Western movies often feature a classic coffee pot on the campfire. Wouldn’t coffee be a luxury only affordable to the wealthy since it

Western movies often feature a classic coffee pot on the campfire. Wouldn’t coffee be a luxury only affordable to the wealthy since it would be imported?

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  1. Western movies often feature a classic coffee pot on the campfire. Wouldn’t coffee be a luxury only affordable to the wealthy since it

    Coffee was not outrageously expensive in the 19th century. One Pound of Roasted Coffee Cost between 20 and 35 cents from 1800 to 1869 and rarely $1 ($1 = $17.60 today). Green beans were about 60% of this price, but one burned bean could ruin a batch. By way of comparison, the average price of a single cup of coffee in the USA across all restaurant categories (quick and full-service) is $2.99 , compared to Starbucks where customers pay between $1.95 and $2.15 for a tall (12-ounce) brewed coffee, depending on location. Given two tablespoons of grounds, you may get 24 to 46 cups of coffee per pound of beans depending on strength (approx. $50 to $100 per pound today). The optimum amount of coffee is 1-2 tablespoons of coffee grounds / 6 ounces of water. How Many Cups of Coffee in a Pound of Beans? | Barista’s Choice
    In the early nineteenth century, the availability of good water rather than the price of coffee restricted its use. There were just too many possible alternatives (essentially teas, roots, and herbs). Coffee was more in demand than alcohol, but a pound of beans made a lot of coffee. Library Guides: Prices and Wages by Decade: 1800s

    Western movies often feature a classic coffee pot on the campfire. Wouldn’t coffee be a luxury only affordable to the wealthy since it

    In 1832, President Andrew Jackson replaced the army’s rations of alcohol with coffee, making it the only officially caffeinated army in the world. The federal quartermasters made it a practice of buying the best coffee beans available and those were issued to troops in either green or roasted form. The daily camp rations were generally, 10 pounds of green coffee, or eight pounds of roasted and ground per 100 soldiers. The marching ration was much diminished. With an average of 36 pounds of coffee issued annually to each Union soldier, federal troops consumed coffee at an unprecedented rate. The seemingly insignificant act of boiling water for coffee purified it and helped stem the spread of dysentery.

    Western movies often feature a classic coffee pot on the campfire. Wouldn’t coffee be a luxury only affordable to the wealthy since it

    Brazil became the largest producer of coffee in the world by 1852 and it has held that status ever since. The coffee was produced in Brazil by slave labor into the 1880s. At the outbreak of the Civil War, the United States imported over 182 million pounds of coffee, mostly through New Orleans. That was about 5 pounds per person per year in the US.

    Western movies often feature a classic coffee pot on the campfire. Wouldn’t coffee be a luxury only affordable to the wealthy since it

    Arbuckle’s Coffee – True West Magazine
    The U.S. Christian Commission made the rounds of the Federal camps with “coffee wagons” made from old artillery limbers nicknamed by the troops “the Christian Light Artillery.” The coffee wagon was provided with compartments for ingredients and three large coffee boilers that could produce ninety gallons of coffee every hour. Nonetheless, federal soldiers were very concerned lest they somehow be deprived of even the smallest part of this coffee and sugar allowance, and steps were taken to ensure that favoritism in apportioning the ration was thwarted. The appropriate amount having been issued on a company level, the orderly sergeant would place a gum blanket on the ground and make as many piles of coffee beans and sugar as there were men to receive the ration. Great care was taken to ensure that the piles were uniform. To prevent any charge of unfairness, the sergeant would turn his back, and an assistant would point to a pile randomly and then the name of the soldier would be read. The veteran soon learned to place both the sugar and the coffee together in a cloth bag and scoop out the two together without ceremony, but some men preferred to keep them separate and use each in proportion to their taste.
    While chicory was the preferred alternate to real coffee for Southern troops, all sorts of things were tried including roasted bread crusts, rye grain, barley, beans, beets, bran, chestnuts, corn meal cotton seeds, dandelion, okra seeds, sweet potatoes, peas, peanuts, persimmons, rice, rye sorghum molasses, sugar cane seeds, watermelon seeds and wheat berries were parched, dried, browned or roasted to make a drinkable beverage. One of the most common alternatives was acorns, which were parched, roasted in butter and ground. Peanut coffee called for 1/2-cup peanuts, 1/2-cup wheat or rye and 1/2-cup cow peas. The beans were roasted to a coffee brown and then ground.
    A Gentlemen’s Guide to Style and Self-Defense in the Old American West

  2. Mexico (where many of these western scenes are supposed to be playing out) has been a producer of coffee for quite some time and coffee beans are no harder to transport than regular beans most cowboys had for breakfast also.
    So “importing” coffee basically meant bringing it up from Mexico. There were regular wagon treks from Mexico City all the way to Santa Fe, the fabled Camino Real. This road intersected the U.S. East-West traffic at El Paso after Texas was seized by force from Mexico and lots of the “Wild West” became part of the United States. El Paso has always been a trading city, there is not much going on there to warrant a city of its size.
    Coffee as a beverage makes lots of sense. Maybe your water source is not all that trustworthy, boiling it at least sanitizes it. Throwing a few grinds or even whole beans (cafe de la olla) and some cinnamon for good measure into that boiling water allows you to drink it while still hot and gets you going.
    Finally, coffee may be expensive at Starbucks, but that is why Starbucks is a hoax, just in business to fleece your bank account. They do that very same thing here in Switzerland in every coffee shop, charging the equivalent of 4 dollars for half the amount you get from the siren.
    I let you in on a little secret:
    A cup of coffee from choice, organic and fairtrade coffee beans (100% Arabica) in Switzerland costs 5 cents to make at home. Today. Hardly a luxury!
    My in-laws in N…

  3. Western movies often feature a classic coffee pot on the campfire. Wouldn’t coffee be a luxury only affordable to the wealthy since it

    A shot of modern barley espresso
    In first place, that pot of coffee could also be the difference between satisfying your thirst and ending up with cholera or other intestinal diseases. Coffee requires water to be boiled, thus sterilizing it. I bet that in reality people would alternate coffee with other brews: some would nonetheless drink tea (although that was quite unpatriotic) or infusions made with other herbs. Besides, on top of coffee being relatively cheap (cheaper than in Europe), those who could hardly afford it would make ersatz coffee with a number of ingredients, like toasted barley (not bad, I drink it occasionally) or roasted dendelion root being two common options. These could be used alone or mixed with some coffee, leaving a pure coffee brew for special occasions.

  4. “Western movies often feature a classic coffee pot on the campfire. Wouldn’t coffee be a luxury only affordable to the wealthy since it would be imported?”
    I remember the coffee pot as a part of the pioneer cabins we saw on school field trips. That same question was asked.
    Coffee beans are one of the most traded items in the world. They were ground by hand and brewed again and again until they gave no flavor whatsoever.
    Today we can afford to brew coffee once and throw it out. My grand parents were adults during the Great Depression when my parents were small children. I remember my grand parents using coffee at least twice even though by the time I was born they could afford to only use it once.
    A century father back and that coffee was boiled again and again to extract every possible bit of flavor. Like a dog gnawing on a bone.

  5. Based upon innumerable movie scenes, I would say that the only purpose served by the coffee in the pot was to estinguish the fire once it was time to move on. So it didn’t need to be even a passable coffee, and could be very cheap.

    Eight O’Clock

  6. A drink made from chicory was often used as a less-expensive coffee substitute. Also, when fresh pots were made throughout the day,
    the new coffee or chicory grounds were added to the old, creating a revolting sludge-like substance.

    Victor Allen’s

  7. In the 19th century coffee, though imported, became unexpensive and easily affordable throughout the world.
    Coffee, usually coffee with milk, became, (along with tea in some countries) a cheap substitute for a breakfast soup. It is still preserved in the culinary customs of Italy, where coffe with milk is regarded rather a food, not drink, and consumed exclusively in the morning. Even more in France, where they often take for breakfast a large bowl of coffee with milk, in which they dip their bread, like in a soup. (BTW the noun “soup” derives from Old French “soupe”, a sop, a piece of bread soaked in broth, or a broth itself).

    Western movies often feature a classic coffee pot on the campfire. Wouldn’t coffee be a luxury only affordable to the wealthy since it

    A French breakfast – coffe with milk and a croissant.
    For the cowboys on their trail a small light bag with the coffe beans was guarantee that they would have on every stop an easy to prepare, hot and invigorating, drink every morning.

  8. Cow camp ran on coffee and biscuits. The one thing every young cowhand counted on after riding drag all day was the knowledge a cup of hot coffee waited for him at the chuckwagon.
    Coffee was as much a cowboy’s outfit as his saddle and rope, hat and boots. In pay of thirty dollars a month and found, coffee was part of found.

  9. Looks like it was plentiful enough to not be very pricey. According to TRUE WEST Magazine:
    Many diaries and letters confirm the importance of coffee to Western pioneers. Josiah Gregg, a trader who made eight trips to the West in the 1830s, marveled at the pioneers’ love of coffee. “The insatiable appetite acquired by travellers upon the Prairies is almost incredible, and the quantity of coffee drank is still more so,” he wrote. “It is an unfailing and apparently indispensable beverage, served at every meal.” Cavalry Lt. William H.C. Whiting wrote that coffee and tobacco were indispensable to the frontiersman. “Give him coffee and tobacco, and he will endure any privation, suffer any hardship.” Julia Brier, one of the first people to cross Death Valley, said, “Our coffee was a wonderful help and had that given out, I know we should have died.”
    From other sources: James Folger brought coffee for sale to gold prospectors around the West Coast in the 1850’s — I think it was grounds rather than beans. And John Arbuckle shipped coffee beans from the Northeast down to Texas and the Southwest beginning in the 1860’s. His gimmick was to pre-roast the beans before packaging; previously, the drinkers had to roast the green coffee beans themselves.
    And the coffee pots might be a Hollywood mistake — true “cowboy coffee” should be brewed in a frying pan. Try it sometime — there are plenty of recipes online!

  10. Just looking at the difference now, a cup of coffee in a restaurant may run a couple dollars, at Starbucks or other coffee house, about $2. One cup. But at home, say the coffee is $9 a pound (for the sake of calculating) for ground beans in a bag – considered more premium brands. One pound can give you anywhere from 30 to 40 8 oz. cups of coffee depending on how strong you make it. So that makes it a premium coffee at 30 cents for a cup. Now, if you buy coffee that’s a more commercial brand in a container, the price goes to about half of that. So, at home, brewing your own coffee, you may spend anywhere from 15 to 50 cents for a cup of coffee, for every type of coffee. Most everybody can afford that.
    Now, in the Old West, coffee was in great demand and very popular. It was served at every meal. And the way it was made on the trail was to reuse the grounds repeatedly. So they didn’t make just one pot, they made it over and over again, adding some fresh grounds to the old. And often a sprinkle of salt to help freshen the taste. Coffee then was strong. It had to be, it kept them awake and alert, was an invigorating drink. And because it was in such common use, it was purchased in quantity. There were no novelty coffees, there was just coffee, and it was not a luxury, it was as common as flour in a household.

  11. Keeping a pot on the heat all day, like Americans seem to do is a recipe for burnt horrid coffee. Best to have fresh made coffee for the best flavour. I refer you to Jean Reno in Godzilla

  12. You should research this, it is scary/fascinating. I mean you will be totally grossed out but cannot stop reading about it. Hot oatmeal and coffee, maybe with a little bacon was a standard breakfast for mill workers in New England during the late colonial period, early industrial revolution. What they ate on whaling ships wasn’t any better. Nutritional science has come a Long way in the last 200 years.
    What the poor had to eat in Dicken’s London is really scary!

  13. Back in the day,almost all of the tea and coffee in the world posted through London. Coffee was much more profitable than tea, so we exported it around the world (including the US) and kept the cheap tea for ourselves.
    Thank you. We appreciate the profit.


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