November 10, 2005

Cup o' Joe

So, I'm 10 days into the no caffeine life. Very odd sometimes. I have this mental craving for Mt. Dew. I was never a huge coffee freak so that's only a mild craving. No cup o' joe for me. Well, not today anyway. I know people that can't survive without it. I'll admit. After being on it, I can certainly understand. But my post today is about the origin of calling coffee Joe.

Java, the American slang word for coffee quite simply is a reference to the island of Java, where coffee beans are grown. The term dates to 1850.

The term joe, also meaning coffee, is of uncertain origin. It is found as early as 1930. The first recorded use is in an underworld slang dictionary. Shortly after that, starting in 1931, there appear a number of uses of the term in US military sources. Joe is most likely an alteration of java. The 1931 Reserve Officer's Manual suggests that the term is derived from a combination of java and mocha.

US Naval folklore has it that the term is from the name of Josephus Daniels, who was secretary of the navy under Woodrow Wilson. Daniels abolished the officers' wine mess and US Navy ships after that were completely dry (the sailors' rum ration had been abolished decades before). Supposedly, US Naval officers started calling their coffee joe because it was the strongest thing that Joe Daniels let them drink on board. There is no real evidence to support this tale though. While some of the early uses are from the US military, the earliest known uses are not.

Another tale is that it is from the Stephen Foster tune Old Black Joe, which was a popular song in the 1880s. But again there is no real evidence. The song is not about coffee, but rather about an old ex-slave named Joe.

9 Comments:

At 5:24 PM, Blogger Annalis said...

A mental craving? For Mt. Dew? :)

 
At 7:55 PM, Blogger Jozee said...

Mt.Dew, the most highly caffeinated
of all the old time sodas. Sickeningly sweet and green. The craving is better left mental.

Never gave the nickname Joe for coffee much thought always thought it referred to the fact that G.I.'s were known as Joe's. Ya know, a stereotype.

Anyway, java's easier to quit than
The Dew.

I'm out - Jo

 
At 9:56 PM, Blogger Chrissie said...

huh... so do you feel better?

I’ve pretty much quit... but it was a carbonation thing for me, i can’t handle carbonated bev anymore. Sometimes I drink ice tea coffee is a little too rough on my stomach so far.

 
At 12:37 AM, Blogger 30Something said...

Well all that info is very helpful.. Cuz I love me some Java, Joe, Coffee and or mocha!

 
At 12:16 PM, Blogger Alice said...

aw, i like the navy version! i am deciding to believe that one because i like it better :-)

 
At 1:06 PM, Blogger Buffalo said...

Hmmmm. I can do without my ration of grog if I put my mind to it. But a day without coffee?

 
At 2:09 PM, Blogger Neonalune said...

Who you calling a coffee freak freak????!!!

Hmmmm...must be time for another cupoholly.

 
At 1:45 PM, Blogger Lil Bit said...

Well, thx for the lil history lesson there. LOL
*goes to fridge for a Diet Mtn Dew*
Yep, I'm hooked. Have been for-frikkin-ever. I figure I'm doing good to have knocked it down from FULL FLAVOR Mtn Dew to diet. So there.
Best of luck w/the caffeine sobriety. Can't do it... gives me too much of a headache. LOL!

 
At 1:34 AM, Blogger McSwain said...

I'm reading you and doin' the dew, all at once. But coffee's all good, too. Intersting history lesson.

 

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