11th
Dec
2013

Posted in Kafevend Blog

In 1873, an American travelling salesman named Joel Cheek was asked which was the best coffee he sold. Despite answering that it was his most expensive one, in reality he didn't actually know. His curiosity piqued, Cheek spent a few days roasting and trying the various types of coffee he sold, finally deciding that one of the cheaper types was the best. He returned to the grocer who had asked him the question in the first place, and in a triumph of taste over profit, told him why he'd be selling him the cheaper one.

For several years, Cheek fostered a growing passion for coffee, experimenting to see what flavours he could produce. After moving to Nashville in 1884, he met a similarly minded British man named Roger Nolley Smith. The two became good friends and worked together creating coffee. In 1892, after working on producing a 'perfect blend', Cheek gave the Maxwell House hotel twenty pounds of his coffee for free. The hotel had to ask him to sell them more within a few days, as their patrons had complained about the return to the old brand of coffee after enjoying Cheek's.

Pleased with the success that his entrepreneurial spirit had secured, he formed the Nashville Coffee and Manufacturing Company, though it was later renamed Maxwell House Coffee after the hotel. Since 1917, Maxwell House have utilised the phrase “Good to the last drop” in their advertising. It is attributed to Theodore Roosevelt who purportedly said as much after enjoying a cup of coffee at the Maxwell House hotel. Though the validity of this claim leaves something to be desired, there is no denying that your average shopper in a hurry is going to be inclined to go for a coffee bearing the patronage of a President!

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