Many of us love our daily cup of joe like we love our friends, but there may be no more beloved coffeemaker than Mr. Coffee. This amicably named little machine was introduced in 1972 and made waves as the first in-home solution for drip coffee. Prior to Mr. Coffee, percolators, which often produced burnt or bitter beverages, were the norm. For daily drinkers who wanted something other than a French press, there was clearly a need for a more convenient option.
Origins of Mr. Coffee
The idea for Mr. Coffee originated in Cleveland, Ohio, where Vincent Marotta and Samuel Glazer set up shop delivering coffee early in the decade. To bring Marotta’s dream of adapting the industrial automatic drip coffeemaker for home use, the pair hired two engineers and by 1972, Mr. Coffee was making his way into American homes.
Not only did Glazer and Marotta revolutionize brewing coffee at home, they also introduced several other mechanisms that would change aspects of the process. For example, they introduced Mr. Coffee brand coffee filters in 1975. Nearly a decade and a half later, the company introduced the Iced Tea Pot, which could brew and cool two quarts of iced tea in under 10 minutes.
One of the biggest hits of Mr. Coffee’s early life was snagging baseball legend Joe DiMaggio as a spokesperson in 1973. By April of 1974, Mr. Coffee had sold over one million units. How much do you think Mr. DiMaggio had to do with that?
Introducing the great taste of drip coffee
Part of Mr. Coffee’s popularity was due to the superior quality of coffee it produced. Compare it to a percolator, which looks like a tall metal teapot. In the top of the percolator is a small basket that surrounds a thin tube. The tube sucks up water from the tank at the base (which is atop a heating element) and spews it over coffee grounds in the basket above. Water then pours through to create coffee. This process cycles until the water has flowed through the grounds several times and achieved a brew. The problem is that uneven heating and over-extraction of the grounds produced a pretty bad cup.
Mr. Coffee, on the other hand, sent all the water, heated, over the grounds just once. Since it was heated at a uniform temperature, the coffee was never burnt and the grounds not over-extracted. That sort of quality was nearly impossible to produce from a percolator. Not only that, Mr. Coffee required fewer grounds overall, an innovation introduced in 1977 in response to hard financial times in America.
Mr. Coffee remains popular
Over the years, Mr. Coffee’s traditional drip coffeemaker continued to appear in American homes, eventually reaching vintage status. Then, in 2004, the company introduced a single serve coffee maker, the same year Keurig’s first home brewer hit the market, and gave people the ability to brew small quantities.
Today, Mr. Coffee remains a popular brand, thanks to its convenience, affordability and, of course, its history. Among Viewpoints reviewers, the GTF2-1 Basket-style Gold Tone Permanent Filter (100/100), TM1 2-Quart Iced Tea Maker (96/100), Cocomotion Hot Chocolate Maker (93/100) and 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker FTX43 (91/100) are the most popular and well-liked Mr. Coffee products.
Viewpoints spoke to Corey Jacobson, director of marketing for Mr. Coffee, at the 2013 International Home and Housewares Show. He said the latest Mr. Coffee products have been developed to respond to consumer’s changing coffee habits and tastes.
He told us the trend toward single-serve coffee is “exploding” with smaller households who demand variety and convenience.
Mr. Coffee came out 15 years ago with a single-serve coffeemaker that the company wound up taking off the market because the technology wasn’t quite right. Jacobson told us Keurig perfected it, and a couple of years ago, Mr. Coffee partnered with Keurig to create a budget friendly coffee maker ($69-$99). Viewpoints reviewers seem to love this partnership between Mr. Coffee and Keurig, rating the single-serve coffee maker 89/100.
“There is no need to buy a name brand Keurig. This Mr. Coffee Single Keurig Brewer works just as well. I have had this Keurig for over a year and have not had any problems with it. This is great for Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate and Brew over Ice Drinks.” —nickijo34, Reviewer since 2010
Over 40 years later, it seems Mr. Coffee is still a friend to many Americans.