By Myra Lee Adams Goff
The Zuehl Family Book at the Sophienburg contains a rather well-known story to local historians. It was written by Wilhelm Zuehl when he was in his 70s as he recalled coming to Texas with his family as an 18-year-old in 1846. His family was on a brig going from Galveston to Indianola.
When the brig would get stuck on a sand bar, the 60 emigrants would have to run from one side of the ship to the other until the vessel was again buoyant.
They landed at Indianola at the time when “northers” were making life miserable and cholera was rampant. Freezing rain tore apart their makeshift tent. The family was stuck on the beach, as there were no means of transportation. Wilhelm and his brother Fritz took on a temporary job aboard an English surveying vessel. Six weeks later when they returned to Indianola, their parents had left for New Braunfels, leaving instructions for the boys to make their way.
A young man named Adam Wuest was delivering mail from New Braunfels to Indianola and told the boys that they could come along with him on his return trip. Fritz left the two at Peach Creek and Wuest and Wilhelm finally arrived in New Braunfels in the middle of the night. Wuest had a small one room house without room for Wilhelm so Mrs. Wuest made him a bed of cedar logs and he slept out in the street.
This spot where the Wuest house was located on Seguin St. later became the site of the Homann Saddlery and finally the location of the subject of this article, the New Braunfels Coffee Company (across from Naegelin’s Bakery).
If Wilhelm Zuehl could have looked into the future, he would have seen what became of that property; a saddlery and eventually a two story building in which Otto Vogel operated a coffee company.
In 1921, brothers Arthur and Gilbert Zipp purchased the New Braunfels Coffee Co. from Vogel. The business moved in 1940 to the corner of 315 W. San Antonio St. next to the railroad track. The New Braunfels Coffee Company ended its business in the basement of the San Antonio St. building, finally closing forever in 1950.
Coffee beans were purchased in 100 lb. bags from Brazil, Columbia, and Mexico and roasted in a large steel tumbler. Then the beans were ground and sold in one and two pound bags. Their Model A truck delivered the coffee to local merchants and restaurants like Ma’s Café, Reimer Grocery, and Valley Fruit Stand. At its height, the company sold 60,000 pounds a month.
The Zipp brothers sold their 100 percent pure coffee under the name “Zipp’s fancy Peaberry” and “Rio”. Then in 1933 they decided to have a contest to name their new blend of coffee. One could enter the contest by filling in a blank enclosed in every package of coffee. Karl Zipp, son of Gilbert has a metal box containing the entries – 385 of them. And the winner was Mrs. Adolph Forke with “Cup-O’Joy”. She won a ten dollar gold coin. Don’t laugh; think of how much that gold coin would be worth today.
Here are some of the entries that attracted my attention, not necessarily good, but interesting:
Remember it was 1933, so some had political connotations like: “Depression”, “Roosevelt”, “New Deal”, “Daily Need”, “Roosevelt’s Prosperity” and “Liberty Bell”.
Others were “Beatsall”, “Howazat Coffee”, “Want More”, “Zipp’s Super Stimulant”, “10 Shun Please”, “Talk of the Table”, “Zipper”, “Zipperior”, and “Wake Up”.
In their heyday, the Zipps had quite an advertising campaign. In 1939, Zipp’s Cup O’ Joy was sent to Gov. W. Lee O’Daniel when the 133rd Field Artillery Band from NB went to Austin to give a concert in honor of the governor. At Gruene Hall, one can still see a sign advertising “Zipp’s Cup-O’Joy” and “Peaberry Coffee” on the left side of the dance floor. Now I think I’ll have a “Cup-O’Joy”, thank you.