Appalachia Christmas

Arbuckle Coffee


“Love the Foxfire books and have all of them. I also subscribe to the magazine, which I highly recommend.

My father, born in 1906, was one of 12 kids (he was the 10th) and there wasn’t a lot of money for Christmas. He and his brothers and sisters talked about the stockings with nuts and oranges, which in those days were hard to come by in winter.

One thing they all mentioned were peppermint candy sticks that came in cans of Arbuckles’ coffee. A candy stick was included in every can and so my Moore grandparents saved them up to hand out at Christmas.

Arbuckles Coffee was born in 1864 and was one of the first coffee roasters who sold roasted coffee in cans. A family firm it finally broke up in the late 1930s. The only surviving brand is Yuban.

A company out West has revived the brand and includes a stick of candy in every can. Here is a link to the Arbuckles history:”

~Richard Moore – December 2014


I don’t remember ever seeing Arbuckles coffee, but I know Granny and Pap loved their stick candy at Christmastime. One of Granny’s brothers will usually bring her a few boxes every year. I guess they have fond memories of the candy too.

I do remember how excited I’d get when Granny got a new cup out of the Quaker Oats box. We drank out of those little clear plastic cups for ages. Every time I see one in a thrift or antique store I feel like I’m 10 years old again.


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 26, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    I love stick candy! Came by it naturally, since our Appalachian family grew up eating this candy at Christmas and sometimes grannies ate it year round. I wanted a box of wintergreen and peppermint this year and could not find it. Daddy and my grandmother loved those white boxes full of old fashioned horehound sticks…I can eat one or two for the memory but that’s about it..Neither did I see a can of hard multi-flavored candies…we used to buy this at the old Sears candy stand in the middle of the store near the in and out doors…LOL
    The JFG Coffee Company building and large sign was visible from the streets in Knoxville as you passed. The aroma of the beans cooking would permeate the area and starve you to death for coffee, even if you didn’t drink coffee…LOL
    I loved those days…when we took coffee coupons back to the company for gifts…no much because we could never save that many of them…LOL
    Thanks for this post Tipper…Makes me want to try the Arbuckles coffee and their peppermint sticks..

  • Reply
    Jay A Clark
    December 14, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Arbuckle coffee is still available. They have a website and at least one store (in San Antonio, TX). I have two of the green oatmeal glasses my Granny Clark gave me in the mid 1950s. Treasures.

  • Reply
    Yecedrah Beth Higman
    December 14, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    I grew up through the 50’s and 60’s and I remember Crystal Wedding Oats as well as Quaker Oates. The Crystal Wedding Oates had clear glass dishes in them. My momma collected these too. I remember the dishes in Duz washing powder, the very big boxes. They were a cream color with a golden wheat pattern and had a gold band around them. They are really pretty. I still have a set of them.

  • Reply
    Vann Helms
    December 14, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    For us, it was tangerines and nuts. Mama would put them in boxes with our names on them. It was the only time all year we got tangerines. For little kids, they were easy to peel. We also got peppermint sticks in the boxes. (We didn’t have a chimney, therefore, no stockings.) We thought they were from Santa. The nuts were all in their shells, and we had to work to get at the meat. I believed until I was eight. I miss the magic of belief. Check out my website for snow pictures.

  • Reply
    December 14, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Memories sure are precious to recall especially at this time of the year. Like Richard wrote, the stockings with nuts and oranges were the exact same “special” gift for each of my Mother’s brothers and sisters – there being 11 of them. To them it was a wonderful gift especially because they didn’t get oranges at any other time. I never asked but the stockings may have just been their socks although my grandmother was a phenomenal seamstress and might have made them. They loved the peppermint stick candy too and I remember having it at my grandparents. My Mother always loved the orange slices of candy that was covered in sugar. I have never seen a family with so many siblings that throughout their lives showed love and support to each other and back then they hardly had any money after their father died suddenly with double lobar pneumonia.( We didn’t have penicillin yet.) It was wonderful time to be with any of them and listen to the old stories.

  • Reply
    December 14, 2018 at 11:40 am

    We always looked forward to getting the peppermint stick candy. We might have got 1 toy, but to us it was the happiest time. We also couldn’t wait to get a cup from the oats. Sometimes you would get a clear cup but it was awesome to get the blue one. Thanks fot that memory Tipper. God Bless!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 14, 2018 at 11:17 am

    I’m not much of a candy eater but I can put away some of them soft peppermint sticks. You know, the kind you don’t lick or chew. You just break off bite sized pieces, put them in your mouth and hold them there til they melt away. Them peppermint pillows you get at restaurants are the same stuff. Yummy!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2018 at 11:16 am

    I too remember the joy of Mom pulling cups and towels from boxes. I also remember the pretty colorful material in feed sacks. Many little West Virginian children sported the pretty little dresses from feed sacks. Most mothers sewed, and my mom was always partial to practical plaid which as far as I recall was never in feed sacks. A special treat was Cracker Jacks, which I never really cared for but loved pulling the prizes out.

    As time went on later there was commodity cheese, and that had to be the best cheese in the world. A Civics teacher jokingly told once he bet there wasn’t a child in the county who hadn’t had some of that cheese. It was so plentiful that folks would barter or trade for other items. This was probably illegal, but those humble folks of bygone days were just trying to survive. It was not uncommon to trade skills, also, rather than charge for them. Those were good days when everything was important, and nothing was ever wasted. Thanks for the memory, Tipper.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      December 14, 2018 at 11:11 pm

      How well I remember “welfare cheese”. We didn’t get “commodities” but our next door neighbors did. I kept up with when the “commodities” were given out so I would know when to be a friendly neighbor. That cheese was the best stuff I ever ate. It is the standard on which I have judged my cheeses ever since. The closest I can come to the consistency and flavor is a sharp cheddar. I have tasted cheeses that came close but none have been its equal.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    December 14, 2018 at 11:14 am

    I have most of the green oatmeal glass that was Mama’s. It’s really pretty but it shows how portion sizes have expanded over the years. I think the juice glass might hold 4 ounces.

    We got fruit, nuts and candy in our stockings and were thrilled with it. Anything store bought was a big treat for us.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    December 14, 2018 at 11:09 am

    My Mama and Daddy swore by those big bags of Eight O’clock coffee. One time I heard Mama talking about a coffee called Seven Thirty. Guess they wanted to get there First.

    Maybe it’s my taste thats changed, but it seems the Eight O”clock has changed since I was a kid. I think they put the leaves in also now, so I just buy Maxwell House or Folgers in those plastic cans.
    I put stuff in them when they’re empty. Nowadays I buy coffee in the “half caffeine” cause it makes my heart flutter. I never heard of Arbuckle Coffee. …Ken

  • Reply
    December 14, 2018 at 10:26 am

    I’ve not heard of Arbuckles coffee either but sure do remember the free things my granny received in various products. In the oatmeal she had green glass glasses ,..with tea, glass tea glasses,….they always bought flour in 50 lb bags to make dish towels out of the bag…, also free towels with breeze detergent. My sister and I loved to take baths at granny’s house because of all those towels 🙂 . When I was young, with a certain brand of lite bread at Christmas you would receive sheet music for a carol…I loved that, and oh the joy of crackerjacks.

  • Reply
    December 14, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Yuban is my husband’s favorite coffee, although our kids say he makes it so thin it’s no more than “dirty water”. They even bring tubes of some coffee enhancer to add to their cups of coffee when they are here. Anyway-hubby will make a special trip to a store about 45 minutes from here to get his Yuban. He buys 4 cans and freezes it until he needs a new can.

    I don’t remember plastic cups in our Quaker oats – seems we got spoons – not sure though – memory is a bit foggy today.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    December 14, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Whenever I have heart flutters I call it the arbuckle thumps. Arbuckle coffee was before my time but I got the expression from Dad. Only in the last few years did I know that Arbuckle was a coffee.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A Paul
    December 14, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Your oatmeal cup reminds me of the jam jars that were juice glasses when empty.

  • Reply
    Richard Shepherd
    December 14, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Brings back such good memories of 61 years ago when I was 10 years old…..Mom would have coffee going for her and Dad of a morning…..That’s the first wonderful aroma I would smell….Then came the delicious scents of breakfast……These days I start my mornings off with a pint of spring water, then coffee and a light but tasty breakfast…..I enjoy your posts Tipper…..Thank You!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 14, 2018 at 8:20 am

    I do not recall ever having seen Arbuckles coffee. I know it is featured in a lot of western fiction. And there are Arbuckles Mountains in Oklahoma and ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle the actor.

    I do recall the promotions of the late 1950’s of wash rags or glasses being included in big boxes of detergent. But I do not remember which brand or brands. That idea of including a reward with the product must have had a long run. My Mom had a plate plugging a Crosley dishwasher that I understand was given out at movie theaters back in the day. She prized it because she worked at Crosley in Cincinnati for awhile. Then of course there is Cracker Jacks.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    December 14, 2018 at 7:33 am

    I remember Christmas as a kid! For one thing, it was the only time of the year that we got oranges. And English walnuts and Brazil nuts. A produce truck would bring these things to my uncle Rush Mauney’s store at the corner of Murphy Hwy and Gumlog Rd. in Union County, GA.(Uncle Rush eventually sold the store to the Beavers family) My mother would buy a bag of oranges and we would get some nuts too. I hardly ever eat an orange without thinking what a treat an orange was in the late ’40’s and early ’50’s.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 14, 2018 at 6:59 am

    I don’t remember Arbuckle coffee, but then I never drank much coffee till I was in older. I do remember the dishes in laundry detergent, that was a big thing for a while.
    I also remember S&H Green Stamps that came with grocery purchases. I still have a clock purchased with green stamps!
    There were lots of gimmicks to entice folks to be loyal to a particular brand or store.

  • Reply
    December 14, 2018 at 6:53 am

    I have one of the plastic cups my Mama got out of Quaker Oats. We used to get glassware out out of
    Quaker Oats, too, but I don’t have any of those. I guess they got broken. In the early 80s, Maxwell House Instant Coffee attached clear thick plastic Christmas tree ornaments on their jars of coffee in the fall. Mama made sure to buy the jars with the ornaments and she gave them to me for my two girls. I am dividing them up and giving them their ornaments this year.

  • Leave a Reply