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From the Archives: A look back at coffee in Richmond
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From the Archives: A look back at coffee in Richmond

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The history of coffee dates back centuries. In the mid-20th century, American consumers developed an interest in specialty coffee and the industry grew. The first Starbucks opened in Seattle in 1971 as a result of coffee's rising popularity, and as we know, they became a huge success.

In Richmond, C.W. Antrim & Sons was one local coffee producer that had been in business since 1877--it was first known as Antrim & Bowie. For many years the company was located on E. Cary Street, but the building was destroyed by a fire in July 1940. They later reopened at 330 South Tenth Street.

Antrim & Sons imported beans from Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and parts of Africa. One of the company's main blends was made using Brazilian coffee. Other flavors were achieved by blending together beans from all the different countries. Chicory became a popular additive and in the 1950s, Antrim imported their chicory from Holland.

Once a desired blend was achieved, the coffee was placed into a roaster where it was submitted to very high temperatures--around 900 degrees Fahrenheit, for about 18 minutes. From the roaster, the coffee was quickly cooled to retain flavor.

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