One of my favorite coffees is Maxwell House. I also really enjoy Folger’s and one or two other brands. But my family and I used Maxwell House regularly for years. One of my favorite places to live has always been Nashville, Tennessee, and, interestingly enough, Maxwell House coffee was born there.
A colonel by the name of John Overton, Jr. built a magnificent hotel in Nashville in 1869 and named it in honor of his wife, whose maiden name was Maxwell. Over the years, until it was destroyed by fire in 1961, that hotel hosted seven different Presidents of the U. S. , as well as many other famous persons.
About 23 years after the Maxwell House opened, a man by the name of Joel Owsley Cheek came to the Maxwell House to offer the owners his special-blend coffee. Joel Cheek had moved to Nashville from Kentucky, worked as a salesman for a wholesale grocery company, developed a serious interest in coffee, and eventually established his own coffee company and developed his own special blends. Believing he had a blend that was perfect for use at the Maxwell House Hotel, he offered them the opportunity to purchase from him.
The Hotel contracted to sell the coffee on trial for a period of time, and during that time so many of the visitors to the Maxwell House raved about the coffee that it became a house feature and gained a wide reputation. Cheek named it after the hotel. President Theodore Roosevelt is quoted as complimenting the coffee during his visit to the hotel in 1907, and it is he who is credited with the statement “It’s good to the last drop.” That simple sentence became the advertising slogan for Maxwell House Coffee for many years.
And, of course, the Maxwell House coffee, as a product of Cheek’s coffee company, went on to be sold nationwide and even further. Cheek acquired a partner named Neal, and eventually the Cheek Neal company was bought out by another company, which changed the name to Maxwell House Products Corporation (later changing to General Foods Corporation).
The Maxwell House Hotel now has a brand new home in Nashville (Millennium Maxwell House, Nashville), but the coffee is still the same great-tasting beverage it has always been. And it really is “good to the last drop.”
Now, just for the fun of it, I’ve thrown in two very old Maxwell House Coffee TV commercials. (And don’t forget to share your own thoughts on coffee in a post on your blog, then leave us the link in a comment box below.)