This page uses content from Wikipedia and is licensed under CC BY-SA.


Product typeCoffee
OwnerThe J.M. Smucker Company
CountryUnited States
Introduced1850 (1850)
MarketsNorth America
Previous ownersProcter & Gamble (1963–2008)
Tagline"The Best Part of Wakin' Up is Folgers in Your Cup"
1898 Advertisement for J. A. Folger & Company coffee[1]
Folger's Golden Gate Coffee advertisement, early 20th century

Folgers Coffee is a brand of coffee produced in the United States, and sold there, in Canada and in Mexico. It forms part of the food and beverage division of The J.M. Smucker Company. Since the early 1990s, it has been the largest-selling ground coffee in the United States.[2]

Company history

The precursor of the Folger Coffee Company was founded in 1850 in San Francisco, California, U.S., as the Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills. The founding owner, William H. Bovee, saw an opportunity to produce roasted and ground coffee ready for brewing.[3] Before that, Californians had to purchase green coffee beans, and roast and grind them on their own. To help build his mill, Bovee hired James A. Folger as a carpenter. James had arrived from Nantucket Island at the age of 15 with his two older brothers during the California Gold Rush. In the 1850s, kerosene began to offer a cheaper alternative to whale oil, which had been Nantucket's life-blood, resulting in the re-purposing of many of its ships to bring coffee from South America to San Francisco.[4] After working at Bovee’s mill for nearly a year, James had saved enough money to stake a claim in the company and headed out to mine for gold. He agreed to carry along samples of coffee and spices, taking orders from grocery stores along the way. Upon his return to San Francisco in 1865, James became a full partner of The Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills. In 1872, he bought out the other partners and renamed the company to J.A. Folger & Co.

In 1861, James married. He and his wife had four children, and two of the children worked for the family business. In 1889, James died, and his oldest son, James A. Folger II, stepped into the role of president of J.A. Folger & Co at the age of 26.

In the 1900s, the company began to grow dramatically due primarily to a salesman named Frank P. Atha. Atha sold coffee in the California area, but proposed to James Folger II that he open and manage a Folgers Coffee plant in Texas. The company grew exponentially after Atha opened the Texas plant.

Under the mid-20th century leadership of Peter Folger, the brand became one of the principal coffee concerns in North America, the world's largest coffee market. Procter & Gamble acquired Folger's in 1963[5] and removed the apostrophe from its name.[citation needed] During P&G’s ownership, Folgers became the number one coffee brand in America.

P&G announced in January 2008 that Folgers would be spun off into a separate Cincinnati-based company[6] but reversed itself that June and announced Folgers would be acquired by the end of 2008 by The J.M. Smucker Company.[7][8] Utilizing a rare financial technique called a Reverse Morris Trust, Smucker purchased Folgers in November 2008 and made it a subsidiary.


Twelve brands of Folgers are available in the United States

  • Classic Roast, including Classic "Red Can" and half-caffeine medium roasts
  • Classic Complements, including Gourmet Supreme (Dark Roast), 100% Colombian (Medium-Dark Roast), French Roast (Medium-Dark Roast), Black Silk (Dark Roast) and Breakfast Blend (Light Roast)
  • Simply Smooth, a medium roast coffee
  • Flavored Coffee, including Hazelnut, French Vanilla, Chocolate Silk, and Cinnamon
  • Folgers Gourmet Selections, a line of varietal and flavored coffees
  • Instant Coffee, Folgers Crystals available in Regular and Decaf
  • Singles, single serve packets
  • Home Cafe Pods, for use with one cup brewing systems such as HomeCafe.
  • Cappuccino, instant French Vanilla and Mocha Chocolate cappuccino powder
  • Folgers Flavors Coffee Enhancers, including Caramel, Vanilla, Mocha, and Hazelnut
  • Folgers Iced Café Coffee Drink Concentrates, including Original Latte, Caramel Macchiato, Vanilla Latte, and Hazelnut Latte
  • 1850 a premium brand launched in 2018 available in Whole-bean, Ground, K-Cup® pods, & Iced Coffee

In Canada, Folgers is primarily available as Classic Roast and Mountain Roast.

In the United Kingdom, Folgers Instant Crystals are available.


Folgers coffee ad from the 1960s

Folgers is promoted with the slogan "The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup!" It is well associated with a jingle featured in almost every advertisement since 1984, with lyrics by Susan Spiegel Solovay and Bill Vernick, and music by Leslie Pearl. Over the years it has been rearranged and performed by many famous musicians, such as Ritchie Havens, Randy Travis, Aretha Franklin, and Rockapella.

From 1965 to 1986, Folgers was known for television ads involving "Mrs. Olson", a Swedish neighbor played by Virginia Christine who invariably recommended a cup of Folgers coffee for the characters in the commercial.[9]

Folgers promoted their instant coffee in the 1970s and early 1980s ads which took the viewer inside various 'high-end' restaurants while a voice-over (by Bryan Clark) whispered to the viewer that they've secretly switched the coffee used at the restaurant with Folgers, and watched the restaurants' patrons to see if they could tell whether or not they noticed the difference.

One Folgers television ad from 1985 became particularly associated with the Christmas holidays. A college student returns home, and the smell of freshly brewed coffee awakening his parents and alerting them to their son's arrival. The Cunningham & Walsh spot aired yearly until 1998, then in edited form in 2004 and 2005.[10]

In the mid-1980s Folgers became a NASCAR sponsor. After a trial season with the Joe Ruttman driven, Larry McClure owned Chevrolet in 1985, Folgers expanded its sponsorships.[11][12][13]

In 2006, the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi created a viral advertisement, popularly known as "Happy Mornings", in which a large group of cheerful singers and dancers appear at sunrise as the sun itself to wake people up.

In 2014, the brand celebrated the 30th anniversary of the famous jingle.[14]

The Folger Building

The Folger Coffee Company Building at 101 Howard Street, San Francisco

The brick, five-story Folger Coffee Company Building at 101 Howard in San Francisco, California is the former headquarters of Folgers. It is listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places.[15] The building still has a sign saying "The Folgers Coffee Company" on one corner. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has its California campus on the top floor.

On August 2, 2011, the Folger Building was purchased by the University of San Francisco, marking a return to the university's roots in downtown San Francisco.[16]

In the news

Abigail Folger, an heiress to the company fortune and a friend of actress Sharon Tate, was one of the five victims who, including Tate, were brutally murdered in the early morning hours of August 9, 1969 by Charles Manson's "family" while she was visiting Tate.


  1. ^ Bachedler, Horace W. (1898). Illustrated Rostr of California Volunteer Soldiers in the War With Spain. San Francisco: Bonestel & Co. p. 17.
  2. ^ "Leading regular ground coffee vendors, 2016 - Statistic". Statista. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  3. ^ Amy Jenness (August 25, 2016). "A Look Back ... Folger Brothers: Not Just Coffee". Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  4. ^ Nathaniel Philbrick, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, Viking, 2000.
  5. ^ "About us". Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  6. ^ "P&G Opts for a Folgers Spinoff instead of Sale". Dow Jones Newswire. Archived from the original on 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  7. ^ "The J.M. Smucker Company to Merge P&G's Folgers Business". J.M. Smucker Co. Press Release. June 4, 2008.
  8. ^ "The Marketing Doctor Says: Smuckers Buys Folgers" Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine Marketing Doctor Blog. June 6, 2008.
  9. ^ "Virginia Christine, TV's Mrs. Olson, 76". Associated Press in New York Times. Blog. July 26, 1996. Retrieved 2009-02-11. Virginia Christine, a character actress who portrayed the motherly Mrs. Olson in Folger's coffee television commercials for 21 years, died on Wednesday at her home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. She was 76. The cause was heart complications, her family said.
  10. ^ "Folgers "Peter" Tells of Classic Christmas Commercial". Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  11. ^ "Tim Richmond 1986 drivers statistics". Racing Reference. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  12. ^ "1987 Benny Parsons Drivers Statistics". Racing Reference. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  13. ^ "1988 Ken Schrader Driver's Statistics". Racing Reference. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  14. ^ "Folgers Coffee - The Best Part of Wakin' Up - Folgers Coffee". Archived from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  15. ^ "National Register of Historic Places - California (CA), San Francisco County". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-05-25.
  16. ^ "University of San Francisco (USF) - USF Purchases Historic Folger Building". Archived from the original on 9 August 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2017.

Further reading

  • The Folger Way - Coffee Pioneering since 1850 by Ruth Waldo Newhall (1961) (no ISBN)

External links