Last modified on 22 February 2015, at 14:48

cup of joe


Alternative formsEdit


Of uncertain origin.

  • Possibly a shortening of "cup of jamoke", from Java + Mocha, where the best coffee formerly originated.[1]
  • Alternatively, perhaps a use of joe (fellow, guy), signifying that coffee was the drink of the common man.
  • Another theory derives the term from Josephus Daniels (1862-1948), the Secretary of the U.S. Navy who abolished the officers' wine mess and thus made coffee the strongest drink available on ships; this is spurious, however, because the term "cup of joe" predates the order banning the wine mess.[2]
  • Another theory suggests that US soldiers in WWI referred to a serving of instant coffee made by the "G. Washington's Refined Coffee" company as a "cup of George", which evolved into "cup of joe".[3]


cup of joe (plural cups of joe)

  1. (chiefly US, idiomatic) A cup of coffee.
    • 2008 April 9, James Poniewozik, Starbucks' New Brew: A First Taste, in Time:
      Pike Place is Starbucks' attempt to address complaints that its regular cup of joe is bitter, overroasted and "burnt."


  1. ^ This origin was given in a 1931 a military officer's manual: “Jamoke, Java, Joe. Coffee. Derived from the words Java and Mocha, where originally the best coffee came from.” World Wide Words. American comedian W. C. Fields (1880-1946) often requested a 'mokka java', a blend of Arabian and Dutch coffee.
  2. ^ Snopes, quoting "Cup of joe" in Michael Quinion, Ballyhoo, Buckaroo, and Spuds, 2004.
  3. ^ Mark Pendergrast, Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World