Java Jive

“WE CATER TO REAL COFFEE drinkers,” says seventy-year old Joseph Fertitta, the president of Beaumont’s Texas Coffee Company and son of the founder. Texas’ only family-owned Coffee-manufacturing company has been perking along with its Seaport brand since 1921, competing in the national market by virtue of its product’s prodigious strength. Seaport is roasted longer, which magnifies the oils. Two coops give about the same kick as four of any of the major brands, Fertitta maintains. “Ours still has more body,” he says. “Coffee’s heyday was in World War II, when everybody drank coffee all day long.” Back then, chicory was a commonly used additive that boosted taste without adding caffeine, but Seaport—with its powerful flavor—needed no adulteration. “Its one hundred percent coffee,” says Fertitta. Consumption peaked in 1965, he laments. It didn’t’ help that during the seventies Brazil quadrupled the price of beans and that in the eighties doctors said caffeine could get on your nerves and cause health problems. But Seaport remained a popular in the Texas and Louisiana Gulf coast area and is sold there in all major grocery chains. The company also has a mail-order business that serves all fifty states. After Texas, California is the biggest customer. “Coffee is so sorry there,” says Fertitta, “that people send us blank check just to get their order filled quickly.”

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