From humble origins
We have so far looked at how the history of the American revolution and industrialization has affected the production and popularization of coffee across the land. We have also looked at how innovation and entrepreneurship have affected the popularity and spread of coffee as the most popular drink in America.
From the creation of the first semi automatic percolator in the mid 1800's to the creation of instant coffee in Chicago in 1903 the story of coffee has been one meteoric success and firmly lodged in the American psyche for nearly 2 centuries.
Cultural norms, however, change as rapidly as any other thing. From the pioneers of the American West brewing coffee in open fires under starlit skies in Western Plains to the "give yourself a coffee break" ads of the 1950's, the way we consume coffee was quickly being transformed to a more instant and less bespoke process. In fact, by 1938, Nestle’s Nescafe Instant Coffee had become the most famous among the limitless instant coffee brands in the American Coffee market at that time. By the 1970's, nearly one-third of imported roasted coffee was converted into instant coffee.
It was not until the 1950s that companies all over the country began implementing 10 to 20 minute breaks for their workforce. In 1952, the Pan-American Coffee Bureau launched an ad campaign, urging consumers to "... Get What Coffee Gives to You." Companies began designating specific areas and set times for coffee breaks, while in some states, such as California, they went as far as to legally mandate coffee breaks for everyone.
Those steps were being implemented, in a cascading fashion, both because of the drinks popularity, but also because of it's properties as a benign stimulant that made workers both happy and more productive. While innovation came hard and fast in the 19th century many of us still enjoyed coffee in it's more traditional form. These innovations in the making of coffee were not simply industrial. We should not forget to mention the invention of the domestic coffee machine and the impetus it has given to the beverage’s spread all around the world, by making a good cup of coffee accessible to every house and family.
Today's percolators, still part of the history of coffee-making, look very similar to the original ones. The first automatic drip coffee maker was invented by Vincent Marotta in 1972. The Mr. Coffee, as Marotta used to call his invention, was in fact a huge revolution that changed the beverage and the history of coffee makers forever. By the end of the 1970's, over 40,000 Mr. Coffees were being sold every day.
All of the above concerns the history of the coffee’s propagation and reputation in America; the First Wave of Coffee. They all fall into an era when humanity was eager to prepare and drink coffee in any possible and convenient way which in turn allowed it to become an inextricable part of daily life. It was the time when the first espresso machines were discovered, instant coffee was prioritized, the Moka pot came to the scene, the paper filter for extraction machines as well as many more other patents made their debut. Some of those are lost and others are still with us to this day. It was the time that the promotion and the widespread consumption of coffee was often prioritized over its taste and quality. Despite this, no one can doubt that all the innovations concerning the processing, packaging and marketing of coffee have enabled the industry to evolve, modernize and propel our favorite drink into our lives.