Saturday, July 17, 2021

Joe or Java

Staying on the "coffee" theme, I recently had a "Just where did that come from?" question. Why is the beverage often referred to as "Java". Well it seems that coffee was introduced to Southeast Asia by the Dutch in the 1600's. They initially planted coffee on islands in Bali and Sumatra. . . and Java. Originally coffees were noted as 'Single Origin", as in coming from one specific island. Think Sumatra. Over the years, the single origin references were dropped. However, for some reason all coffee started being referred to as 'Java'. So there!

And "Joe', as in cup of Joe? It all started with the US Navy. The story goes that Josephus Daniels was  Secretary of the US Navy during the Woodrow Wilson administration. On June 1, 1914, Secretary Daniels issued General Order 99 that prohibited alcohol aboard any US Navy vessel -not a popular move. Much to the dismay to the sailors, the strongest beverage available on a ship (boat or submarine) in the Navy was coffee. In response, a cup coffee on aboard began being called a "Cup of Joseph", which eventually became 'Cup of Joe'.

Of course there is also the thought that the that the origin of this reference was based on coffee being the one beverage that the common man could afford - Common Man as the 'Ordinary Joe'. Soon it was a cup of "Joe".

So now you know the rest of the story.

I'll spare you the sagas, the stories, the fables, etc of the origins of Coffee's other names, such as dirt, mud, brew, cuppa, daily grind, lifeblood, tar, rocket fuel, and worm dirt, to name a few. No doubt there's a good story there - or not.

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