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Instant coffee

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725878.  Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:25 am Reply with quote

Who invented instant cofee?

a. George Washington
b. John Adams
c. Thomas Jeffereson
d. Abraham Lincoln

Answer: a. George Washington.

OK, George Washington didn't actually invent instant coffee as a Japanese-American gentleman called Satori Kato invented the process in 1903 (or possibly earlier). Washington, however, developed the process that lead to commercial manufacture.

Obviously, this wasn't the George Washington who didn't tell a lie about chopping down the cherry tree. This was George Constant Louis Washington who was Belgian (add him to the list!) of Anglo-Belgian parentage, though since his father was English he was considered British. Although he became an American citizen at the age of 48 this was after he did the thing with the coffee. So instant coffee was (sort of) invented by a Belgian with British citizenship called George Washington.

Spud McLaren
725962.  Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:02 pm Reply with quote

Iced tea was thought to have first been served at the 1904 St Louis Worlds Fair. However...

726001.  Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:57 am Reply with quote

Iced tea seems to mean different things in Europe and the US.

Don't know the details, but I won't drink it in the US.

726076.  Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:23 am Reply with quote

Instant coffee was unpopular with consumers well into the 1950s. Not because of quality, but because it was thought to be the lazy option for slovenly housewives.

Here's a good summary of the research, from "Projective Techniques in Consumer Research" by Ross B Steinman (2009):

The first published study on projective techniques in the consumer literature was the Haire shopping list study (Haire, 1950). At the time of the study, Mason Haire was a preeminent behavioral scientist who blended the psychological trends of that time into the consumer domain (Fram & Cibotti, 1991). Haire reported that motives exist which are below the level of verbalization because they are socially unacceptable, difficult to verbalize cogently, or unrecognized, and these motives were intimately related to the decision to purchase or not to purchase. As such, Haire found that it was possible to identify and assess these consumer motives in an indirect manner.

The primary focus of Haire’s research was consumers’ image of a new coffee product — Nescafé instant coffee. At the time of the study, instant coffee was considered a product innovation (most households used traditional drip coffee), but marketers were wary that consumers would not accept the product unequivocally. It was during this period of history that women were expected to spend considerable amounts of time preparing food and caring for their families (Haire, 1950). Executives believed any product that threatened the image of the woman as a doting and competent housewife could potentially be a marketing disaster. The primary goal of the Haire study was to assess consumer sentiment toward this inventive yet controversial product. However, Haire was apprehensive about using explicit measures to assess consumers’ attitudes toward Nescafé instant coffee.

Haire believed that respondents would attach additional meaning to the use of instant coffee in their homes, and explicit measures would not be able to capture respondents’ deepest thoughts and feelings toward the product. Therefore, Haire tried using projective techniques, which were very popular in clinical psychology at the time of Haire’s research, an indirect approach to measure consumer attitudes toward Nescafé instant coffee.

In the study, two shopping lists were prepared for respondents to examine. They were identical in all aspects except that one list specified the purchase of Nescafé instant coffee while the other indicated Maxwell House Coffee (traditional drip ground). The lists were administered to alternate subjects and individuals had no awareness that another list existed. Each shopping list was administered to fifty women in the Boston area (100 women total). Respondents were instructed to read the shopping list and attempt to characterize the woman shopping for the groceries on the list. The respondents were then asked to write a brief description of the woman’s personality and characteristic traits. Lastly, the respondents were instructed to indicate the factors that influenced their judgments of the woman who was shopping for groceries (Haire, 1950).

Overall, Haire (1950) found that the Maxwell House Coffee shopper was depicted frequently in a positive manner. Shoppers with this product on their list were more often viewed as a good housewife by respondents than those who had Nescafé instant coffee on their list. Respondents viewed the Nescafé shopper as lazy, sloppy, and an inefficient household planner and scheduler. Moreover, almost half of the respondents indicated that Nescafé shoppers were indolent and lacking organizational skills. Based on the substitution of Maxwell House Coffee for Nescafé instant coffee (and vice versa), respondents readily altered their perceptions of the female shopper. It appeared that a switch from the well-established, home-made drip coffee (i.e., Maxwell House Coffee), with an associated meaning of concern for one’s family, to the instant coffee (i.e., Nescafé), seemingly associated with respondents’ perceptions of what professional women would purchase, influenced respondents’ ratings of the shoppers. Haire (1950) suggested (and many researchers later supported his contention) that explicit attitude measures would not allow researchers to access this important information. Respondents would be unwillingly, and perhaps unable, to volunteer their thoughts, beliefs, and feelings toward the products.

hassan el kebir
726123.  Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:13 pm Reply with quote

Well I just think it tastes nasty. Give me a mug of Turkish coffee any day

726125.  Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:23 pm Reply with quote

Posital wrote:
Iced tea seems to mean different things in Europe and the US.

Don't know the details, but I won't drink it in the US.

Iced tea is very different throughout the US. Iced tea is quite often called "sweet sea" in the South, and is quite horrible to my pallate. Though more and more establishments are selling pre-sweetened tea - Americans today being either too busy or too lazy to sweeten their own tea to their taste.

The British habit of referring to the drink as "ice tea" seems quite silly to me - but other than the name, it tastes the same as what is served around here.


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