There aren’t many coffee brands that can say they have been around for 100+ years. But we can. Since 1913, we have served Chicago its favorite hometown coffee—Stewarts Private Blend—prepared just as great grandfather Stewart made it. Even today, you’ll find it on store shelves, the can standing out with its signature plaid and our promise, “From our passion to your cup.”
We are proud of our Private Blend and its long and storied history—so come along with us as we share the story behind our iconic blend.
A Century of Tradition
The history of our Private Blend dates back 110 years, to when William A. Stewart founded Stewarts Coffee in 1913. At a time when gourmet coffee and teas were a rarity, he saw an opportunity to both pursue his passion and start a successful business. In Stewarts Coffee, he found the perfect blend (pun intended). During the company’s early days, William went on the road to source the world’s finest coffees and teas. He brought these back to Chicago, where he spent time carefully roasting and blending beans to develop the finest blend of flavor and aroma.
A Recipe for Success
William’s dedication led him to create Stewarts Private Label blend from Central American beans. He meticulously selected beans for quality and consistency and roasted them to perfection. The result is a subtly complex, carefully balanced flavor for a deliciously drinkable cup of coffee.
Once he had found the blend and taste of his dreams, he focused on ensuring the consistency of each and every batch of Stewarts Private Label. Today we still prepare his recipe the same way. We carefully choose only the finest Central American beans and roast them to perfection. When you drink a cup, you’re drinking history, right here in the present. We’ve only made one change, which is to offer Stewarts Private Label in our traditional can as well as in resealable whole-bean and pre-ground bags and single-serve K cups.
Chicago’s Favorite Hometown Coffee
How did Stewarts Private Blend become Chicago’s favorite hometown coffee? Let’s head back in time briefly again.
Once William had perfected his recipe, he focused on building Stewarts Coffee through connections to some of Chicago’s elite establishments. Soon, Stewarts Coffee was being brewed and served at the Drake Hotel and Marshall Field & Company, among others. This was in the 1920s, at a time when trains were the pinnacle of luxury travel. Trains departing from Chicago served Stewarts—and in 1927, a Chicago & North Western Railway train carrying President Calvin Coolidge’s hunting excursion to the Black Hills placed an order for an extra 25 pounds of Stewarts Coffee.
Yet even being the “President’s own” coffee wasn’t the highest honor bestowed upon Stewarts Private Blend. That came when our blend was selected as the “Official World’s Fair Coffee” for the 1933-34 Century of Progress World’s Fair held in Chicago. In the 1960s, Stewarts Private Blend was selected as the official boxcar coffee for the revolutionary Chicago Great Western Railway, which served Stewarts on trains connecting from our city to Minneapolis, Omaha, and Kansas City.
What makes us proudest of all, though, is knowing that Stewarts Private Blend has been the go-to coffee for thousands of coffee drinkers for decades. Coffee loyalty can be strong. Longtime drinkers and fans say it best, in comments like “Best coffee, ever…and the only coffee I have in my house.”
Brewing the Perfect Cup
Stewarts Private Blend can be prepared using any brewing method, from French press and coffee maker to pour over or cold brew. We suggest one tablespoon of ground coffee per cup for most brewing methods, though of course you should adjust (more or less coffee) to your personal preferences, as every coffee drinker is unique.
However you choose to prepare it, we hope you savor your next cup of Stewarts Private Blend. From the moment you take your first sip, take in the rich flavors, smooth texture, and delicious aroma. Know that you are drinking a bit of Chicago history in every cup.
We’d go on, but we have to go. All this talk of Private Blend has us craving a cup, and the roaster just finished a new batch…
About Stewarts Coffee
Stewarts Coffee was established in 1913 by William A. Stewart on Chicago’s West Side—and for 100+ years has made some of America’s best coffee as the city’s oldest family-owned coffee company. This tradition dates back to the 1930s when Stewarts Private Blend Coffee was chosen as the “Official World’s Fair Coffee” during the Century of Progress World’s Fair held in Chicago. Today Stewarts’ passion to serve fine coffees and teas has employees traveling the world to bring customers the very best. Learn more at https://stewarts.com.