Coffee was first brought into America in 1733 by what was known as the Boston Party in 1773, this is when the coffee culture of America was changed, forever. The demand for coffee in America, following the revolt against King George II which generated a noticeable switch from tea to coffee amongst the colonists, cultivated the expansion of American coffee.
By the early 18th century, coffee had become one of the world’s largest profitable commodities. The consumption of American coffee increased, and this was especially prevalent during the Civil War, this was followed by savvy businessmen seeing coffee as a money-maker and therefore became involved with selling it. Among some of the most famous American coffee, sellers are the Pittsburgh-born brothers known as John and Charles Arbuckle. The brothers began selling pre-roasted American coffee to cowboys in the west. Another of the American coffee sellers at the time was known as James Folger, his selling of American coffee was to gold miners in California. Other large coffee house brands such as Maxwell House and Hills Brothers were also among the successful coffee sellers. The selling of coffee during the post-Civil War era was the advance America needed to introduce the birth of coffee crops and a culture that has been sustained for centuries.
In today’s society, American coffee culture is still going, a small movement that started small, with independently owned coffee shops which are turning coffee into something of an art form. These small local coffee shops use sustainable, fair trade, and locally roasted beans. American culture is just as much about the flavour of the coffee, as it is about how it is grown, where it is roasted and how it is brewed.
The coffee culture that is associated with American coffee is one of speed and quantity, rather than other coffee cultures, such as Italy, where coffee is about relaxation and enjoyment. It has been estimated that Americans drink an average of three 9oz cups of American coffee a day. The association with American coffee and a lifestyle of the need for speed and efficiency is a mirror image of the drive for progress and the trance-like focus on work, and efficacy.
However, the rise of WIFI, remote working, and technology transformed the coffee culture of American society. Cafés are now seen as places to work efficiently with high-speed internet connection. There are many who spend hours in coffee shops, getting their work done, hosting important meetings, and indulging in the efficiency and convenience of ready-to-drink coffee. Unlike the sound of conversation amongst friends, which is present in most coffee shops, in America, coffee shops are more on the quiet side.
The majority of American coffee that is consumed is made with Arabica beans, and usually a medium roast. However, a darker roast is usually used for iced coffees. Many Americans prefer their coffee black, or “cream only”. There are those who also take their coffee with milk and sugar. Syrups and added flavours such as Caramel and the chocolatey flavour of mocha are very popular with American coffee drinkers. Many associate American coffees with a watered-down espresso, however, the coffee has very little to do with the water-to-coffee ratio, and much to do with the way that it is brewed.
During the Second World War, the American soldiers that were stationed in Italy didn’t care much for the taste of their coffee, they deemed it too strong, so added more water to dilute it, which is where the stereotype of the “watered-down” coffee comes from.
The drip-brewed method is the most commonly found around America. This method requires a filter and hot water that is poured over the ground coffee beans. This type of method works perfectly with the medium roast coffee commonly used in America, which is no surprise as to why drip coffee makers are assigned a space in many coffee shops and homes across the country.
As with many countries, coffee is a cultural phenomenon, but with a million Americans drinking coffee every day, whenever they want, it is especially prevalent in American society. No matter where the coffee is made, the most important aspect of American coffee, is how it is brewed.