Cup of Joe

Contents: Meaning | Origin | Spread

Meaning

What does Cup of Joe mean?

Cup of Joe is a common slang expression, used to refer to the favorite brown liquid of the world: coffee.

In case you’re wondering what Joe has to do with the whole thing – Don’t Ask Who Joe Is.

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Origin

What's the origin of Cup of Joe?

There are numerous claims and theories concerning the origin of the phrase a “Cup of Joe”.

One of these connects it to the name of Josephus Daniels who in June 1914 issued an order prohibiting alcoholic beverages aboard ships.

This meant that the sailors had to find a new morning drink, which ended up being coffee.

Another theory claims that the presence of the name Joe within the expression is used to refer to the average Joe, whose preferred average drink is coffee.

Yet another explanation states that “Cup of Joe” is the result of a merging of two slang terms: java and mocha, which turned into Jamoke.

Joe is the shortened form of Jamoke, which started emerging at the turn of the 1930’s, in the sense of alluding to coffee.

This is supported by the fact that the first documented case of the phrase appearing in print can be found in the Princeton Alumni Weekly Vol. 27th, which was published in 1927.

Spread & Usage

How did Cup of Joe spread?

Since the 1940’s, “Cup of Joe” has seen a steady rise in popularity, although it went out of fashion during the late 70’s, until the early 80’s, however, with the rapid spread of the internet, the uses of the expression also skyrocketed.

One may easily encounter it today in kitchens and dining rooms between 6AM and 9AM, social media posts, as well as blogs, written by coffee enthusiasts.

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