Nescafe: Solving the Problem of a Coffee Surplus

By Samuel Phineas Upham

Brazil had a challenge during the 1930s. In order to preserve its substantial surplus of coffee, and have room for the annual harvest, it needed someone to sell to. That someone was Nestle, who hired Max Morgenthaler to lead the development effort. By April 1, 1938 the brand Nescafe had been released, with a freeze-dried “gold” version in Europe.

Nescafe’s initial launch in the United States was somewhat mixed. The company kept the branding throughout the 1960s, then it changed to a new brand called Taster’s Choice. This took over the spot that Nescafe occupied for several years, even going so far as to brand the coffee as superior to Nescafe and at a higher price point.

Nestle tried an interesting stunt that today’s audiences might take for granted. They produced a series of episodic commercials for the brand called “The Gold Blend.” This campaign took place only in the UK, and it featured a woman asking a man for coffee to help with a house party. The two become friends over the 12 installments, with a novelization of their friendship released in 1993.

Nescafe came back to the United States as “Nescafe Taster’s Choice,” and it’s sold in both glass and plastic packaging. There was once a Nescafe coffee, and it was entirely accurate to say at one point that Nescafe was no different from Taster’s Choice. Today, that is no longer true. The Nescafe brand has come to mean any one of 37 different freeze-dried coffees.

Truly a worldwide coffee, Nescafe is voted as one of India’s top 100 trusted brands.

Samuel Phineas Uphamis an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Samual Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.