Why Is Coffee Called Joe? – The Story, The History & The Myth

One of the most relatable sweet experiences is when we wake up in the morning with the ever-so-wonderful aroma of something strong brewing in the kitchen. That ever so familiar smell of something rich and hearty.

Yes, I’m talking about the smell of a freshly brewed pot of coffee. It can bring us to life and lift us right out of bed. But have you ever wondered why is coffee called Joe or a cup of Joe? It’s a pretty common name, but how did it get its start as the moniker for everyone’s favorite morning drink? Well, we are going to talk about it!! Have you sat down for the story with a big cup of Joe? Or, how about with a hot mug of java? Believe it or not, there is actually a pretty interesting history behind it! Keep reading to learn more.

Now, we are all aware of the fact that coffee is a beloved drink of millions of people around the planet earth. It is so loved that it has created all kinds of endearing nicknames. Two of the most common them are “Joe” or “cup of Joe” and “Java”. So how did coffee come to be known by Joe?

why is coffee called a cup of joe

There are several theories behind this dramatic nickname of coffee.

Shortly and most commonly, the answer to the question “why is coffee called Joe?” is, a person named Josephus Daniels, who was also known as Joe Daniels. The claim is that, because of United States Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and his actions during his reign, coffee is got its reference as a “cup of Joe” or “Joe”.

Why Is Coffee Called Joe? – The Theories

The Joe Daniels Theory

United States Secretary of Navy Josephus Daniels or Joe Daniels (1862 May 18 – 1948 January 15) was chosen Secretary of the United States Navy by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Among his revamps of the Navy was inaugurating the tradition of making 100 Sailors from the Fleet entitled for entrance into the US Naval Academy. The commencement of women into the service. And, the abolishment of the navy officers’ wine mess during World War One.

From that time on, the strongest available drink aboard Navy ships could only be coffee. Which led to the serge of coffee consumption by naval men. The sailors in response christened their mugs of java “cups of joe” as a sorrowful recognition to the man who had forbidden their hooch and forced them into only drinking coffee. So, over the years, a cup of coffee became known as “a cup of Joe” or just “Joe”.

why coffee is called joe

The Jamoke Theory

Historians, however, have thrown cold water on the Joe Daniels theory. As for the starters, alcohol was not amply available on U.S. Navy ships prior to that exact ban. Truthfully, the question “why is coffee called a cup of joe?” has no lucid answer. So, the ban would have had very little, if there was any, practical effect. Hence, experts concluded that the Josephus Daniels story probably isn’t true.

Historians, more importantly, claim that the “cup of joe” phrase did not first enter the English language until around 1930. The term “cup of Joe” only appeared in writing for the first time in 1930, a time which was long after the Navy’s ban on alcohol.

A much likelier thesis is based on linguistics. Linguists support and believe it came into being at that time as a result of the corruption of another epithet common at that time – Jamoke. Nicknames Java and Mocha, Jamoke was itself a word combination of those two. Jamoke began as a nickname for coffee around the 19th century. Experts believe that Jamoke has bastardized from “a cup of jamoke” to become a shortened form of “a cup of Joe.” Because it is actually natural for any slang names to shorten over the years.

The Average Joe Theory

It all began on the ancient Ethiopian plateau. When a goat herder realized his goats eating a certain berry. Which made them so energetic, they could not sleep at night. My fellow coffee lovers whoever had coffee after 3 p.m….. all of you can relate. Later, the local monks found that these types of berries allowed them to stay alert for long hours of invocation.

So, coffee eventually began spreading to the Arabian Peninsula and then to Europe. Then through colonization parts of Asia, the Caribbean, and then the Americas. Where it was cultivated by the enslaved peoples.

The Average Joe theory is based on the meaning of the word “Joe”. In slang, as in “He is just an average Joe.” The word Joe here indicates the common man on the street. A guy, a fellow, your neighbor who every Saturday at 8 a.m. mows the grass on his lawn. You bet! We wish he didn’t drink any coffee. A cup of Joe is a way of saying “the common man’s drink” therefore. Maybe that is why all of us coffee lovers have such things in common.

“why is coffee referred to as joe?” this inquiry may not own a conclusive retort. But at least now we know whom to thank for our daily cup of coffee. That Ethiopian goat herder, even if his name, is not Joe. The history of coffee is fascinating and long. But it has passed down through hundreds of years without a Joe in eyesight.

Some Slang Terms For Coffee

  1. Cup of Joe
  2. Java
  3. Dirt
  4. Mud
  5. Brew
  6. Cuppa
  7. Go Juice
  8. Brain Juice
  9. Jitter Juice
  10. Bean Juice
  11. High Octane
  12. Morning Jolt
  13. Wakey Juice
  14. Liquid Energy
  15. Cupped Lighting
  16. Caffeine Infusion
  17. Unleaded and Leaded
  18. Rocket Fuel (a version of strong Coffee)
  19. Worm Dirt (a really strong version of coffee)
  20. C8H10N4O2 (Caffeine Molecule)

Coffee VS. Energy Drink Debate

Compared to coffee, energy drinks are often cast in a negative light. Coffee is tolerated, while energy drinks are prohibited from most school campuses.

Energy drink fans will argue that an ounce of an energy drink contains 10mg of caffeine whereas an ounce of coffee has 18mg.

It is important to remember, however, that caffeine amount is not the only factor to consider. A Monster energy drink, for example, is known to carry 54 grams of sugar which is almost equal to 13.5 teaspoons. Along with other elements such as dyes and amino acids.

Additionally, the effects of coffee have been researched more extensively than all of the other energy drinks. Also important to note is that coffee is typically sipped. But energy drinks are consumed way quicker. That means the caffeine’s effects hit quicker for the drinker.

Argument For Coffee

  • Firstly, coffee is natural to drink. It has little to no preservatives or additives depending on the brand. Coffee also has healthy nutritional elements such as vitamins B2 and B5, magnesium, potassium, and niacin. Coffee also has no calories
  • Coffee can be weakened or strengthened according to users’ tastes. This means you have more checks over how you like your coffee drink to taste as well as how strong you want your coffee brew to be
  • Also, it is important to remember that when you buy your packet of coffee, you can decide exactly how much of that packet you want to spout into your cup, as well as what other ingredients you want to include. If you want to curb your sugar intake, you do not have to add it to your cup of coffee. With energy drinks, any additives and sugar are already included. So you have no option but to ingest them
  • What is also great is that, because you can decide in each serving how much coffee to use, you can save coffee, since you are using less in each pot or cup. This formula will save you money at the end of the day

Argument For Energy Drinks

Energy drinks have become progressively popular in recent years, despite coffee being around for way much longer. Why are the reasons?

  • Firstly, energy drinks issued a high dosage of energy in a shorter time span. It is also easier to drink them anywhere and do so fast. On the other hand, coffee is typically a much more social drink. Rather than guzzled down, coffee is sipped. Because it is served hot, you have to wait for it to get cooler a bit before drinking it and receiving more power
  • Because of delivering such a high and rapid dose of energy, it is crucial to remember that while energy drinks may look like a more appropriate way to gain a quick burst of energy, they can also push you to suffer from an extreme sugar crash. As soon as the upshots of an energy drink wear off, you may begin to feel more drained than ever
  • Also, energy drinks have high amounts of preservatives, additives, sugar, flavorings, and even dyes. With so many perturbed issues, energy drinks may be worse for you than a cup of Joe


Today, coffee is fortunately available all over the world with fair trade growing practices from about long eighty countries. We have gathered up all there is to the mystery behind how did coffee get the name joe. We hope you enjoyed this read with your Joe today.

Enjoy Your Coffee!

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