Coffee has enjoyed a long and rich history of being one of the most popular beverages in the world. Some of the oldest records of coffee production date back to ancient Africa, Persia and Egypt, in a day and age where local growers took great pride in the quality of coffee beans they produced. We say that to say that coffee is neither uniquely American nor anything new. It has been a worldwide commodity for centuries. As for the U.S., it has been an enduring staple of the office since the end of World War II.
There are plenty of explanations for the office coffee phenomenon; most are rooted in some sort historical perspective while others simply cite America’s inability to get anything done without some sort of stimulation. Let us look at a couple of the possible explanations in more detail.
Rationing like Prohibition
Coffee was not very big in America prior to the Revolutionary war. Being that most of the colonists were of British heritage, tea was the hot beverage of choice in the 13 colonies along the East Coast. The Boston Tea Party changed all of that. The American colonists were so incensed by Britain’s tea taxes that they began drinking coffee instead. We have not looked back since.
As American coffee consumption grew, so did importation and new ways of roasting. Coffee gained enough popularity to become the hot beverage of choice by the turn of the 19th century. However, the two world wars of the early 20th century resulted in coffee rationing among the general population. In World War II, for example, the average consumer was allowed no more than one cup per day.
Like Prohibition merely increased the thirst for alcohol, coffee rationing made people want it even more. By the time the war ended, everybody wanted coffee. So much so, that coffee became the fuel that ran America’s businesses by the 1950s. That is where we are today.
The Coffee Culture
Another possible explanation, with no relation to the Revolution or the two world wars, boils down to a simple matter of culture. Coffee has always been a drink associated with social discourse, and most of us spend just under one-third of our lives in the workplace. Coffee may be a staple of the American office because it brings a small amount of culture and social interaction to the workplace. Who doesn’t like standing around the coffee machine and enjoying a good conversation at break time?
On the other hand, it really could be that coffee is an enduring staple in the American office because we just cannot get by without several jolts of caffeine throughout the day. Maybe we really are just hooked. Nonetheless, in the end, does it really matter? Probably not.
Galaxie Coffee knows how important America’s beverage staple is to your office. That is why we provide the greater New York area with the world’s finest coffees, teas and other beverages.