America has a rich love affair with coffee. It’s been that way for over 200 years, thanks to the raising of taxes back when our Founding Fathers were still sporting white powdered wigs. Over time, coffee became a form of rebellion as colonists traded in their teakettles for coffee pots. Now, coffee is a part of the American way of life. Before coffee was all gussied up and poured over ice, these 5 historical figures enjoyed nothing more than a hot cuppa joe. Meet some of America’s first coffee addicts:
1.) George Washington
Nothing says “America” like a cup of coffee and George Washington, and from the looks of the history books, Washington was a big fan of his perk. Rewind for a second: when Washington is starting to become a big deal, America is protesting King George III who raised taxes on the colonies’ tea. In response, the Boston Tea Party happened in 1773 and the Continental Congress made coffee the national drink of the colonized United States (take that King George!). But before all that went down, Washington was already on the coffee addict bandwagon, importing some 200lbs of perk in 1770. Who knew patriotism could taste so good?
2.) Benjamin Franklin
Ladies man Benjamin Franklin was another coffee addict of American history . During his time in London, Franklin could often be found at the local coffee house talking political smack about the British government. He was even there so often that he suggested to his sister that his mail be sent there. But a true sign of a coffee addict? When good ol’ Benny-boy is selling his own beans. (That’s kind of like dealing, right?)
3.) Thomas Jefferson
We could argue that Founding Father Thomas Jefferson was one of the first American connoisseurs of coffee. Back in the day, most of the beans that were imported were unripe, and to that T.J. said “nay.” He wanted ripe beans that he could have stored in barrels in the cellar of his home, Monticello. And of course he had a preference of where the beans came from. For Jefferson, he wanted beans imported from the East and West Indies. Oh, and the guy was so into his cuppa joe, that he designed his own coffee pot and had a silversmith in Paris whip it up for him. No biggie.
4.) Lewis and Clark
After the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the United States had suddenly almost doubled its geographic size. With the new territory just waiting to be settled, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led an expedition that would uncover what lie beyond the Mississippi River. And surprise, surprise—coffee made it on the packing list. The gallant explorers and their band had packed away 50lbs of coffee beans for the trip. Kudos to Lewis and Clark for packing the essentials!
5.) Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt
It should come as little surprise that the rough and tough cowboy who served as our 16th president was a coffee addict. Some historical accounts recall Teddy drinking a gallon of coffee a day. (Makes sense, right? How else could he have fought in the Spanish America War, gone gallivanting on wild safaris, and get a stuffed animal named after him?) Word on the street is that on a trip to Nashville, Teddy was served Maxwell House Coffee and said it was “Good till the last drop.” The phrase ended up becoming the company’s slogan and even had Teddy in some of their advertising.
So the next time someone gives you crap about your coffee addiction, remind them that a hot cup of coffee is an act of patriotism. At their startled reaction, rattle off the names of these go-getters and then proceed to enjoy your brew. Problem solved.
Can you think of any coffee addicts we missed? Leave them in the comments section below!