Contest craze: The coffee-drinking record breakers (1927)

Many cups of coffee on table, top view

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In early 1927, the big craze was to see who could drink the most coffee. Dozens of reports popped up around the country, documenting the attempts of several men to break the coffee-drinking record.

In just over a month, the record cup count went from 71 to a bladder-numbing 157 cups (which is 1,256 ounces — almost 10 gallons — so don’t try this at home).

Sanka coffee - Huge cup in 1960

Will try to break world coffee record

Springfield Leader and Press (Missouri) – January 11, 1927

Fergus Falls, Minnesota – The world’s coffee drinking championship, whatever its importance, was at stake today as Gus Comstock prepared to down 100 cups of the breakfast brew, and thus lift the coffee crown from H. A. Streety of Amarillo, Texas.

Comstock is no noviate in coffee confusing, having to his credit 52 cups in 10 hours flat. Streety, however, has downed 71 cups in 8 hours and a half.

Comstock will do his drinking in the window of a hotel. He said ten hours will be enough for 100 cups.

Sets new coffee-drinking record

Reno Gazette-Journal (Nevada) – January 18, 1927

Frank Trachimowitz thinks he is the latest champion at coffee drinking, with a record of ninety cups in three hours, twenty-eight minutes.

Gus Comstock at Fergus Falls, Minnesota, recently downed eighty-five in seven hours, 15 minutes.

New coffee record set: 132 cups in six hours

The News-Herald (Franklin, Pennsylvania) – February 11, 1927

Sioux City, Iowa – The newest world champion is Earl Smith, aged 36, who drank 132 cups of coffee in 6 hours in a java marathon.

MORE: How to make coffee the old-fashioned way, like they did in the 1900s

1960s coffee - Sanka at Click Americana

San Francisco man drinks 157 cups of coffee for record

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) February 25, 1927

In 6 hours 20 minutes, Albert Baker, 28, a salesman living at 1200 Haight Street, drank 157 eight-ounce cups of coffee, thereby setting today a world record in the new indoor sport.

Mrs. Martha May dropped out with her thirtieth cup, and Lou Harriger surrounded 150. The stake was $50.

Sets new coffee-drinking record

The highest number of cups consumed, reported in any dispatch, came recently from Iowa, where 130 cups were downed in a quaffing match. But these were small cups, say the San Francisco contenders.

Baker, who once consumed ten quarts of ice cream in three hours, challenges the world now to a Java contest.

“I train by fasting 24 hours before an event,” he explained. On Lincoln’s birthday, he drank 97 cups.

Baker takes a little milk and sugar with some of the coffee, then drinks a few dozen straight for variety.

ALSO SEE: After vintage automatic coffeemakers like these were invented, mornings were never the same

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