Did you know that coffee was called a “cup of George” long before it was called a “cup of Joe”?
During WWI all the coffee output in the United States was requisitioned by the US Army. As a dominant producer at that time, the G. Washington Coffee Refining Company proudly advertised its contribution to the war effort, “G. Washington’s Refined Coffee has gone to WAR.” The following were some of the comments that were received from American soldiers who were fighting in the European trenches and enjoying, as they called it, their “cup of George”, named for the company’s owner, George Constant Louis Washington of Brooklyn, NY.
“I am very happy despite the rats, the rain, the mud, the draughts [sic], the roar of the cannon and the scream of shells. It takes only a minute to light my little oil heater and make some George Washington Coffee…. Every night I offer up a special petition to the health and well-being of [Mr. Washington].”
“There is one gentleman I am going to look up first after I get through helping whip the Kaiser, and that is George Washington, of Brooklyn, the soldiers’ friend.”
The doughboys frequently called for a “cup of George” rather than coffee. (Excerpted from Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast)
We know these two facts. The name George is often shortened to “Geo.” and there’s no written record of the term “cup of Joe” until after 1930. Coffee’s “cup of George” got started during WWI, long before it was referred to as “Joe”. Is this where “cup of Joe” originated? It makes a lot of sense. Check it out on Wiktionary!
Coffee is a big part of the mornings at George Washington Inn. The inn has acquired a Dietrich coffee roaster and the owner has taken up the art of coffee roasting. Every morning guests can enjoy a fresh “cup of George” on the spacious piazza as the sun comes up and ships sail past on their way out to sea.