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Wild West Cowboy Facts

Arbuckle's Coffee


Cowboy's First Coffee.  When a cowboy had his Arbuckle's in hand, he was enjoying a cup of coffee.

The Arbuckle Brothers of Pittsburgh made a mighty fine preroasted bean that was so popular in the Old West that Arbuckle's eventually became interchangeable with the actual word coffee, as in "Don't talk to me in the morning until I have my Arbuckle's." The "recipe" for coffee was generally a handful of coffee in a cup of water.

Up until the close of the Civil war, coffee was sold green. It had to be roasted on a wood stove or in a skillet over a campfire before it could be ground and brewed. A single burned bean could ruin the lot.

In 1865, John Arbuckle and his brother Charles, partners in a Pittsburgh grocery business, changed all this by patenting a process for roasting and coating coffee beans with an egg and sugar glaze to seal in the flavor and aroma.

Marketed under the name Arbuckles' Ariosa Coffee,  in patented airtight, one pound packages, the new coffee was an instant success with the chuck wagon cooks in the west who were faced with the task of keeping Cowboys well fed and supplied with plenty of hot coffee out on the cold range.

Arbuckles' Ariosa Coffee packages bore a yellow label with the name Arbuckles' in large red letters across the front, beneath which flew a Flying Angel Trademark over the words Ariosa Coffee in black letters.

It was shipped all over the country in sturdy wooden crates, one hundred packages to a crate.  Arbuckles' Ariosa Coffee became so dominant, particularly in the west, that many Cowboys were not even aware there was any other kind.

The Arbuckle Brothers knew they had a good thing going.  They printed signature coupons on the bags of coffee redeemable for all manner of items including handkerchiefs, razors, scissors and wedding rings, everything a cowpoke or pioneer might come to need.

To further entice the purchaser, each package of Arbuckles' contained a stick of peppermint candy.   Due to the demands on chuck wagon cooks to keep ready supplies of hot Arbuckles' on hand around the campfire, the peppermint stick became a means by which that steady coffee supply was ground. Upon hearing the cook's call "Who wants the candy?" some of the toughest Cowboys on the trail were known to die for the opportunity of manning the coffee grinder in exchange for satisfying a sweet tooth.

The Cowboys' favorite, Arbuckles' Ariosa Coffee, is available today, complete with the original Flying Angel trademark.  Tthe one pound packages of rich beans remain full-bodied and aromatic.  There's even a piece of peppermint inside.

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