Folgers Coffee History: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

folgers coffee history

Since 1850, Folgers Coffee has remained a classic name in the world of coffee. Today, the company is valued at two billion dollars and corners the biggest coffee market in America. In 2016, Brandspark stated that Folgers topped the list as the “most trusted coffee brand” in the United States.

With connections to Benjamin Franklin, the Gold Rush, and NASCAR, there’s nothing more American than a cup of Folgers.

Folgers Coffee History: Taste, caffeine levels, gluten-free concerns, what kind of beans and grind are used, how many cups you can get, and if you can make whipped coffee, cold brew, iced coffee, or espresso, this guide will answer your questions about your morning cup of joe. Folger’s has more than 17 flavors of, instant coffee, and pod options.

Check out these answers to top coffee brand questions in our Folgers coffee history guide that will tell you everything that you need to know.

Folgers Coffee History – Why is Folgers So Popular?

Folgers is so popular because it was one of the first American companies that produced instant, ground, ready-to-brew coffee at an inexpensive price. Since the 1990s, Folgers bright red coffee cans have been a staple in households across the US.

It didn’t hurt that the company came up with the catchy jingle, “The best part of wakin’ up is Folgers in your cup” that sold millions of Americans on the iconic brand.

Does Folgers Coffee Come With a Scoop?

Folgers stopped adding the usual 2 tablespoon scoop to their coffee cans as far back as 2015.

While Folgers no longer includes a scoop with their coffee with the goal to go green and reduce waste, the company has offered to send customers a complimentary coffee scoop upon request.

Why Does Folgers Coffee Smell and Taste so Bad?

There are several reasons why your Folgers coffee could smell or taste bad.

Another reason why your coffee might taste or smell bad (a musty, moldy, or ammonia smell) is if moisture has penetrated the coffee. Coffee also absorbs smells from its environment, so check if anything has spoiled in your cupboards. 

In some areas, the water used may not be filtered to ensure chemicals such as chlorine or natural bacteria aren’t contaminating the water used to brew your coffee. If coffee is stored in damp or hot locations instead of a cool, dry place, this can cause the usually shelf-stable coffee to go rancid.

This will give the coffee a bad taste and smell. 

If you open a Folgers coffee and don’t like the smell or taste, but it doesn’t seem to have gone bad, it’s possible that your taste buds are used to a different quality coffee than the commercial budget brands (hey! No coffee snobs).

It’s important to know that while Folgers (owned by J.M. Smucker) recognizes concerns about ethical responsibility, working conditions, and sustainability, they do not currently have certifications to demonstrate that their coffee supply chain is free from herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides.

Why is Folgers Coffee So Bitter?

Folgers coffee can taste on the bitter side due to the brand’s blend. One of the reasons why Folgers can offer affordable instant coffee is because they blend 60% what experts consider inferior Robusta coffee beans with 40% quality Arabica beans.

The bitterer Robusta beans keep the cost down while the tastier Arabica beans help balance out the blend’s flavor. By pairing low-cost beans with expensive beans, Folgers creates a custom blend that lands on the bitter-tasting side.  

If coffee grind is too fine or too course, this factor can also cause a lack of flavor or bitter taste. A good way to keep your Folgers from developing a more bitter or off taste is to keep your coffee tightly sealed in the refrigerator. Always use the coffee by its best-by day to enjoy the flavor at its height.

What Kind of Beans Are in Folgers Coffee?

The coffee supply chain sources its coffee beans from all over the world. Folgers uses two mountain-grown types of beans, Robusta and Arabica. The company sources Robusta from the hills in South and Central America, while the Arabica beans come from Indonesia and the African continent.

For example, Folgers’ dark, smooth, and bold Black Silk K-cup offers the best of both worlds with Robusta’s sturdy, full-bodied flavor balanced out by Arabica’s fruity, sweet notes.

While Folgers blends two kinds of beans, every coffee blend is made from 100% coffee with no fillers.

folgers coffee classic roast

How Much Caffeine Does Folgers Have? 

If you’re brewing a cup of joe at home, it’s normal to have a higher caffeine level than in coffee purchased at a coffee shop or restaurant.  

The South American Robusta beans that Folgers uses for 60% of its ground coffee blends are high in caffeine. Arabica beans don’t make as strong coffee since they are less bitter and lower in caffeine. For example, the Arabica bean typically have 1.7% of caffeine while Robusta beans contain almost double that amount at up to 2.5% caffeine.

According to brand research, an 8-ounce cup of Folgers coffee brewed at home can have anywhere from 56mg to 176mg of caffeine. Since 112mg is considered the median range, most home-brewed cups of Folgers are considered to have high caffeine.

If you’re looking for a caffeine level breakdown per scoop, Folgers coffee has 30-40mg of caffeine in each tablespoon of ground coffee. With anywhere from 2-3 scoops of coffee used, this comes out to 60-80mg of caffeine in 12 ounces of brewed Folgers coffee. The caffeine level can also vary depending on coffee amounts and brewing times.

Here’s a breakdown that shows how much caffeine is in each type of Folgers coffee.

Folgers Coffee TypeCaffeine Per CupCup Size
Folgers Classic Roast148 mg12 oz
Black Silk Coffee K-cup100 mg12 oz
Folgers 1/2 Caf Coffee52 mg12 oz
Folgers 100% Colombian Coffee112 mg12 oz
Folger’s Breakfast Blend112 mg8 oz
Folgers Country Roast60-80 mg6 oz
Folgers French Roast112 mg8 oz
Folgers House Blend60-80 mg6 oz
Folgers Gourmet Supreme112 mg8 oz
Folgers Simply Smooth Decaf2.4 mg6 oz
Folgers French Vanilla (instant)20 mg23 oz
Folgers Hazelnut Decaf0.3 mg8 oz
Folgers Coffee House Blend112 mg8 oz
Table – Caffeine Per Cup of Folgers Coffee

Folgers K-cup pods range in caffeine level from 57-150mg of caffeine depending on the type.

Folgers vs. Maxwell House Caffeine Content

Compared to competitive and affordable commercial coffee brands such as Maxwell House, Folgers has a lower caffeine content. 

For example, Folgers coffee has an average of 40mg of caffeine in each cup, while Maxwell House lands in at 112mg per cup. With higher caffeine content, Maxwell House can start your morning with a bigger jolt.

With Maxwell House’s Max Boost blend, you can even consume more caffeine without upping your liquid intake. Max Boost is 3 times the strength of regular Maxwell House ground coffee with up to 196mg of caffeine, which makes it over 4 times higher in caffeine than an 8 oz. cup of Folgers brand. 

What Process Does Folgers Use to Decaffeinate Coffee?

According to Folgers patented process, the brand decaffeinates their classic instant decaf coffee using ethyl acetate. This is a natural substance found in bananas and apples. After they use ethyl acetate on the crystals to eliminate caffeine, the beans are steamed and then roasted.

Is Folgers Coffee Course Ground or Fine Ground?

Folgers pre-ground coffee is considered a medium grind. This means that the coffee grind consistency is similar to sea salt, neither too fine like powder or too coarse like kosher salt. 

Is Folger’s Coffee Gluten-Free?

Yes and no. While Folgers coffee doesn’t contain added gluten, it also isn’t certified gluten-free. A certified gluten-free manufacturing environment requires separate equipment and testing to ensure that there is no cross-contamination.

While this may work for gluten-sensitive people, people with Celiac disease may wish to opt for a certified gluten-free coffee brand.

Can You Use Regular Folgers Coffee for Cold Brew or Iced Coffee? 

Yes, but you’ll want to choose a coarse grind for cold brew. You can use Folgers regular cold coffee to create an iced coffee drink. For a cold brew, Folgers Coffeehouse blend offers great taste with a fragrant aroma.

Can You Use Folgers for Espresso?

It depends. Since Folgers coffee works better for instant coffee, coffee machines, and pour overs, using it to make espresso won’t create the same result as using a grind designed for espresso. 

If you want to use Folgers to make an espresso, it’s a good idea to buy Folgers whole beans and grind them fine at home to produce the right texture for espresso.

Can You Make Whipped Coffee with Folgers Classic Roast?

Yes, you can use instant coffee such as Folgers Classic Roast to make whipped coffee. Whipping coffee can take anywhere from 2-5 minutes, faster with a hand mixer or a little longer with a whisk. This makes it a great option even for a busy morning.

Can I Use Folgers in a Percolator?

Yes, Folgers coffee works well with a percolator. It’s best to use a coarse grind for a percolator brew, but you can also use Folgers pre-ground coffee, too. Like a drip coffee machine, a percolator lets hot water flow to soak the coffee grounds. This creates a bolder flavor and more extraction than drip coffee.

Can You Freeze Folgers Coffee?

Yes, you can freeze Folgers ground coffee. In fact, the company suggests storing your Folgers coffee in the freezer or refrigerator with a tightly sealed lid to extend shelf life and preserve optimal flavor. Folgers coffee can last for up to two years if properly sealed and store in the freezer.

Can You Buy Folgers with Food Stamps? 

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), you can use food stamps to buy un-brewed and packaged coffee, including Folgers. Any hot or ready-made beverages aren’t eligible for SNAP benefits.

Why Does Folgers Coffee Make Me Poop?

Some types of coffee act as a super stimulant. If you find yourself running to the bathroom an hour or two after drinking a cup of Folgers coffee, it’s a result of hormone releases that trigger motility or movement in your large intestine.

Folgers coffee, like many coffee brands, stimulates your gastrointestinal system. When you drink a cup of coffee, this stimulates the release of cholecystokinin and gastrin hormones.

These hormones induce your gastrocolic reflex.  Since coffee acts as a stimulant to speed up this process and trigger muscle contractions through the digestive tract, this speeds up the transit process through the body.

Keep in mind that the hotter the cup of coffee, the faster this process may occur.

Folgers French Roast

How Much Folgers Coffee Do You Need to Make One or More Cups?

As a rule, a regular coffee scoop holds about 2 tablespoons. When making a cup of Folgers, the real question is if you prefer a weaker or stronger cup of coffee.

One cup equals 8 oz. Add 1 scoop to 2 cups of coffee to make a lighter brew or add one scoop per cup to make a stronger flavor. The water content will also depend on if you’re making an iced coffee or a plain black brew. Use cold water and an appropriate leveled scoop of coffee to get started.

Here’s how much Folgers coffee you will need to make up to 12 cups and beyond.

Coffee CupsAmount of WaterScoops of Folgers
1 Cup8 oz1 tbsp
2 Cups16 oz2 tbsp
3 Cups24 oz3 tbsp
4 Cups32 oz4 tbsp
5 Cups40 oz5 tbsp
6 Cups48 oz6 tbsp
7 Cups56 oz7 tbsp
8 Cups64 oz8 tbsp
9 Cups72 oz9 tbsp
10 Cups80 oz10 tbsp
11 Cups88 oz11 tbsp
12 Cups96 oz12 tbsp
Table – Amount of Folgers Coffee Needed For Cups (scoop = tbsp)

Keep adding water and coffee in proportion for up to 100 cups. Add additional scoops (tbsp) for stronger-tasting coffee

How Long Will Folgers Last?

Once you open a package of Folgers, the ground coffee is good in general for 3 to 5 months beyond the best-by date if stored in the pantry. K-cup pods are typically good for 8-12 months if stored on a shelf. If you store your Folgers coffee in the freezer, this can maximize its life and taste by 1 to 2 years past the best-by date.

Keep in mind that while Folgers states that they cannot guarantee taste or quality if used beyond the stated best-by date, the coffee may still be good for months or even years if stored in the proper conditions and should be assessed on a case-to-case basis.

Folgers Ground CoffeeCheck Best-By Date on Package1-3 weeks
Folgers Decaf CoffeeCheck Best-By Date on Package1-3 weeks
Folgers Instant Coffee CrystalsCheck Best-By Date on PackageUp to a month after opening
Folgers Coffee SinglesCheck Best-By Date on PackageUp to a year after opening
Table – Folgers Expiration

Folgers Coffee History In A Nut Shell

Folgers has a long-standing reputation as a popular, budget-friendly instant coffee brand.

With over a dozen flavors, ground canned coffee, instant coffee, and pods available, there are a lot of options to get your day started right.  

Folgers is a good option if you want to make a variety of iced or hot coffee drinks. As the #1 selling coffee brand in America, Folgers is a good choice for people who like their coffee instant, pre-packaged, pre-ground, strong, and with a bitter bean flavor to start the day off with a hassle-free kick.

Folger’s Reinvents Itself – Video

This cool video is an upbeat take on Folgers as an American classic coffee. There is some pour over action in this clip as well. Enjoy!

Christopher Mize

5 thoughts on “Folgers Coffee History: Here’s Everything You Need to Know”

  1. What kind of coffee and grind was used in the 1960s and was advertised by the cloggers and service man coming home for Christmas? I loved the flavor and smell. Tell me what to buy for drip mr. Coffee. Now drinking Aribica Thank you

    1. Hi there Karen,

      That is an interesting question that I just can’t pin an answer on about the advert. But I know for sure that medium-ground coffee was the most popular grind of coffee in the 60’s and was common because of the popularity of percolator and drip coffee makers. And, its still popular today and is a good grind size for most types of coffee. As for Arabica beans, there are many coffees that are made with it.

      And Arabica coffees will generally have a smoother taste than Robusta which tastes a bit harsh to me. If you’ve been using off the shelf varieties coffee, try picking up something that is roasted at a local coffee shop. You’ll find unique coffees that are off the beaten path.

        1. Christopher Mize

          Hey there Don – Just 3 scoops? Lol…

          I can’t get my hands on any of the old Folger’s scoops. I just use plain old measuring spoons.

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