In 1773 the drinking of coffee in the United States became a patriotic duty, following the actions of the Boston Tea Party and the rejection of British tea by the citizenry. In fact, it was declared the national drink of the United States by the Continental Congress in protest to the excessive taxes levied on tea by the British government. Our love affair with the brew continued through the first half of the nineteenth century and, following the events of the Civil War, was at an all time high. By 1900 the United States was consuming nearly half of the coffee produced in the world.
|Arbuckle's Ariosa Coffee|
By 1910 the electric percolator had been invented and coffee preparation had gone both into the home, where housewives didn't have to watch over a pot of boiling coffee any longer, and into large-scale cafeterias, where large electric percolators brewed coffee for dozens of people at a time. By the start of World War I instant coffee was on the scene and was sent overseas as a part of every U.S. serviceman's kit. The phrase "cup of joe" comes from "G.I. Joe", World War I slang for American soldiers who always had their mugs of coffee with them.
The American craze for coffee, usually drank several times throughout the day, gave birth to lunch counters and soda fountains during the inter-war years. In the 1920s, during Prohibition, American coffee consumption boomed. By the 1940s, American consumers were drinking 70 percent of the coffee brewed worldwide. U.S. soldiers sent overseas during World War II had packages of instant Maxwell House Coffee included in their mess kits. American's relationship with coffee was so intense that widespread coffee hoarding during World War II eventually led to its being rationed by the U.S. government.
The "coffee break" is an American invention as well, created by factory owners during World War II in order to give their employees a short break and a much needed jolt of caffeine. The Pan American Coffee Bureau got into the act as well, launching a campaign in the mid-1950s to encourage coffee breaks in the work place and develop the consumption of Central and South American Arabica coffee, in which it had a controlling interest. After all, what could be more American than having our leisure time dictated by controlling corporate interests? By the end of the decade the Pan American Coffee Bureau reported that 70 to 80 percent of American workers were taking at least one coffee break per work day. President Eisenhower even leapt on the bandwagon, developing a plan he called "Operation Coffee Cup" during his presidential campaign and using informal coffee breaks and sit-downs in order to meet and talk with voters.
Getting There By Bike...
An essential part of this blog, "Getting There By Bike", wouldn't be possible without coffee. I'll raise my cup to all of you and wish you a happy Fourth of July. As always, thank you for reading.