What The heckin' heck is a grogg?

The story behind the Grogg


Coffee comes in all shapes and sizes.  If you've been in the coffee drinking business for long you've seen your fair share of flavors and blends.  Light roast, grande, pumpkin spice, are all coffee terms a person who drinks regularly would recognize.  

What about a Highlander Grogg?  Not a particularly attractive name, but instantly distinguished from the flock of other coffee flavors.

Have you seen it on the grocery store shelves?  Or maybe even being offered in a coffee shop.  It's kind of fun to say, Grogg, try it!  Well, here I sit, drinking my coffee wondering, what the heck even is a Grogg?  Where did this silly name even come from?  I'm so used to seeing it I never wondered the origin before.

/By any other name

The origination of the name seems to take influence from the word, "Grog." A grog typically describes a psychoactive beverage, most notably an alcoholic beverage.  Historically used for rum diluted with water by sailors to keep fresh stores of drinking water available to them on long jounreys. 

The Marriam-Webster dictionary tells the tale from the words first used in 1749 (Some other sources cite 1770 being the first use) derived from a man whose nickname was Old Grogram or Old Grog due to his attire being a coat made of grogram cloth.

From this first use the word has evolved and grown to mean a variety of different foods and beverages depending on the culture.

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/Groggy Sailors

After the conquest of Jamaica by England rum started to grow in popularity in the community.  Especially sailors.  Rum rations were dolled out to the sailing crew daily, but this wasn't without its difficulties as you can imagine.  Some sailors would store their rations so they could have multiple drinks in one day.  

Englands Royal Navy's solution was to dilute the rum with water in a 4:1 ratio. Thus creating, what they knew as, Grog. 4 parts water to 1 part rum.  This took care of the hydration problem, the water spoilage problem, and the drunken sailor problem due to the weakening of the drink.

The Royal Navy's grog ration would be in place until 1970.  The rum was 95.5 or 54.6% proof, diluted with a 2:1 water to rum ratio in modern times.  

At 11 AM a call of, "Up Spirits!" may be heard on the deck.  All ranking members of the boat would make their way to the spirit room where they would line up and be given their share of rum and water.

/Ok, but what about coffee?

 So how do we go from a rum water mixture to a coffee flavor?  and what's with the extra "g".  Grogg vs grog, what's the difference?

Well the word grog is still used nowadays, usually describing a drink made with hot water, lemon/lime juice, cinnamon, and sugar.

Grogg, in Sweden, describes a drink not made to a recipe, but a mix of various kinds of alcoholic and soft drinks usually with fruit juice or similar ingredients. 

Still not coffee...

In England the term grog is used for a hot drink, usually made of tea, lemon juice, honey, and a splash of rum.  

Uhg no coffee in that either!

Well turns out a Highlander Grogg flavored coffee gets its name due to the rum-like flavor usually accompanied in the coffee brew.  Many of the brews I looked at also share the same smooth, buttery, low acid tasting profile also.  

/End of the Sea

Basically coffee is just borrowing the word Grogg from other drinks.  Mostly to describe the flavors in the coffee even though no alcohol is present in these drinks.  If you like the sound of the flavors you can most likely find it in any store, although personally, I do not like the taste.  

If you would like to try a delicious, unflavored coffee please check out the website HERE.

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