[imagesource: U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive]
Coffee, the hot drink of champions, has a long and storied history.
Legend has it that it was discovered by the goat herder Kaldi, who noticed that goats eating the berries from a certain tree became so energetic that they couldn’t sleep at night.
One could argue that it was discovered by the goats, but let’s not get hung up on semantics.
Kaldi reported his findings to the abbot at the local monastery, who used the berries to make a drink that kept him alert late into the night.
He shared his findings and the news got out.
Skip ahead a few centuries and most of us can’t make it through the day without a cup or two of the good stuff – or whatever you want to call it.
Coffee has been described using a number of nicknames over the years, including java, mojo, brew, cuppa, ink, mud, perk, battery acid, bean juice, brain juice, brew, a cup of Juan Valdez’s best, jitter juice, jet fuel…the list goes on.
The one that has outlasted them all, however, in both popular culture and parlance is: A Cup of Joe, sometimes shortened to Cuppa Joe.
So, who the hell was Joe?
Well, there are three theories.
The first is that it is a shortened version of two other slang terms for coffee: java and jamoke.
That sounds a little obvious and doesn’t go back in time quite far enough, so let’s look at theory two: Coffee is for the ‘common man’ and Joe is a ‘common man’ name, hence the phrase ‘average Joe’.
I’m starting to feel bad for all the Joes out there.
The final theory is the most interesting, and likely the most accurate.
According to Wicked Local, coffee production and trends happen in waves. We are currently in the third wave which emphasises a coffee bean’s unique qualities, like the country of origin and the artisanal efforts that go into growing, roasting, and brewing the beverage.
The Joe, in ‘Cup of Joe’, lived during the first wave, or rather “a barbaric period that prioritised quantity of coffee grown and distributed at the harsh cost of quality”.
Josephus Daniels (below) served as the Secretary of Navy during World War I under President Woodrow Wilson from 1913 to 1921 and later was appointed as the 10th U.S. Ambassador to Mexico from 1933 to 1941.
Daniels was a powerful man with stern beliefs. In an effort to realign the Navy’s moral compass, Daniels imposed new policies – increasing the number of chaplains on Naval vessels, closing brothels within a five mile radius of U.S. bases and, notably, banning the consumption of alcohol.
He then replaced the alcohol rations with coffee rations.
The sailors took to wandering around ships and naval bases muttering “Cup of Josephus”, later shortened to “Cup of Joe,” unenthusiastically as they sipped what probably tasted like pig swill.
Not a vibe.
You deserve better. We all deserve better. Down with Joe’s filth.
To ensure maximum quality, I recommend heading on over to Terbodore Coffee Roasters to get your hands on some perfectly roasted ‘third wave’ perk.
They ship nationwide for a flat fee of R60, and the online shop covers the lot:
There is also a range of equipment on offer, from coffee makers through to frothing jugs and everything in between.
Leave the average for Joe.
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