Issue Date: November 3, 2008
I ENJOYED reading the article on instant coffee (C&EN, Sept. 29, page 42). I prefer fresh-brewed myself and especially my dark espresso. It would be interesting to compare the amount of caffeine in dark roasted coffee and espresso. Is such information available? Thanks, and have another cup!
Jose M. Sentmana
I ENJOYED Kenneth Moore's article on instant coffee but want to correct one important fact. General Foods in White Plains, N.Y., not Kraft or Philip Morris, developed and introduced freeze-dried Maxim instant coffee to the marketplace in 1963 as part of its Maxwell House product line. I know this as a fact because I was a chemical engineering co-op student from Northeastern University working at the General Foods Technical Center in Tarrytown, N.Y., in 1963. At that time, we were General Foods and not Kraft or Philip Morris. As my first co-op assignment, I helped operate the pilot-plant freeze drier that manufactured the coffee and also managed the packaging line where we filled single-serving tins, under vacuum, that were mailed out for the initial market tests.
The lineage of General Foods, Kraft, and Philip Morris is shown below from Wikipedia: "General Foods Corp. was a company whose direct predecessor was established in the U.S. by Charles William Post (Oct. 26, 1854–May 9, 1914) as the Postum Cereal Co. in 1895. The name General Foods was adopted in 1929 after several corporate acquisitions. In November 1985, General Foods was acquired by Philip Morris Companies (now Altria Group) for $5.6 billion, the largest non-oil acquisition to that time. In December 1988, Philip Morris acquired Kraft and in 1990 combined the two food companies as Kraft General Foods (KGF)."
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