Why Is Coffee Called Joe in America? And Other Slang Terms

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I’ve been a coffee lover for as long as I can remember. There’s something about the rich, bold flavor that just hits the spot every time. And while I enjoy all types of coffee, there’s something special about drinking a cup of joe. But have you ever wondered why is coffee called joe?

It turns out that there are quite a few theories that answer the question “why is coffee called joe in America”? One popular theory is that it comes from America’s love affair with cowboy culture in the 1800s. According to this theory, cowboys would often refer to coffee as “joe” because it was strong and helped them stay awake during long nights on the trail.

Another theory suggests that the term originated during World War II when American soldiers were introduced to espresso by their Italian counterparts who called it “caffè.” The soldiers then started calling espresso “joe” as a way to shorten its foreign-sounding name.

Why Is Coffee Called Joe in America?

Why is coffee called joe?

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of coffee history, let’s move on to the real reason you came here.

The origin of the phrase “cup of joe” is disputed, but the most popular theory is that it stems from former U.S Secretary of War and U.S. Senator from Virginia, James “Jim” Henry “Joe” Robinson.

In 1914, Admiral William S. Sims, commander of the Atlantic Fleet, issued a general order banning alcohol consumption on all U.S. Navy ships.

Sailors needed a strong drink to help them get through their long days at sea, and coffee was the next best thing. They started calling it “a cup of Josephus” because it was the closest thing they could get to alcohol. But eventually, they shortened it to just “Joe.”

Another potential answer to the question of why coffee is called a cup of Joe in America is due to linguistics. The word “Joe” is thought to be the simplified form of the word “jamoke,” which was a nickname for coffee in the 19th century.

This, of course, is a play on the words ”java,” which refers to coffee, and ”mocha,” which refers to the drink.

“Just a ‘joe’,” as in “just your average person,” is a phrase that you may have heard before. It’s usually used in reference to someone of average intelligence or ability.

There’s just something about coffee that makes it the perfect drink for anyone and everyone. No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you do, coffee is always there for you. And that’s why we call it “Joe.”

What About Other Fun Slang Words For Coffee?

Why is coffee called joe

Here are a few examples of common ways coffee drinkers reference their morning cup of joe:

Coffee has a lot of slang terms associated with it. Some of these include:

  • battery acid
  • bean juice
  • black ichor of life
  • black tea
  • brain juice
  • brewtus
  • caffeine fix
  • caffeine infusion
  • cup of brew
  • cup of joe
  • cup of jolt
  • cuppa
  • cupped lightning
  • daily grind
  • day-starter
  • go juice
  • god’s blessing
  • high octane
  • jamoke (java + mocha)
  • jet fuel
  • jitter juice
  • leaded
  • lifeblood
  • liquid energy
  • liquid lightning
  • mocha
  • mojo
  • morning mud
  • morning thunder
  • mother’s little helper
  • my daily energy
  • one’s daily infusion
  • perky plasma rocket fuel
  • the fix
  • unleaded wakey juice

‘Coffee’ Comes From the Turkish Word ‘Kahveh’

The word “coffee” has its origins in the Turkish word “kahveh.” It is believed that the word made its way into European languages around 1600. This is due to the fact that coffee beans were first brought over from North Africa and the Middle East into Italy in 1615, and then later on into France in 1644.

Suleiman Aga, the Turkish ambassador to France, helped make coffee the popular drink at the court of Louis XIV. The Europeans, especially the French, were charmed by the drink. And, well, you know the rest of the story.

Over time, the spelling of the word “caff” changed a lot. It started out as chaon, kaveh, kahve, cau, koffa, and caff. Today, it’s simply known as coffee.

Why is coffee called joe – Conclusion

So, why is coffee called joe in America? There are a few theories out there, but the most likely explanation is that it’s simply a shortened version of the Italian word for espresso. Whatever the origin of the term, one thing is for sure: coffee will always be our cup of joe.

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