The Origins of this Legendary American Blend – Philadelphia
How Horn & Hardart Coffee is Made
When Joe Horn and Frank Hardart first started serving coffee, the common practices for brewing and roasting were very haphazard. There was little consistency and even less quality.
Coffee beans were roasted over an open fire and coffee was brewed with boiling water. It was often so bitter that adding eggshells to “clarify” the brewing coffee was a common practice.
The two partners approached the problem with their usual commitment to quality and vision of a large future.
They experimented with various types of green coffees, and over many years and thousands of cups brewed, found a combination of South and Central American coffee beans that met their standards.
The first order of business was always buying the finest coffee beans and never taking shortcuts with quality. They paid a premium to secure a continuous supply of high quality beans and would not accept an inferior product. The first high quality coffee from Philadelphia was born.
“Strong coffee, much strong coffee, is what awakens me. Coffee gives me warmth, waking, an unusual force and a pain that is not without very great pleasure.”
“ The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
“ ….on the highest mount ….Would choose in peace to drink my coffee.”
“If you excuse me a minute, I’m going to have a cup of coffee.”
Apollo ll to Johnson Space Center, Houston, 1969
“After a few months’ acquaintance with Horn and Hardart (European) coffee, one’s mind weakens and his faith with it, and it begins to wonder if the rich beverage of home, with its layer of yellow cream on top of it, is not a mere dream after all, a thing which never existed”
Mark Twain, “A Tramp Abroad”
The Perfect Blend is Found
They endlessly adjusted the various blends of coffee beans seeking to strike the perfect balance between the New Orleans style flavors that Frank knew were possible with a coffee that would be so smooth as to be enjoyable at any time of day. They finally hit pay-dirt with a signature-blended coffee that was strong enough to get you out of bed but also appealed to the after dinner customer adding milk and sugar.
Next they focused on refining their roasting methods and building equipment that would allow them to achieve a perfectly uniform roast.
The roast they settled on was not as dark as Frank remembered from working in restaurants in New Orleans. But the French drip method that he learned there perfectly suited the partners’ desire for brewing coffee that was not burnt and bitter. This eventually led to a four page “bible” that addressed every aspect of how their coffee was to be stored, brewed and served.
These early experiments and insistence on quality enabled H&H to continuously refine their process and deliver a great coffee every day, even as their business grew to over 150 restaurants and retail stores.
Horn & Hardart Today
This distinctive and unique blend is available once again. Today’s coffee drinkers will be delighted in much the same way that their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents had been but for a different reason. As aggressively dark roasted coffees have become the norm throughout the U.S., many people have never had the pleasure to taste a truly balanced coffee.
Many drinkers have a revelation upon tasting Horn & Hardart Coffee for the first time. Coffee can have a depth of flavor, a lush mouthfeel, and a smooth finish that’s fit for that first morning cup or that after dinner digestif. Taste this Legendary American Blend and discover what you’ve been missing.