Coffee, the juice that keeps us all going, is universally loved and craved by people the world over. Coffee is used as a stimulant and also as a less intoxicating social lubricant. “Let’s get coffee” is a way to say, “Let’s hang out for no more than 30 minutes because finishing this cup will naturally wind down the conversation.”
But how do you talk about coffee itself? People have tons of names for our favorite brown liquid that we all keep coming back to, morning after morning.
Why we call coffee a cup of joe has mixed origins. One theory claims that it’s named after a Navy general, Joe, who told sailors no more booze, only coffee from here on out. A second theory is that Joe is a common man’s name, like coffee is his drink. The third and most likely theory stems from people’s love of shortening words. Another slang for coffee is “jamoke” and “joe” is an even shorter version of that. Believe the reason that suits you best.
Coffee became universally popular in the 19th century, and the world’s primary source was Java, Indonesia. Java as a slang term for coffee caught on as quickly as the beverage itself.
Another obvious nickname, mud and dirt are brown like coffee, especially when wet. Coffee with grounds in it becomes thick and unpleasant to drink, much like mud or dirt would be, too. Even so, people still love a good cup of mud to get going in the morning.
Believe it or not, coffee is made from beans, but it’s not the same as the can of pinto beans that accompanies Tex-Mex food. It’s a specialized pod that is dried and roasted to certain specifications. The more roast on coffee beans, the deeper and more complex the flavor. This led to coffee being called bean juice, even though you can’t get the juice from the coffee bean the same way you get lemon juice from a lemon.
Some people drink coffee purely for the energetic feeling that they get from the caffeine entering their body. Caffeine can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. This can lead to a jumpy feeling, or like you’re about to jump out of your skin. The people who love that caffeinated feeling the most are often the ones who try and tap into coffee’s power by brewing extra strong coffee.
No matter what you call it, whoever is taking your coffee order will likely know a few of the slang terms for coffee. Your complex coffee order, however, may need some explaining.