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A Worldly Cup of Joe

In 1914, the story goes something like this… In lieu of drinking banned alcohol, forbidden on Navy vessels by Josephus Daniels (United States Navy Secretary, during World War I), soldiers coined the term for their second place beverage, “Cup of Joe” – aptly named after Josephus. What these soldiers grudgingly drank to ease their pain, has become a commonality amongst all walks of life, all over our world. “A coffee” – whether light & sweet, black & white, or dark - speaks to all of us, at any time of day: morning to jump start a crazy day ahead, an afternoon delight to refocus, or questioning the oxymoron of relaxing with a cup of coffee as a nightcap.

There are many legends about the origins of coffee. Worldwide coffee may trace its heritage to the ancient Ethiopian forest plateaus, abundant with trees that bore special berries. Perhaps, it was cultivation and trade via the Arabian Peninsula, to Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey – at a time when coffee was not only enjoyed in homes, but in coffee houses bursting with social activity and culture, be it music, theatre, or dance. In old Europe, around the 17th century, coffee, once again brought cultures together, improved work performance, and engaged people in lively conversation, which contributed to a stimulated economy.

In the mid-1600s, coffee made its way to the New World, by way of New Amsterdam, soon-after becoming, New York. Coffee did not come to its rightful popularity, though, until after a revolt against Kind George III’s tax on tea, aka “The Boston Tea Party,” when in 1773, colonial drinking inclinations everlastingly reverted to coffee.

With the variety of coffee plantations around the world, popularity for this dark, mysterious elixir permeated all countries and nations. Colonists, traders, travelers, and missionaries carried coffee seeds in their trunks and luggage, establishing plantings on mountains, in forests, and fields. A beautiful, sometimes failed, crop was bestowed to the world.

Our coffee selection at F.H. Gillingham & Sons is a prime example of the feats of these coffee growers, travelers, and such. Waterbury’s Vermont Artisan Coffee, a stellar staple on our shelves, boasts some of the best Arabica beans shipped to Vermont from Central or South America, Africa, and Indonesia. With its signature brown bag, stenciled with Vermont Coffee Company’s brand, this fine offering from collegiate Middlebury is a small-town roaster with big and bold coffee sourced from around the world. Up next, nearby Thetford’s Station House Coffee parlays a railroad-theme-labeled black bag filled with small-batch roasted worldly beans. Magically appearing on our shelves from Cavendish, Abracadabra Coffee brings a coffee roasted with single-origin beans, packed in a rustic muslin drawstring bag adorned with their distinct pyramid logo. Veering a little south of Vermont, we could not resist including the quirky Jailhouse Coffee from Queens, New York, a coffee using Fair Trade, USDA organic Rainforest Alliance KSA kosher certified beans, and perhaps roasted on the site of an old 18th century jailhouse. The bag presentation is certainly a conversation starter! Also check out their biodegradable K-Cups.

We entice you to stop in to our general store, celebrating 130 years of aromas, experiences, memories, good conversation, history, and of course, a world cup of Joe, with our compliments.


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