When Did Coffee Come to America? A Quick History

When Did Coffee Come to America? A Quick History

Don Pablo Coffee

Coffee was first brought to America by the British during their colonization of the new world in the middle of the 17th century. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that tea was far more popular than coffee in the American colonies’ early days. The well-known love of tea British people have is not a caricature, and up until the American Revolution, tea was the caffeinated drink of choice.

The American Revolution marked a change in culture in the soon-to-be United States, and anything associated with British culture was shunned and replaced. After tea became a symbol of oppression in the colonies, coffee drinking became more popular thanks to the Boston Tea Party in 1773. It was considered un-American to drink tea; coffee was the drink of true patriots.

Once coffee gained a foothold, it never looked back, and the onset of the Civil War in April 1861 sparked a further increase in coffee consumption in America. Coffee was relatively cheap, didn’t spoil quickly, and was universally liked by soldiers.

These factors combined made coffee one of the most popular and widely-consumed beverages by soldiers during the Civil War, giving coffee considerable momentum after the war. When the war ended, life slowly returned to normal, but coffee’s popularity remained sky-high on the backs of soldiers coming home.

Coffee’s American Legacy


As we get further from the beginning of coffee in America, it gets harder to separate fact from fiction. Some tall tales and fictitious stories are part of any culture, and the history of American coffee has a few amusing stories.

Our favorite figure from American coffee history has to be Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy was a famous coffee-lover, and some people claim that he drank upwards of a gallon of coffee per day! We’re no doctors, but we’re pretty sure this is an exaggeration. 

As amusing as this story is, the true legacy of American coffee can be seen in any major city where it’s nearly impossible to walk a block without bumping into a small boutique coffee shop, a large coffee chain, or – most likely – both. Coffee is woven into the very fabric of American society, and despite being the relatively new kids on the block, America is one of the world’s foremost coffee-drinking countries.


Enjoyed this quick history read? Checkout ➡ The Story of the Original Irish Coffee