The Coffee That Won The West
Up until the close of the Civil war, coffee was sold green. It had to be roasted on a wood stove or in a skillet over a campfire before it could be ground and brewed. One burned bean ruined it all; there was no consistency. In 1865 John Arbuckle and his brother Charles, partners in a Pittsburgh grocery business, changed all this by patenting a process for roasting and coating coffee beans with an egg and sugar glaze to seal in the flavor and aroma.
Marketed under the name Arbuckles’ Ariosa Coffee, in patented airtight, one pound packages, the new coffee was an instant success with the chuck wagon cooks in the west, faced with the task of keeping Cowboys supplied with plenty of hot coffee out on the range.
Arbuckles’ Ariosa 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.
A directive issued by the Commissary General of Subsistence to Army cooks during the Indian wars:
“The presence of wormholes in coffee should not occasion its rejection unless it is of inferior quality and strength, since they generally indicate age, weigh nothing, and disappear when the coffee is ground.”
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 ready supplies of hot Arbuckles’ on hand around the campfire, the peppermint stick became a means by which that 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 die for the opportunity of manning the coffee grinder in exchange for satisfying a sweet tooth.
Today thanks to the folks at Arbuckle,the Cowboys’ favorite, Arbuckles’ Ariosa Coffee, is available once more. Complete with the original Flying Angel trademark, the one pound packages of rich beans are every inch the full-bodied, aromatic coffee you’d expect from the likes of Arbuckles’. There’s even a piece of peppermint inside.
No longer just a fond memory for a dwindling breed of old-time cowmen, Arbuckles’ Ariosa Coffee is back and as good as ever!
Brew up a pot of Arbuckles’ partner, and enjoy the sunrise!
Whole Bean or Ground Coffee – $16.95 a pound