The Evolution of Office Coffee in America

Having coffee in the office is a normal part of work life in America. In fact, long before coffee houses became a thing in this country, groups of workers were chipping in at the office to make sure there was a regular supply of coffee on hand. Today, not having coffee in the office is rare.

The question is, how did we get here? That depends on who you ask. Historians generally agree on how coffee made it to the Americas and what made it popular here. But what took coffee into the office remains a matter of debate.

Coffee Replaces Tea

Tea was the preferred hot beverage from the birth of the colonies right up until the start of the Revolutionary War. From the end of the revolution through the Civil War, coffee’s popularity grew in the U.S. By the mid-1860s, smart business owners whose coffee sales were limited to families and small coffee houses started looking for bigger and better sales avenues.

Some started selling to cowboys out west while others tapped into California’s mining market. Still, having coffee in the office didn’t quite catch on. The office environment was still quite limited back then, and offices were not large buildings with hundreds of employees. They were one- and two-room spaces occupied by family-run businesses.

Then came the industrial era and two world wars. That is when large-scale employment and the offices that came with it began to flourish. It is when office coffee finally came into its own.

From Instant to Drip Brew

History is pretty clear on the evolution of coffee up through the start of the industrial era. This is where it gets a bit fuzzy. As best we can tell, office coffee became a thing in the years following World War II. That makes sense, given the big push toward industry and manufacturing. But office coffee in those days was instant coffee.

It was not until Starbucks came onto the scene in the 1970s that coffee providers realized they could install brewing equipment in customer offices to offer them the same high-quality technologically advanced equipment experience they got at the coffee house. Once the equipment started flowing, so did the coffee.

By the late 70s and early 80s, instant coffee in the office had been mostly replaced by drip brew. Coffee service providers like Galaxie Coffee started popping up all over the country. Advancements in technology led to better brewers, better coffees, and eventually the coffee pods we are also familiar with today.

Office Coffee is Still Evolving

It would be foolish for us to assume that office coffee is done evolving. It isn’t, and never will be. Our industry continues to innovate and change. We continually search for better beverages and more technologically advanced equipment.

If you are interested in learning about coffee service for your office, feel free to reach out to us. Galaxie Coffee is proud to serve the greater New York area with the finest beverages and best equipment in the industry.