We serve coffee every day…hundreds of cups. And we are PROUD TO SERVE!
Of course, a group that has a much longer, and far more important legacy of being “PROUD TO SERVE”, is that of our military men and women who protect our liberties and freedoms every day – and have done so for centuries.
What does CAFFÈ AMOURI and our humble serving of coffee have to do with these heroes? Well, coffee and the military are inexplicably intertwined.
Coffee was an important part of the soldiering life during the Civil War. In a study of Civil War Journals by Jon Grinspan, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the word “coffee” was more prevalent than “war,” “bullet,” “cannon,” “slavery,” mother”….even “Lincoln.” Union cavalryman Ebenezer Nelson Gilpin wrote “Everything is chaos here. The suspense is almost unbearable. We are reduced to quarter rations and no coffee…and nobody can soldier without coffee.” Union solders were even outfitted with one unique piece of gear, a carbine rifle with a hand cranked grinder built into the stock!
By WWII, US soldiers were consuming 32.5 pounds of coffee per capita, per year. The army even roasted, ground and shipped its own beans overseas. Legend has it that US soldiers in Italy tasted espresso and, in an attempt to make it more like their familiar “home brew”, added water, thus beginning the popular “Americano.”
During the Vietnam war, there are stories of soldier burning C4 explosives to brew their coffee. MRI packs would sometimes include instant coffee which became a valuable “trading chit” for troops. As the war wound on, and discontent grew among soldiers, GI coffeehouses began to spring up in towns with military bases. The first, UFO, opened near Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C. These coffeehouses were places where, according to UFO founder Fred Gardner, a Harvard Grad and Army Reservist, “…. soldiers could gather and talk openly about their worries and frustrations without military brass around.” These coffeehouses became a place where soldiers could meet, share their thoughts and even get legal counseling.
At CAFFÈ AMOURI, we sometimes send coffee to troops overseas. The response to this simple gesture has been amazing. We were honored to have a flag flown over Camp Leatherneck in our honor (you can see it in our shop!). We recently received this note, “It was the highlight of the month for our unit...we manage the borders of Afghanistan. Here…good coffee is hard to come by, mostly because green tea is the preferred drink of Afghans. We work long hours around the clock and drink a lot of caffeine, so your package was both a blessing and god-send from the coffee heavens.” “We've even converted some of our Afghan & Pakistani liaisons from tea drinkers into coffee fans!!”
So, we are PROUD TO SERVE…especially proud to serve our brave men and women who serve us.