How easy was it to get a cup of coffee in the Old West?

Ask the Marshall Coffee

How easy was it to get a cup of coffee in the Old West?

Stace Webb
Eugene, Oregon

Coffee was ubiquitous in the frontier West. Contrary to popular belief, coffee was more in demand than alcohol, especially after John Arbuckle’s 1864 innovation. Up until then, coffee beans were sold green, and the buyer had to roast them in a skillet. If one bean burned, the batch was ruined.

Arbuckle roasted the coffee beans and sealed in the flavor with an egg and sugar glaze. He then sold the beans in a one-pound bag. Arbuckles’ Ariosa Coffee became the “Coffee that Won the West.”

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone.
If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu

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