Saturday, 28 March 2009
The stuff that fueled the West
The image of a group of cowboys huddled around a campfire sipping freshly brewed coffee is a familiar one indeed. But in the mid 1800's making a brew was not an easy task - pre ground coffee was almost impossible to get hold off and the Westbound travellers would carry sacks of coffee beans with them.
These green beans weren't ready to use until roasted in a frying pan and then run through an hand held coffee grinder. Then a handful of grounds would be tossed into a pan of water and brought to a boil. As the water cooled, the grounds sank to the bottom.
This time consuming method of making the rocket fuel presented business opportunities for shrewd businessmen such as James Folger in California and John Arbuckle in Texas.
Both men would set up businesses making easily prepared coffee and soon the names of both Folgers and Arbuckle were well known across the West.
Today the five story brick building that housed the Folger empire still exists in San Francisco. It is a listed building and will be preserved for future generations.
John Arbuckle was a millionaire by the early 1890's and had branched out into the sugar business and following his death in 1912 the Arbuckle brand seemed to fade away. But the product can still be purchased today by mail order.
Folgers remains America's favourite way of waking up.