Postum, we hardly knew ye
February 18, 2008 4:28 PM   Subscribe

Postum, 1895 - 2008, RIP

Postum had a small but loyal following of Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, and assorted nonbelievers who just liked the taste.

You can try the substitutes, or make your own. For the truly desperate, there's always ebay.
posted by rtha (38 comments total)
And thus begins my descent into post-postum depression.

Or not.
posted by MrVisible at 4:33 PM on February 18, 2008

I actually like the taste of Postum. I also, for what it's worth, like the taste of coffee, so I drink more coffee (and decaf) than I've drunk Postum. Still, I'll miss seeing its friendly label on the store shelves...
posted by lleachie at 4:34 PM on February 18, 2008

When I was a wee lad my sisters and I begged our mother to let us try this coffee stuff they drank all the time. She cooked-up a batch of Postum. Even at such an early age I knew that Postum was horseshit.

I recently asked my mom why she'd given us Postum: "I thought it'd sate your curiosity."

Ha ha ha! Oh, mother! What a long, strange caffeine-fueled trip it's been since then!
posted by basicchannel at 4:38 PM on February 18, 2008 [4 favorites]

"George enters]

GEORGE: Well it's over. It's definitely over.

JERRY: She broke up with you?

GEORGE: No, but I can tell she's going to. I can sense it. We had this terrible phone conversation. I was so nervous before I called I made up this whole list of things to talk about.

JERRY: What was on the list?

GEORGE: Let's see, How I'm very good at going in reverse in my car, why isn't Postum a more popular drink,

JERRY: Yeah, Postum is under-rated..."

"The Pez Dispenser" Seinfeld, Season 9
posted by Faze at 4:39 PM on February 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

posted by gingerbeer at 4:40 PM on February 18, 2008

I've been a coffee-drinker since high school, but someone introduced me to Postum when I was in my 20s, and I liked it. I drank it for a while, and then forgot about it for several years. Rediscovered it a year or so ago, and it was a perfect before-bed hot drink: rich, but not sweet or caffeinated.

I'll miss you, Postum.
posted by rtha at 4:44 PM on February 18, 2008

This gets an obit post but we were all silent when Polaroid killed instant film last month? :(

Sorry, Postum, no dot for you!
posted by dobbs at 5:06 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

man, that reads like an Onion article.
posted by nímwunnan at 5:11 PM on February 18, 2008

So will people be suffereing Postum Partum depression?
posted by nímwunnan at 5:12 PM on February 18, 2008


Nah, I just comment on 'em.

*Brought to you by rich, chocolatey Ovaltine*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:25 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

Bought Postum once, out of curiosity. It seemed low-level kitschy. Had about 1/4 of the jar. Left rest of jar untouched for a couple of years. Threw out. Wondered what all the hubbub had been. (I don't own a fedora.)

Same thing happened to a large bottle of Moxie.
posted by not_on_display at 5:26 PM on February 18, 2008

You call this postum‽
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:27 PM on February 18, 2008

If Postum posted, would postum post 'em postumostuously?
posted by not_on_display at 5:28 PM on February 18, 2008

Man, the Arial interrobang looks horrible at this font size.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:30 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you're curious about the taste and your local grocery store is already out, eBay has you covered, for now at least.

My grandfather was one of those who just liked the taste. Of course he was also a life long smoker and had had his salivary glands removed, so go figure. I didn't much care for it myself.
posted by jedicus at 5:45 PM on February 18, 2008

My dad went on postum somewhere in his I'm switching from a balls out bottle of Bacardi, two spliffs and a Cohiba a night hippie to an old man period, he went back on the occasional cup of joe eventually. In the time Postum was featured in my house I would steal sips of it, I was curious because I was allowed weak coffee (my mom is a swede) since I was young, I thought I'd like Postum too. It tasted like depression. Bad depression and the unwashed back seat of a taxi cab.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:45 PM on February 18, 2008 [7 favorites]

Well, dang. I actually like Postum and this explains why I've not been able to find any at the store for quite a while.

If people are really paying $25/bottle for leftover supplies on eBay, surely somebody ought to be able to buy the license and make this stuff at a (small) profit.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 5:51 PM on February 18, 2008

Same thing happened to a large bottle of Moxie.

That's a waste of some perfectly good tonic right there.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:03 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm still bummed that Lawry's took Spatini off the market. I'll try to rustle up a little outrage for Postum too but I don't know if I have it in me.

(I kind of want to try Postum now though. I don't drink coffee and I can't handle a lot of caffeine anymore so I'm always on the lookout for hot drink alternatives. Too late.)
posted by LeeJay at 6:26 PM on February 18, 2008

There's always Chickory (or Ovaltine, which I only drink because of Young Frankenstein)
posted by 445supermag at 6:35 PM on February 18, 2008

rtha, even though I didn't like Postum, I sympathize with your and others' loss in having a liked product discontinued. There've been a number of things I really enjoyed over the years and when the product was radically changed (Paul Mitchell's The Conditioner is now like cheap glue with that damn awapui bs and it used to incredible stuff with real keratin) or went off the market, like the one liquid blush I ever used, or the perfect stain remover, FDS Clean and Gentle now gone, it was so disappointing.

Top 5 Coffee Substitutes l Java without the Jive

I mainline a teaspoon of instant Cafe Bustelo (the cocaine of coffees) once in the morning. True rocket fuel. Not advisable after noon or one won't sleep till 4am.

At night I recommend black tea, or milk with Indian seasonings (cardamom, pepper, clove), (available at Kalustyans, 331T434 Tea Masala), one bag lasts a year. Or there're those ancient faves, Horlicks and Ovaltine
posted by nickyskye at 7:17 PM on February 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

well, i'm glad you managed to find a story about this, as my hometown paper's website doesn't seem to have a word about it

god, the battle creek enquirer sucks
posted by pyramid termite at 8:23 PM on February 18, 2008

My Mormon auntie was more of a Carob gal. The death of Postum has certainly given this blog post a new lease of life.
posted by tellurian at 8:29 PM on February 18, 2008

Never even knew what it was. Until now it existed in my mind wholly undefined, as a part of the phrase "Cafix and Postum", with an association of being old-fashioned, maybe a Monty Burns kind of thing? I just looked up Cafix. A night of education.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:26 PM on February 18, 2008

I just bought the last two cases of Postum in Queens.

See you in hell, motherfuckers!
posted by breezeway at 9:39 PM on February 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


Like some others here, as a child I was given Postum in lieu of coffee. Apparently, Postum was big with the WWII generation due to coffee rationing. I continued to drink it through adolescence and young adulthood, much to the amusement of my sophisticated friends. I have about half a jar sitting in the pantry now. One of my favorite bedtime snacks is a slice of buttered raisin toast and a cup of Postum with milk and sugar. True comfort food.

The world I growed up in is gone. :-(
posted by oncogenesis at 9:51 PM on February 18, 2008

Wherever will Mr. Coffee Nerves find employment now?
posted by louche mustachio at 10:10 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Maybe he can be Mr. Faces of Meth, or something like that.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:17 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Good lord, $40 for an eight ounce jar on Amazon right now. FIVE LEFT IN STOCK.

This is going to break my parents' hearts.
posted by 1 at 10:41 PM on February 18, 2008

I thought Postum was what you used to wash down Ayds diet candy.
posted by Tube at 11:13 PM on February 18, 2008

My folks also drank that stuff when I was growing up. I've gotta tell ya -- never tempted to try it. Ever.
posted by ph00dz at 5:11 AM on February 19, 2008

Hmmm. I've got a jar of this stuff in a kitchen cupboard, I think -- bought it on a whim and never got around to trying it. Forty bucks for an eight-ounce jar? It's a start....
posted by pax digita at 5:25 AM on February 19, 2008

instant Cafe Bustelo

There's something about "instantáneo" coffee that makes it sound muy macho. Certainly more so than "instant" coffee.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:11 AM on February 19, 2008

I vaguely remember Postum from my hybrid Seventh Day Adventist childhood. Put some cream and sugar in it, and it might not have been that bad.
posted by malaprohibita at 7:49 AM on February 19, 2008

I remember my parents had a jar of Postum in the kitchen cabinet when I was a kid (60's). Never tasted it, though. When I got my first "real" job, I noticed one of the engineers had a jar at his desk. And there was a reference to Postum in the Shel Silverstein poem "Don't Bump the Glump". This is oddly sad news.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:51 AM on February 19, 2008


uncleozzy, you're right. Bustelo is genuinely macho, it's Cuban. It's probably what kept Fidel chugging.

Ayds diet candy

Omg, Granny's bedroom night table came back in a flash. I remember those caramels! Just wikipediaed it, yikes, The active ingredient in the candy as reported by the New York Times was phenylpropanolamine, presumably to reduce the sense of taste to reduce eating. It stopped one from tasting? That's sad.

This posthumous Postum partum post has offered so much fun mileage. Can't believe there's been so many laughs in an obit thread about a vintage "nighttime beverage". It's lovely to read the down memory drain comments of either old fart MeFites like myself or people who remember the old farts. I wonder how many of us there are in the blue woodwork? In a way the web is so cool in transcending age and yet once in a while when people remember stuff from a few decades ago, it's so cool to feel a sense of continuity, the river of time or whatever.

Oh man, lol with aww, Divine_Wino, that was a Charles Bukowski of a comment. It tasted like depression. Bad depression and the unwashed back seat of a taxi cab.

When I was writing my comment last night about discontinued products, I was mourning the loss of Fracas perfume by Robert Piguet, which did a Lazarus after a few years off the market, except now it smells like the Woolworth's version. Another thing that poofed off the market was an absolutely marvelous, unlike any other perfume I've smelled, favorite perfume of the last five years (fir balsam, lavender, bergamot, cedar, patchouli and vanilla), something called Plateau by Carapan. In checking out the spelling I discovered that it's on the market again, spoke to the owner on the phone, it's the exact same ingredients as before. Oh frabjous day!

er *ahem* regains mourning posture for Postum.
posted by nickyskye at 9:22 AM on February 19, 2008

Thank the Goddess that Tab still survives. College for me will always conjure up Sobranis and rum and TaBs.

I thought they were both disgusting, but still....
posted by msalt at 9:48 AM on February 19, 2008

While ObitFilter has often given me that "wow, I had no idea they were still alive!" feeling, this is the first time I've experienced it on behalf of an inanimate object. Totally thought Postum went out some time around 1958.
posted by nanojath at 10:55 AM on February 19, 2008

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