Explained: Who is Joe From Cup of Joe?


what is morning cup of joe
The Waka Life Blog

Explained: Who is Joe From Cup of Joe?

A cup of joe is a pretty common way to refer to a cup of coffee, but why do we call it that and where did it come from?

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Coffee is one of the most beloved beverages around the world. The unconditional love people have with their coffee created many nicknames to the delicious hot (or cold) caffeinated drink. Two of the most common nicknames are “java" and “cup of joe." While "java" is pretty straitghforward and refers to the region where the earliest coffee plantations were established in Indonesia, "cup of joe" is more of a mystery.

The cup of joe idiom has been around and used in everyday language since the the 18th century. Some say that it originated specifically during World War 1 era, but others believe the term wasn’t in use until a little later during the 1930s. 

There are several theories of how the phrase “cup of joe” came to be. One explanation is that during World War 1, Josephus Daniels, Secretary to the Navy, started banning alcohol on naval ships in order to have higher moral standards for the Navy. Because of this, sailors started drinking more coffee instead of alcohol and nicknamed the drink “cup of joe” after Josephus Daniels, out of anger.

what is the meaning behind cup of jow

Another explanation is that the word “joe” is a shortened word coming from “jamoke.” Jamoke is a coined slang word that combines the word “java” and “mocha.” with java being another word for coffee. Many believe that over time, the word became shortened to just “joe.”

The third theory is actually related to instant coffee! It is believed that during WWI, when instant coffee was very popular among US soldiers, they referred to it as "cup of George." The reason dates back to the history of instant coffee when the Belgian-American businessman, George Constant Louis Washington, invented the first mass-produced instant coffee. He founded the New York based G. Washington Coffee Company in 1910 to manufacture and sell his newly invented product. The company became an important military supplier during WWI as American soldiers took their cup of joe with them to the battlefield. As you probably guess by now, a common abbreviation of the name "George" is "Geo." and it might have mistakenly read as "Joe."

George Washington had a great impact on the instant coffee industry.

So... who is Joe?

Now you must be wondering, who is joe? And why is it a cup of joe and not a cup of Kevin or Amanda? Sorry to burst your bubble, but the word joe doesn’t represent a specific person or is talking about all the Joes around the world. The last theory or explanation for the phrase is that “joe” is a slang word for ordinary person or common man. So it is believed that “cup of joe” became a saying because coffee is a drink for the average person.

cup of joe meaning

So which theory do you think is the most plausible for the phrase “a cup of joe“? And how often do you use the idiom to refer to a cup of coffee? While coffee may be a drink for the common man, the drink itself isn’t so basic. 


Have you tried Waka Coffee's cup of joe? Try it here.


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