Coffee to go is strictly American

Sorry for not posting this closer to July 4th. Another reminder that we fought the Revolutionary War so we wouldn't have to drink tea. From the Pacific Standard.

True Patriots Take Their Coffee to Go 
Though I didn’t realize it at the time, the to-go cup that I enjoyed on afternoons in Paris wasn’t a foreign concept just in France. Even the briefest search on Google shows that other cultures are similarly bereft of portable caffeine options. We’re the country that invented the disposable cup, the fast food chain, and the egregiously inflated cup size. The experience of getting coffee to go is a uniquely American institution, and it has changed the way we work, play, and present ourselves to the world. 
The American-ness of the to-go cup may not be immediately intuitive, simply because coffee has long been overshadowed in the American beverage-packing realm by the beer bottle and the soda can. We take it for granted that a modern Independence Day barbecue will involve Sam Adams and Cherry Coke prominently—yet we forget that in colonial times, coffee and tea were the poor man’s substitute for beer and cider. Post-World War II, after Coca-Cola had arranged a special exemption from the sugar ration, Coke became the caffeine source of choice for America’s youth. 
But by rights we ought to enjoy our Fourth of July fireworks with a steaming cup of coffee. Even before Americans had invented the disposable cup, we were changing history by fueling up with coffee on the go. Pioneers brought coffee with them to settle the West, brewing it over campfires; coffee became especially popular following the tea shortage during the War of 1812. Native Americans developed a taste for coffee, and would even attack wagon trains to get it, according to historian Mark Pendergrast. When coffee was added to the Union soldiers’ daily ration during the Civil War, they developed a creative solution for carrying it into combat. Some carbine guns were re-fashioned to hold a coffee mill in the buttstock—“so that the soldier could always carry his grinder with him,” Pendergrast writes. Perhaps the cannons should have had cup-holders.


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