Creamer, Please. No Sugar

19-year-old William McKinley
19-year-old William McKinley

I had an idea the other day, and acted on it! I sort of made a “coffee run,” if you will . . .


Starbucks Customer Service / PO Box 6363 / Dover, DE 19905-6363

Meg Thompson / Hollister, CA 95023 / July 12, 2014

Dear Starbucks,

Please find enclosed a wonderful article about coffee during the American Civil War. It is from the New York Times “Opinionator” column, which follows the war daily during this 150th sesquicentennial.

I am sending it to you because I think this is a perfect opportunity for your wonderful company to do something to commemorate the war. I am not suggesting a nasty black brew with coffee grounds at the bottom (Union) or a faux coffee concoction of burnt yams and chicory (Confederate), but I am sure your designers could come up with something folks would buy–something that would remind them of history.

Since Starbucks, as a company, is into causes (which I love, btw) I would humbly suggest that part of the proceeds from such a concoction could go toward the Civil War Trust, which is in the “business” of battlefield preservation and is trusted by pretty much everyone in the historical community. In fact, if I ever started a coffee business of my own, I would call it “Hallowed Grounds.”

Please consider my suggestion. It is made in good faith as I sit here before my computer drinking my morning coffee and working on another book.

Sincerely, / Meg Thompson / 19th Century historian and writer

 . . . and the response:


July 21, 2014

Dear Meg,

Thank you for contacting us.

The article you sent was excellent and very informative about the types of Coffee the soldiers drank during the Civil War. I want to assure you that I’ve passed on your comments regarding a Civil War inspired beverage to the appropriate people in our company for their attention. Please note that changes implemented in our stores are often driven by customer feedback, so we appreciate the time you’ve taken to send us your suggestions.

If you have any other questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call our Customer Relations Department at 1-800-STARBUC (782-7282). You can also post additional suggestions and feedback at

Sincerely, / Edward / Customer Relations / Starbucks Coffee Company

*    *     *

So now someone has to send Starbucks a copy of the latest Civil War Times coffee article, and everyone should write letters. It is the right thing to do, there is something satisfying about snailmail every so often, and–well–it seems like fun. If this works, I may try to get roses named for Civil War generals! I have nothing better to do . . .

Because we ALL need a Chamberlain mug!
Because we ALL need a Chamberlain mug!

5 Responses to Creamer, Please. No Sugar

  1. In my letter I will suggest a special Southern brew, named by several Confederate soldiers upon confiscating the scarce substance from Yankee haversacks: “Sure Enough Coffee”

      1. OK, I’ve just sent my letter. If anybody’s interested, here’s the text of it:

        Dear Starbucks Creative Heads:

        I am joining with the voices of Civil War buffs nationwide to urge that you offer, in these years of the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States, a special brew reminiscent of the great longing of Civil War soldiers, especially those of the South, for coffee.

        Confederates, civilians as well as soldiers, were largely deprived of the real thing and were forced to improvise unsatisfactory substitutes. On occasion, when a Southern soldier found the coveted grounds in the haversack of an unfortunate Yankee casualty, he was heard to exclaim (and even wrote home), “Sure ‘nough coffee!!!” So that is my suggestion for a Civil War brew for marketing especially in the South: SURE ‘NOUGH COFFEE.

        Perhaps you could pledge a portion of the profits to the Civil War Trust, a top-rated non-profit dedicated to preservation of battlefields and land significant to the War. For example, they are currently on a campaign to save pristine riverfront property in Virginia associated with the Battle of the North Anna River otherwise threatened with development.

        Thank you very much. No need for a reply, I just want to put in my two cents in support of CIVIL WAR COFFEE!

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