The Wild Connection Between Cowboys And Arbuckle's Coffee

Scenes of cowboys drinking coffee have been common in western movies and television shows for years. The reason that cowboys and coffee go so well together is more than a pop culture reference, however. It actually has root in historic fact.

Coffee grounds have many uses beyond producing the beloved beverage, like making an excellent coffee grounds compost, and the connection between cowboys and Arbuckle's coffee has a lot to do with the brand's grounds in the 19th century. According to Leaf, the coffee's namesake, John Arbuckle, not only produced the famous blend but also one of the most popular store-bought coffees today, Yuban.

HistoryNet explains how coffee was a popular drink for cowboys and how cooks feeding those cowboys kept it on hand for when they took breaks. Why their line of work became essentially synonymous with Arbuckle's Coffee specifically is a larger story about a patent that Arbuckle took out and his marketing strategy for his popular coffee.

Arbuckle's Coffee dominates cowboy culture

In the 19th century, cowboy coffee was Arbuckle's Coffee according to HistoryNet. HistoryNet says that John Arbuckle's namesake blend, one of the first major coffee brands in the U.S., became so popular with cowboys in the southwest that Arbuckle's actually became a generic name for coffee.

How did Arbuckle make his brew so successful with cowboys? It was about the packaging — literally. True West Magazine shares how Arbuckle's inserted a peppermint in each bag of its coffee. The cooks would offer the candy as an incentive for doing the work of grinding the coffee beans. True West also says that Arbuckle was an innovator of both freshness and taste in coffee as well. In 1872, Arbuckle's patented a machine that could efficiently roast, grind, and package the coffee into small bags. Additionally, True West says that a glaze they added helped to preserve the grounds as well.

According to HistoryNet, that glaze consisted of eggs, Irish moss, and sugar. If you want to try the famous brew that made Arbuckle a multimillionaire in the 1890s (via HistoryNet), you can do so today. The Arbuckle brand lives on through a roastery in Tucson, Arizona. According to the roastery's website, they are still brewing the "coffee that won the West." If you want a true taste of cowboy life in the latter decades of the 19th century, the experience isn't authentic without some Arbuckle's Coffee.