Why Do We Call Coffee Joe?

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Coffee is the most widely consumed beverage in the world and has some crazy nicknames. I’ve heard a few…joe, java, daily grind, rocket fuel, mud, and even perk.

My question is though, why do we call it Joe? Where did this come from? I have wondered this many times before but intend to find the answer today, along with revieling some coffee history.

Cup of Joe Meaning

This nickname has been around for many years. Some people think the original saying “cup of joe” comes from a ban on alcohol back in the early 1900’s on U.S. Navy ships. The Secretary of the Navy, Josephus “Joe” Daniels ordered the alcohol ban which led to sailors seeking out the strongest drink on the ship, which was black coffee.

coffee beans and grinds

Some say that the sailors called it “cup of joe” because they were mad about the ban. But, theorists have since said this is not very likely. They think it comes from a nickname at the time “jamoke”. They think jamoke may have transformed into joe.

One more theory is that joe is a slang for common man and since coffee is the common mans drink then its a “cup of joe”.

Either way, I have always heard it called “joe” so it will forever be my “cup of joe”.

Coffee’s Nickname: Java

Coffee has another famous nickname…java. The nickname Java is referring to a specific coffee growing region.

It is an island in Indonesia that’s perfect for coffee to grow. This island helps Indonesia remain one of the top producers of coffee beans in the world.

Coffee’s History

There are so many stories as to how coffee was discovered. Coffee is believed to have originated in Ethiopia.

Rumors from 700 AD say that an Ethiopian sheep herdsman named Kaldi noticed his goats were jumpy after eating red berries. He then told the monks at the local monastery and one of them ate the berries to stay awake at night. It then made its way into a drink that is known today as coffee.

coffee cherries on branches

Another story that is told is of a Muslim named Omar who ate the cherries and didn’t like the taste, so he roasted them over an open flame to find out they became hard. So he then, boiled them in water to soften them and realized he had made a drink that would curb his hunger.

By the 16th century, coffee was being brewed in Turkey, Egypt, Syria and Persia. Coffee cherries were taken from Ethiopia to grow in other parts of the middle east. It spread from the middle east to the rest of Europe.

Where the word coffee comes from

It is said that the name coffee came from the dutch work “koffie” which was traced to an arabic word that means no hunger. It seems as though many claim the fame of coffee.

woman picking coffee cherries from branch

Americans got their hands on coffee

The British exported coffee to New York in the 1600’s. After the Boston tea party, Americans drank more coffee than tea. This sent a message to the British that they didn’t need their tea and for many, it meant they were independent.

In Civil War history, coffee was used to give the soldiers a boost of energy on the battlefield. This helped to popularize coffee in America.

why coffee is called joe, coffee cup and beans

Coffee is more than a drink

Coffee is a means of social interaction. Since coffee shops popped up all over Europe and caused such a craze, people have gathered to have their “cup of joe” and exchange information.

Today coffee is still one of the world’s most popular drinks and its here to stay. If you are curious about if coffee is healthy, see all the health benefits of coffee in this post.

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