Why Is Coffee Called A Cup Of Joe

Did you ever wonder why coffee's slang is a cup of joe? The phrase has been in use since World War I, it's a marine affair.

As the story goes, secretary Josephus Daniels issued general orders prohibiting alcohol aboard naval vessels leading to more coffee consumption.

Since then, coffee has been the strongest drink of any kind on ships. The probably unhappy, sober sailors were not happy with the changes, so they began calling coffee 'a cup of Joe.'

Joe's short to Joseph. A cup of coffee has soon been shortened to a 'cup of Joe,' which is disgraceful to call a 'cup of Joseph Daniels.'

"Their coffee shopping has become a substitute," writes Lee Craig in the new book, "when the name of Daniels is linked to the daily consumption of the world's million cups of coffee, soon became misleadingly known by legend as a 'Josef Daniels' cup,' which was soon shortened to a 'cup of Joe.'

  • Drink of the Common Man . . . the second theory is about a common slang on the name "Joe".  The first use of "Joe" appeared in around 1846 in English. Therefore, Joe's cup is the drink of the common man.

Then, what is the 'Cup of Joe' coming from? It really does not matter. The key is that coffee is the world's most popular beverage and consumes over a billion cups each day.

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By: Douglas


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OCM was started in 2007, focusing first on coffee machines, then marketing for coffee and food and beverage companies. Check out this restaurant marketing guide to learn more about the many campaigns and companies we have worked with. 

OCM has also created many marketing workshops and classes for the F&B industry. Many of the modules are running in the Singapore Skillsfuture Classes in tertiary institutions such as Temasek Polytechnic Skillsfuture Academy and also ITE College East COC classes. 

For the readers (coffee lovers), we continue to share coffee articles (and videos) and have also started a free coffee class section (with free online coffee training supported by coffee partners). 

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