Mar 19, 2013

Origin of the Coffee Break

Pan American Coffee Bureau's 1952 advertising campaign for making this widely acceptable.

According to Mark Pendergrast's book, Uncommon Grounds: the History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World, PACB's $2 million dollar annual advertising budget created this daily routine:
The bureau launched a radio, newspaper and magazine campaign with the theme, 'Give Yourself a Coffee-Break--And Get What Coffee Gives to You.'  The bureau gave a name and official sanction to a practice that had begun during the war in defense plants, when time off for coffee gave workers a needed moment of relaxation along with a caffeine jolt. 

'Within a very short space,' Charles Lindsay, the manager of the bureau, wrote in late 1952, 'the coffee-break had been so thoroughly publicized that the phrase had become a part of our language."

After the campaign, 80% of polled firms introduced coffee breaks.