Tabsir Redux: Mocha Musings #1: Mecca and Arabia
Until the last year of the American civil war, coffee was green; a mocha hound had to roast his or her own. In 1865 John and Charles Arbuckle of Pittsburgh figured out how to roast coffee beans with a glaze and package them. As it turns out, whether or not there was law west of the Pecos, there sure were lots of coffee beans:
Arbuckles’ Ariosa (air-ee-o-sa) Coffee packages bore a yellow label with the name ARBUCKLES’ in large red letters across the front, beneath which flew a Flying Angel trademark over the words ARIOSA COFFEE in black letters. Shipped all over the country in sturdy wooden crates, one hundred packages to a crate, ARBUCKLES’ ARIOSA COFFEE became so dominant, particularly in the west, that many Cowboys were not aware there was any other kind. Keen marketing minds, the Arbuckle Brothers printed signature coupons on the bags of coffee redeemable for all manner of notions including handkerchiefs, razors, scissors, and wedding rings. To sweeten the deal, each package of ARBUCKLES’ contained a stick of peppermint candy. Due to the demands on chuck wagon cooks to keep a ready supply of hot ARBUCKLES’ on hand around the campfire, the peppermint stick became a means by which the steady coffee supply was ground. Upon hearing the cook’s call, “Who wants the candy?” some of the toughest Cowboys on the trail were known to vie for the opportunity of manning the coffee grinder in exchange for satisfying a sweet tooth.
While sorting through a bevy of late 19th century advertising cards and magazine illustrations collected by my great, great aunt in several yellowing albums, I came across several for the Middle East that were published for Arbuckle’s coffee.