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48 Gallons of Coffee per person per year in 1946 to $47.50 Frappuccinos in 2013

There are a lot of coffee stories in the news today and our favorite is Beau Chevassus’s great video of going into a Starbucks in Washington and ordering the world’s most expensive frappuccino. It costs $47.50.

Watch the video here at Boing Boing

There’s also an interesting report on MarketWatch which claims that we’re only drinking half the amount of coffee that we did 50 or 60 years ago.

In 1946, when America’s thirst for coffee peaked, each of us swallowed about 48 gallons a year on average, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture - more than twice current consumption.

Susan Hayward and Bill Williams in Deadline at Dawn (1946)

Jeremy Olshan says Americans way back then drank coffee with breakfast, coffee with lunch and coffee with dinner. Mostly, we‘d drink it at home and not in cafes or diners, says John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest.

It’s all the more surprising because of the quality of coffee in the 1940s. It was stale, boiled to oblivion in percolators and served so diluted that it was tasted like brown dishwater.

And today, Starbucks claims that a customer ordering from one of its stores can choose from 87,000 possible drink combinations. Why on earth would anyone want to? Also, some 160,000 people have coffee as their skill on LinkedIn. Which perhaps says more about LinkedIn than we need to dwell on. 

These days, of course, the average American drinks more than 45 gallons of soda each year.

Which brings us to one of Cool Culinaria’s favorite menus – The Scene II from Lexington. Kentucky in the 1960s.

It lists a coffee cooler for 40 cents – a mixture of coffee and dry ginger ale. Maybe it tastes nicer than it sounds.