Category Archives: Coffee History

Why Add Chicory to Coffee?

You may have heard of adding chicory to coffee or drinking chicory coffee, you may wonder what chicory is. Is it a natural herb to flavor the coffee? Is it a type of bean such as the arabica bean?

Chicory is natural, but it’s not exactly an herb. It’s a full flower, and it’s the chicory roots that are added to coffee. Chicory naturally has a coffee taste, so it’s often used to enhance the coffee flavors. However, adding the root to coffee has been around for centuries.


The first documented use of chicory is from Napoleonic history, when Napoleon’s blockades caused a massive java shortage throughout the country in the early 1800s. Continue reading

Some Coffee History You Might Not Know

coffee-beansCoffee has been around for centuries, and it has more interesting tales of legend than you might think. For instance, you might have heard that the Pope banned coffee, but did you hear how it was unbanned? Do you know what coffee was originally called? How about, where the term “cup of joe” originated?

Coffee was known as “Arabian wine.”

Europeans originally called coffee “Arabian wine” when it was first introduced. The Arabic term was “gahwat al-bun”, which translates to “wine of the bean.” The phrase was shortened to “gahwah”, and then morphed into “kahveh” in Turkey. The Dutch changed it to “koffie”, and Italy called it “caffe.” Continue reading

Did You Know Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte Almost Didn’t Happen?

pumpkinspicelatteIt’s hard to imagine that Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, their undeniably most popular cold-weather drink, almost did not happen.

According to, when the higher ups at Starbucks were testing fall drink ideas ten years ago, they were less than impressed with the pumpkin spice blend. At that time, they preferred chocolate caramel and cinnamon spice. It was Peter Dukes, the espresso brand manager for Starbucks, who pushed pumpkin spice to the forefront and refused to back down.

It was a good thing he did, as the Pumpkin Spice Latte is one of the coffee shop’s most popular seasonal blends.

The pumpkin spice sauce was developed after consuming several pumpkin pies, both store bought and homemade. They even sampled pumpkin pies with espresso poured over the top of them. The spice combination includes cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, all distinct flavors of fall.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Starbucks introducing the drink, and now it’s hard to visit any coffee house without seeing some version of a pumpkin spice coffee available in the fall.

In fact, we have pumpkin spice k-cups AND pumpkin spice-flavored roasted coffee. You’ll never have to leave your home again to satisfy your pumpkin spice cravings. Check out our seasonal page to catch all of the flavors of the season! Also check out a recipe we posted for making your own pumpkin spice latte!

Coffee History Trivia

Coffee has had an interesting history to say the least. Here are some fun facts about coffee and its history that you may not have known and can use to stump and/or impress your fellow coffee aficionados at your next coffee gathering.

  • European Coffee HouseIn 1675, Charles II, King of England, issued a proclamation banning all coffee houses. He claimed that coffee houses were places where people met to plot against him.
  • That may seem a little nuts, but both the American Revolution and the French Revolution were plotted in coffee houses.
  • In the 17th century when coffee came to Europe, Pope Clement VIII banned coffee, stating it was the “Devils Tool” (not idle hands). After the Pope tried a cup, he interestingly enough pronounced coffee legal again.
  • A traditional 6oz cup of coffee contains about 150 milligrams of caffeine, which most physicians call a “therapeutic dose. Continue reading

The History Behind Maxwell House’s “Good to the Last Drop”

Most likely over the last several decades, you have heard Maxwell House‘s famous slogan for their coffee, “Good to the Last Drop.” The slogan has actually been around since 1917, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that Maxwell House started to explain where the slogan came from, possibly due to the fact that Coca-Cola was using the same slogan at this time.

According to Maxwell House lore, President Theodore Roosevelt was visiting Andrew Jackson at Jackson’s estate, The Hermitage, on October 21, 1907. During this visit, he was served Maxwell House coffee, and he reportedly said that it was “good to the last drop.” Owners Leon T. Cheek and John Neal heard President Roosevelt’s bold statement, and they adopted it as their corporate slogan.

It’s a nice story, but it’s one that has never been historically proven. Local press in Tennessee did cover Roosevelt’s visit, and one paper did cover the story regarding Roosevelt’s response to the Maxwell House coffee. However, according to that source, Roosevelt said, “This is the kind of stuff I like to drink, by George, when I hunt bears.”

Maxwell House has since then said that the slogan was originally written by Clifford Spiller, a former president of General Foods. Yet, in 2009, the coffee company reverted back to its original claims that the slogan came from Roosevelt. They even ran a commercial depicting President Roosevelt retelling that famous story.

Whether it’s true or not, it’s a fun piece of legend for Maxwell House, and it certainly explains why they haven’t departed from their slogan in nearly 100 years.

History of Cafe Bustelo Coffee

We now proudly carry Cafe Bustelo coffee, a true Cuban roast that will take you to coffee shops of Havana without the hassle of air travel or a Castro dictatorship. The coffee originally came from the streets of Cuba, and the creators took their roasting craft with them as they left Cuba and made their way to New York.

Gregorio Bustelo was originally from Galicia, Spain, but during a trip to Cuba, he fell in love with the unique coffee on the island to the point that he got a job at a local coffee roaster. After living in Cuba for just a few months, he met and married a Cuban woman who loved coffee as much as he did.

Not long after they married, they moved to Puerto Rico, and Gregario took what he learned from the Cuban coffee industry to the Puerto Rican industry. Around this time, the US passed the Jones-Shafroth Act, which granted people of Puerto Rico US citizenship. The Bustelos and numerous other Puerto Ricans promptly left the island to start a new life in New York. Continue reading

Story Behind Starbucks Pike Place Roast

Pike Place Market

Courtesy of

If you’ve ever visited Seattle, then you may already know where the name of Starbucks famous Pike Place Roast came from. But if don’t know where it came from and would enjoy a little smidgen of a history lesson, then let us indulge you.

Pike Place is a famous market in Seattle, Washington that was founded in 1907, and it’s actually the oldest, continually operating farmers market in the US.  It overlooks the beautiful Elliott Bay waterfront, and the marketplace includes the famous fish-tossing fishmongers you have undoubtedly seen on TV at least once. Continue reading