Coffee is not just coffee. Well, you may have heard it referred to by several different names—cup of joe, java, wake up juice, cuppa—just to name a few. Have you ever wondered where these names come from? They must have started somewhere?! We’re here to give you a little bit of background and fun tidbits about some of these popular phrases. There have been some theories, but here is how they really came to be.
Cup of Joe
After the Boston Tea Party and the War of 1812, American’s had lost the taste for tea, and coffee became immensely popular, consumed by everyone from businessmen to soldiers, and small shop owners. Coffee even became a staple of military rations. The term ‘Joe’ can be traced back to a U.S. Naval Secretary, Josephus Daniels, who banned the consumption of alcohol among all naval officers. As a result of this ban, coffee rose significantly in popularity, after which a cup of coffee was referred to as a ‘cup of Joseph Daniels,’ which was soon shortened to ‘cup of joe.’
In the 17th century, the Dutch brought coffee to Bali, Sumatra, and the island of Java, in Indonesia. ‘Java’ was most likely initially used just by Dutch traders, but the use eventually spread to the general public, and its meaning also evolved to how we know it as a general term for coffee.
Around the 15th century, the evergreen shrub, Coffea Arabica was first cultivated on a large scale in Yemen. As a replacement for the traditional wine used in some religious ceremonies, Sufi Muslim mystics used this plant’s roasted seeds. Sufis traveling from Mocha, which was Yemen’s chief Red Sea port, took the beans and brewing knowledge through the Islamic world, and it quickly gained popularity.
It should come as no surprise that this refers to a mixture of ‘java’ and ‘mocha.’ It is said that this term was first used in World War II to describe soldiers whose skin resembled the color of coffee. Over the years, it has become a common term for ‘coffee’ or ‘a cup of coffee.’
These are just some of the most commonly used alternatives for the word ‘coffee.’ What else have you heard? Have you coined a coffee word or phrase of your own? Please share your thoughts and questions with us here, and come back for another cup of trivia, tips, fun facts, and much more from the ever exciting and changing world of coffee and tea. We invite you to discover an array of modern and classic flavors from right here at home and all around the world at Parker’s Cup.