Why Is Coffee Called Java, Cuppa Joe And Other Names?

It was a very long time ago that the coffee plant was discovered in Ethiopia. That plant was made into a drink and then it was exported all around the world with Brazil now being its largest producer. In that time coffee has been called many weird and wonderful names.
Some have very intriguing backgrounds, while others are just common slang.

Here we take a look at some of the best used ones today and how they came to be used as a common term. 

Why Is Coffee Also Called Joe?

Not many people may have heard of the name Josephus Daniels, the same people could well call their coffee a ‘cup of joe’ and be totally oblivious that the name comes from the man.

Joe is one of those strange terms in America as you could be referring to one of the most popular names in the country, a cup of coffee or even a regular man or a soldier.

In terms of coffee, Josephus Daniels was a man of strict morals. When he became the Secretary of the Navy, he pushed religion on to the soldiers, tried to limit the use of prostitution and also ban alcohol from being consumed.

As a result, more people turned to other drinks such as coffee. What was initially meant as a disparaging remark by serving soldiers during World War I, has become an everyday saying by many.

Why Is Coffee Also Called Java?

Not many drinks can have so many nicknames, but ‘Java’ is another one that coffee enjoys. Coffee was one of those things that was taken around the world and in the 1600’s, the Dutch introduced it to Southeast Asia including taking it to a little known island called Java. They planted coffee trees and started a revolution in the area.

Unfortunately, the reasons for the term being used as a common phrase for all coffee has been lost, but it might be the Dutch referring to a cup made from beans in Java and that term spreading as a general term for any cup.

‘JavaScript’ which is one of the most well-known computer programming languages of all-time takes its name from the coffee. So the software is named after coffee which was named after an island!

Why Is Coffee Also Called Jamocha?

Jamocha is one of those curious words as it comes from a blend of the terms of Java and Mocha, whereby you would mix the two together in order to create a drink with a strong coffee element with a chocolate taste.

It is a little known word, however, as that is what a Mocha is anyway. It never really caught on and with all the coffee terms that we hear today, this one appears to be lost in time.

Why Is Coffee Also Called Cuppa?

Most of these terms have settled after a historical period, but here we see a change in action. A “cuppa” is a contraction of “cup of” which in many British accents sounds like “cuppa”.

This was used by the English to refer to tea, but that is now being extended to mean a “cuppa” of any hot drink. It’s fascinating how the sentence of “Can I have a cup of tea?” changed to “Can I have a cuppa?” meaning coffee instead.

It’s one of those quirky changes in language that usually happened a long time ago, but here we get the change right before us.

Why Is Coffee Also Called Rocket Fuel?

A lot of people don’t drink coffee for the taste, instead they’ll drink it for the caffeine. An extremely high shot of caffeine will give you a huge lift of energy, that huge lift is a referenced to a rocket launch, so therefore, rocket fuel. It can also be used in a negative context when drinking any strong liquid.

Why Is Coffee Also Called High Octane?

In a similar way to rocket fuel, this term refers to an extremely strong coffee which can give you an instant boost. High octane fuel in real life is fuel that burns more slowly to avoid knocking from an engine.

There is a common myth that high octane fuel means high performance, this therefore lends its name to coffee and thinking high octane coffee will make you perform better.

Why Is Coffee Also Called Jitter Juice?

While caffeine has many great uses, it can also be dangerous when taking it in quantities that are too large. If you do, it can make you shake and give you the jitters.

For people not used to drinking any kind of caffeine, this can happen after just one or two cups. For those seasoned coffee drinkers, it can be very hard to get the jitters!


Coffee is a drink with a rich and wonderful history. It was taken around the globe and is enjoyed by people from all over the globe. There isn’t perhaps one single drink that is so universally loved. With that wide appeal and great history, it was sure to gain many nicknames.
Whether you’re going to your local coffee shop for a Mocha, Cappuccino, Espresso or any specific type, you could well just be going for your favorite cup of Joe. I’m sure as time goes on, the nicknames will grow even further as the ever-popular drink continues to be drunk around the world.






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