I came across the name-like word Ariosa while doing research for the Isla Tudor post. What did Ariosa refer to? A coffee blend sold during the late 1800s and early 1900s by Arbuckle Bros., which was a well-known East Coast coffee company at that time.
The Arbuckle brothers, John and Charles, started selling coffee that was pre-roasted and packed in convenient one-pound bags in the 1860s. (Up to that point, coffee was typically sold green and in big sacks or barrels). They also extended the shelf-life of their roasted beans by glazing them with an egg-sugar mix. Perhaps most importantly, they marketed their coffee products aggressively (and rather cleverly).
Ariosa, a blend that was introduced in 1873, ended up becoming the first coffee brand to attain national renown in the United States. Arbuckles’ Ariosa was particularly popular among Westerners, including cowboys and ranchers. It was often referred to as “the coffee that won the west,” in fact. Ariosa dominated the Western coffee market for many decades, and was available for purchase until the 1940s.
The word Ariosa caught my eye because of its resemblance to the trendy baby name Aria (now ranked 29th). It also reminded me of Liliosa, which could be considered a fanciful form of Lily (ranked 25th) or Lillian (ranked 26th).
How did the Arbuckles come up with the word “Ariosa”? No one knows for sure, but the two most popular theories suggest it’s an acronym:
- Arbuckle + Rio + South America
- Arbuckle + Rio + Santos (another Brazilian coffee port)
The word Ariosa is also similar to the Italian musical term arioso, which is basically operatic singing that is not quite as formal as an aria.
So has Ariosa ever been used as a baby name before? Yes, but infrequently. It has never appeared in the SSA’s baby name data, but I do see one Ariosa in the SSDI and I’ve spotted several others on historical U.S. censuses.
What do you think — would Ariosa make a good name for babies being born today?
- Balthazar, Scott L. Historical Dictionary of Opera. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2013.
- Funderburg, Anne Cooper. “Cowboy Coffee.” True West 1 Jul. 2001.
- Ukers, William Harrison. All About Coffee. New York: The Tea and Coffee Trade Journal Company, 1922.
- Williams, Jacqueline Block. “Arbuckles’.” The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, ed. by Andrew F. Smith. Oxford: Oxford Publishing Company, 2007.
P.S. Here are a few more names names associated with coffee.