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Showing posts from September, 2018

A coffee-drinking workers’ paradise

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Happy Labor Day! The joy of Labor Day is its focus on pursuing leisure, enjoying the outdoors, and hanging out with friends and family---but Labor Day, like most things of value, was hard-won. It started as a municipal ordinance in the mid-1880’s, and slowly took hold as individual states passed laws celebrating Labor Day. Finally, in June 1884, the United States Congress passed a federal law making the first Monday of September an official holiday celebrating working people.
So what does Labor Day have to do with coffee? A lot it turns out. Starting in the early 20th century, drinking coffee in the middle of the day became a major cause celebre for working people and the unions that represented them.
1900 was a very auspicious year for American workers. That was the year that the Hills Brothers Company introduced vacuum-packed coffee, making it possible for people to brew coffee at home, and even at work. However, even before coffee was mass-produced, it was consumed regularly, in…