Iconic Horn & Hardart Coffee Makes a Comeback
Horn & Hardart, the historic US coffee brand is back with new packaging, new branding and a new website. The website offers the original H&H blend (now called Liberty Roast); an all-natural decaffeinated coffee; espresso and single-serve K-Cups.
“We’re ecstatic about re-igniting a beloved brand that is a part of Americana,” says Al and Dawn Mazzone, owners of Horn & Hardart Enterprises. The couple has partnered with entrepreneurs John Tooher and Dan Lievens to re-introduce the brand’s coffee – minus the Automats.
Horn & Hardart was founded in 1888 in Philadelphia as a luncheonette at 10th and Chestnut Streets. In 1902, Joe Horn and Frank Hardart revolutionised the way people ordered and ate, with the introduction of the Automat at their 8th and Chestnut Street location. Considered a technical marvel, the restaurant used coin-operated glass and chrome vending machines to dispense food and beverages. In 1912, the partners began building restaurants in New York, starting with an Automat in Times Square. H&H Automats were particularly popular during the Depression era. By the early 1950s, there were a total of 157 Horn & Hardart restaurants with Automats in Philadelphia and New York serving more than half a million patrons per day.
Throughout its inception and growth, Horn & Hardart was always focused on quality coffee. H&H introduced the first fresh-drip brewed coffee to Philadelphia and New York, which replaced a boiled process, and a fresh batch was brewed every 20 minutes in each location. In the 1950s, Automats sold more than 90 million cups of fresh-brewed coffee each year and became known as having the best coffee on the East Coast. But times changed and it became impossible to support so many large Automats as smaller, less expensive fast food chains emerged. The last of the Automats closed in 1991—they exist only inside The Smithsonian Institute’s American History Museum. (A small Horn & Hardart Café exists inside Suburban Station in Philadelphia, but it is not affiliated with Mazzone’s company, nor does it sell Horn & Hardart coffee.)
Today’s H&H coffee is similar to the original coffee but updated to appeal to modern tastes. “The original coffee used chicory and was a darker roast than what the public was used to at the time,” Mazzone explains. “By World War II, the coffee was strong enough to get you out of bed, but also appealed to the after-dinner customer who enjoyed adding milk and sugar.” The original coffee beans were imported from Central and South America. The new H&H Liberty Roast is a blend of 100% Arabica coffee from three countries: Brazil, Colombia and Costa Rica.
H&H also offers decaf, which wasn’t originally available, and is also introducing K-Cups. The price of the Liberty Roast is USD $12.50 for a 12-oz bag; $13.50 for decaf and espresso; and $9.95 for a 12-pack of K-Cups. Shipping is $3.95, but free for orders of three or more bags or K-Cup packs.
The company is also in talks with major national retailers to distribute H&H coffee.
“Our goal is to bring Horn & Hardart coffee back to relevancy – make it as significant as it was in its heyday,” says Al Mazzone.
“We’re really excited about reigniting a national treasure that has been dormant and rekindling excitement in the generation that yearns for a side of nostalgia with their cup of Joe,” says Tooher. “Our challenge at the same time is figuring out how to appeal to a younger generation of coffee lovers who are new to the H&H name.”
Learn more about Horn & Hardart and/or order the coffee by visiting: https://HornAndHardartCoffee.com.