Instant Coffee! #socs

Who remembers these ads, for Taster’s Choice Coffee?

I know we have a contingent here who will remember the couple advertising Gold Blend instant coffee, which is the same thing, because both are Nescafé. Which explains why, when I was in Singapore and the in-room coffee service served Nescafé instant, I thought it tasted a lot like Taster’s Choice.

Instant coffee used to be huge. I’ve always heard that it was because men who returned from the World War II battlefields had gotten so used to drinking it that they wanted it when they got home, too. Look back at old commercials and there are almost as many commercials for instant coffee as there are for regular. Sometimes even more. Both Danny Thomas and Andy Griffith advertised for Maxwell House instant (it was Teddy Roosevelt that allegedly gave them their slogan, “good to the last drop”). Restaurants used to serve packets of instant Sanka (the first decaffeinated coffee that I can remember) with a small pot of hot water when people would order decaf in a restaurant. Robert Young (TV’s Marcus Welby, MD) used to do the commercials for Sanka.

Taster’s Choice reminds me of Grandma Holton. She used to drink it all the time. She’d put a heaping teaspoonful of Taster’s Choice in a tall mug and add boiling water and a teaspoon of half & half. The stuff was lethal the way she made it, because a level teaspoon made a very strong cup as it was. Grandma lived to 92. Maybe it was the coffee.

The Gold Blend/Taster’s Choice couple are played by Anthony Head (the brother of Murray, who went on to fame and fortune in TV’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer) and Sharon Maugham, a British actress who’s appeared in a lot of TV shows and movies, as many British actors and actresses are wont to do. She was in an episode of Inspector Morse once, and the writer, being a smartass, had her character say “Coffee? Ugh, I hate coffee! It gives me a headache!”


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word about Big Wheels from Marx. If Marx makes it, it can take it!

31 thoughts on “Instant Coffee! #socs

  1. John,

    I remember Robert Young doing the Sanka commercials from the 70s. Over the years, I’ve used instant coffee but never liked it well as brewed coffee. I’m glad you gave a bit of history on how it rose to popularity with the GIs return home.

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  2. I love coffee and in the morning, it has to fresh brewed. In the afternoon around 3 pm, I make a cup of instant so strong you can stand a spoon up in it! I drink my coffee black but sometimes, I put a splash of pumpkin spice creamer in it, when available. And yes, it is caffeinated! ☕️🤪

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    1. Mary makes decaf in the percolator in the morning, and makes herself Via (Starbucks’ instant) if she wants a pick-me-up in the afternoon. She uses creamer if she has it, I’ve taken it black since we got married.

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  3. I drank instant coffee a lot in the old days. I seem to remember a sequel to that commercial that was like a mini soap opera. Or maybe it was in my head. I definitely remember a scene in a horror movie where a girl ATE a huge spoonful of instant coffee to stay awake. Maybe it was so she wouldn’t dream.That was back with my x husband who loved horror movies. I bet you remember what the movie was.

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    1. There were a whole bunch of those commercials. This one is actually one of the later ones. (Maybe the last one.)

      Hate to disappoint you, but I’m no fan of horror, so I have no idea what movie you’re talking about. Sorry!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Tasters Choice brings back a lot of memories for me, John. It was a staple at my dad’s house. It was the evening coffee choice. I remember Sanka in a packet. I once knew someone that called it ‘stir’. Nothing like powdered or crystallized coffee you had to stir into hot water. Great handling of the prompt.

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  5. Ha! I love smartass writers. Good line. My Mamaw drank Tasters Choice too. She always said it was easier for one that percolating a whole pot. Sometimes she’d use it in her coffee cake for an extra kick.

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    1. Grandma lived with her sister, who didn’t drink coffee that often, so it made more sense. When I was living in the dorm, my roommate and I drank Folger’s instant all the time. Much easier than brewing it in the room…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember the commercials, but never liked decaf. Tried it a couple of times, but…ackkk, no. These days, I don’t drink much coffee, but when I do, I am a coffee snob. I’ve given up Folger’s and Maxwell House for the favored organic coffee that’s easy on the tummy and tastes far better.

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  7. We used to use it regularly. Very convenient and not bad. Remember when coffee was free in a restaurant when food was ordered?

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    1. I probably don’t remember because I wasn’t drinking coffee then. There are still some places that bring a full pot when you order it (IHOP is one), but that’s getting to be rare.

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  8. Your top one aired in the UK too. Different actors, different scripts, but this pair of actors playing this will they/won’t they nonsense over a cup of instant coffee. I think Nestle/Nescafe is also behind Nespresso, obviously just having one finger in the pie not enough for them.

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