by their own frontman who also happens to be a biochemist — it’s good enough for you. Even if you’re a square who can’t tell a nucleotide from a cristae junction.
7. “You don’t meet nice girls in coffee shops…”
“Sometimes there’s nothin’ left to do,” wailed Tom Waits. Nothin’ left to do but get a tattoo with some of his java-lovin’ lyrics.
8. NYC Graffiti
Swathes of bold, graffiti-inspired color elevate a basic cup of bodega coffee to billboard-worthy heights. A fitting homage to New York City and the drink that fuels it.
9. Lipstick Traces
Who says a dainty lipstick-smeared mug can’t also be badass?
10. Floral Notes
This tattoo’s floral design offers a feminine take on the steaming coffee mug.
11. You Rest, You Rust
Time waits for no man. This is where coffee comes in.