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The Unauthorized Biography of Coffee: 45 Years Of History

Published: September 10, 2021

The Birth Of Folgers Coffee Crystals

Our story begins eons ago, in prehistoric times. A dark and primitive period otherwise referred to in Archeology textbooks as 1975. During this epoch, mankind’s early ancestors with their broad, sloping foreheads and barrel shaped torsos began each day by mixing freeze-dried crystals into hot water, taking a sip, and then declaring it, “Good to the last drop.”

You can visit the coffee museum located on aisle 4 of your local supermarket and view a related artifact – a jar of Folgers coffee crystals. If you’re a “hands-on” adventurous type, you can even buy a jar and make a cup. Your beverage will cost you about a penny an ounce.

Man continued to evolve, and the part of his brain that craved caffeine (the pointy-headed, scientific term for this cranial region is the “Cafinatus-cravotomus”) continued to enlarge. He began purchasing whole coffee beans and then engaging in the arduous task of standing by for 20 seconds while the store’s complimentary grinder ground the beans to his specifications. This further reduced the cost of an ounce of coffee. If you do the math (by carrying the one and then dropping the remainder), the cost per ounce works out to FREE. In fact, the store might even owe you money.

The Birth Of The Coffee Shop


Eventually, this part of the brain overdeveloped, leading coffee consumers to spiral down into insanity. Why, they asked themselves, should we drink our free coffee conveniently in the comfort of our own homes, when we can wait in long lines to order our coffee, then wait for our coffee, and then search desperately for a place to sit and drink our coffee?

Finally, someone stepped forward to meet this pressing need. He created a company which unleashed a salvo of mega-coffee shops throughout the U.S. and beyond. I will refer to this behemoth, which, for legal purposes (and because I don’t want a frustrated Ph.D. in Art History spitting in my “tall” cup of java), as “Wall-bucks.” (Critical disclaimer: I am specifically not referring to, or in any way making fun of, “Starbucks.” Besides, who would ever refer to Starbucks as a “behemoth”?)

Wall-bucks provided two additional advantages. At $1.80 for a 12 ounce house coffee, it allowed you to pay 14 cents per ounce – which is a real steal at only 14 times as much as you could otherwise brew it. And, it also allowed you to enjoy tipping someone a dollar who had gone out of his or her way – sometimes for as long as 10 seconds – to specially prepare your beverage.

Wall-bucks has always reminded me of the theme song to that old sixties sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. The one where Jed was out “shootin’ for some food,” and “up from the ground” came a “bubblin’ crude. Texas tea… liquid gold.” Who could have guessed that liquid gold would turn out to be overpriced coffee?

We here at work to provide our loyal readers with practical information. Information they can utilize in their daily lives (even if it is just to complain to their coworkers at the water fountain that there are no decent humor writers any more). So I journeyed to aisle 4 and purchased a jar of Folgers Crystals.

I took it home and followed the directions: 1. Put a “heaping” spoonful of the crystals into a cup, 2. Add hot water, and 3. Stir. I did this and then, with saliva-dripping anticipation, I took a sip. As a result, I would suggest that Folgers add one last step: Step 4. After stirring, pour this cup of puddle water down the drain and race to the nearest Wall-bucks. I’ll cover your tip.

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About The Author
Jack Edwards
Jack Edwards
Jack Edwards is my pen name. I post my humor columns on my website: I describe myself as, “Just like Dave Barry, but sadly, not as funny.” Please consider subscribing. It’s fun, free and family friendly.
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