Josep Balounek Coffee Advertisement

When Coffee Ads Were Cool

Before there was Starbucks, before there was Dunkin', there were these beauties. . .

While the Boston Tea Party in 1773 was a watershed event for coffee consumption — with Colonists beginning to bag their tea consumption in favor of java — 1652 actually marked an even bigger event: The first printed advertisement for coffee in English, a modest handbill from London's earliest coffee house. In the intervening years, ads for coffee became design events in their own right. Here, some standouts . . . and, as a bonus, a few lines from that very first ad, complete with olde-schoole spellings and punctuation.

Camp Instant Coffee, 1920 Popperfoto Camp Instant Coffee, 1920 A line from that first coffee advert: "It is a simple innocent thing, composed into a Drink, by being dryed in an Oven, and ground to Powder, and boiled up with Spring water, and about half a pint of it to be drunk, fasting an hour before, and not Eating an hour after, and to be taken as hot as possibly can be endured". Rajah Coffee, 1897 Heritage Images Rajah Coffee, 1897 A line from that first coffee advert: "The Grain or Berry called Coffee, groweth upon little Trees, only in the Deserts of Arabia." Ideal Milch, circa 1930 ullstein bild Ideal Milch, circa 1930 A line from that first coffee advert: "The Turks drink at meals and other times, is usually Water, and their Dyet consists much of Fruit, the Crudities whereof are very much corrected by this Drink." Josef Balounek Coffee, date unknown Found Image Holdings Inc Josef Balounek Coffee, date unknown A line from that first coffee advert: "The quality of this Drink is cold and Dry; and though it be a Dryer, yet It neither heats, nor inflames more then hot Posset." Victoria Arduino espresso maker, circa 1905-1920 DEA / A. DAGLI ORTI Victoria Arduino espresso maker, circa 1905-1920 A line from that first coffee advert: "It so closeth the Orifice of the Stomack, and fortifies the heat within, that it's very good to help digestion, and therefore of great use to be taken about 3 or 4 a Clock afternoon, as well as in the morning." Blue Moon Coffee, by W. L. Allen Company, St Louis, Missouri, circa 1920 Found Image Holdings Inc Blue Moon Coffee, by W. L. Allen Company, St Louis, Missouri, circa 1920 A line from that first coffee advert: "It much quickens the Spirits, and makes the Heart Lightsome." Collas Coffee, 1927 Fine Art Collas Coffee, 1927 A line from that first coffee advert: "It is good against sore Eys, and the better if you hold your Head over it, and take in the Steem that way." Moran's Java Blend, circa 1880s Transcendental Graphics Moran's Java Blend, circa 1880s A line from that first coffee advert: "It suppresseth Fumes exceedingly, and therefore good against the Head-ach." Panama Coffee, date unknown Found Image Holdings Inc Panama Coffee, date unknown A line from that first coffee advert: "[It] will very much stop any Defluxion of Rheums, that distil from the Head upon the Stomack, and so prevent and help Consumptions; and the Cough of the Lungs." Mason's Essence of Coffee and Chicory, circa 1900-1920 Heritage Images Mason's Essence of Coffee and Chicory, circa 1900-1920 A line from that first coffee advert: "It is excellent to prevent and cure the Dropsy, Gout, and Scurvy." Cafe Du Bresil, circa 1900 Popperfoto Cafe Du Bresil, circa 1900 A line from that first coffee advert: "It is known by experience to be better than any other Drying Drink for People in years, or Children that have any running humors upon them, as the Kings Evil." Camp Coffee, circa 1920 Bob Thomas/Popperfoto Camp Coffee, circa 1920 A line from that first coffee advert: "It is very good to prevent Mis-carryings in Child-bearing Women." Moran's Java Blend, circa 1880s Transcendental Graphics Moran's Java Blend, circa 1880s A line from that first coffee advert: "It is a most excellent Remedy against the Spleen, Hypocondriack Winds, or the like." Wood's "Acme" Coffees, circa 1885 Transcendental Graphics Wood's "Acme" Coffees, circa 1885 A line from that first coffee advert: "It will prevent Drowsiness, and make one fit for business, if one have occasion to Watch." Ozama Coffee, circa 1880 Transcendental Graphics Ozama Coffee, circa 1880 A line from that first coffee advert: "Therefore you are not to Drink of it after Supper, unless you intend to be watchful, for it will hinder sleep for 3 or 4 hours." Rajah Coffee, 1899 Heritage Images Rajah Coffee, 1899 A line from that first coffee advert: "It is observed that in Turkey, where this is generally drunk, that they are not trobled with the Stone, Gout, Dropsie, or Scurvey, and that their Skins are exceedingly cleer and white." Standard Coffee, circa 1862 Buyenlarge Standard Coffee, circa 1862 A line from that first coffee advert: "It is neither Laxative nor Restringent." Uncle Bill's Best Quality Hotel Special Coffee, circa 1930-1940 Found Image Holdings Inc Uncle Bill's Best Quality Hotel Special Coffee, circa 1930-1940 A line from that first coffee advert: "Made and sold in St. Michaels Alley in Cornhill, by Pasqua Rosée, at the Signe of his own Head."