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Where does the term "cup of joe" come from?

16:45 Tue 01st Mar 2011 |

Java. Mud. Jamoke. Mojo. Coffee has plenty of interesting names, but where do they all come from? One of the most widely used terms for a cup of coffee is a "Cup of Joe", but no one truly knows where the name came from.

One theory suggests that the nickname somes from an 1860 song by Stephen Collins Foster, "Old Black Joe." The American Heritage Dictionary seems to agree. However an examination of the lyrics results in no mention of the delicious morning beverage.

Another theory originates from a time when the U.S. Navy used to serve alcoholic beverages on board ships. However, when Admiral Josephus "Joe" Daniels became Chief of Naval Operations, he outlawed alcohol onboard ships, except for very special occasions. Coffee then became the beverage of choice, hence the term "Cup of Joe."

Like many of these phrases, tracing back to the origin is extremely difficult, but nevertheless it can bring up many weird an interesting stories.

If you're interested in the origins of phrases and sayings, visit Phrases & Sayings in The AnswerBank.


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