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East Bay Inventions – Popsicles and Caffe Latte

Published on: July 04, 2012

Oakland and Berkeley, two East Bay San Francisco neighbors, are home to thinkers, writers and inventors. One of the most famous writers, Jack London, is immortalized with a statue at Jack London Square in Oakland, and at the historic landmark, Heinhold’s First and Last Chance Saloon. Definitely visit the little bar when you’re in town. It is something else!

Two contributions to the food world coming out of the East Bay include the Popsicle and the Caffe Latte! TheĀ Popsicle, a frozen sweet treat made with sugar, flavoring and and frozen liquid (mostly water,) was invented by Frank Epperson in 1905. He was just 11 years old at the time, and he batted around the idea of calling it an Epsicle. His invention was a concept created out of necessity and for convenience in eating a frozen treat that melts. His spark of genius was the little wooden stick that holds the dessert while you eat it. Unilever now owns Popsicle and they have licensing agreements with a variety of corporations for frozen treats that include cartoon character shapes and designs.

Caffe Latte, on the other hand, was never trademarked as a brand. It has worked its way into the mainstream and is used by the likes of marketing giants in the coffee world such as Starbucks, Pete’s and others. You can still order a Caffe LatteĀ  at Berkeley’s Caffe Mediterraneum where it was invented back in the 1950’s. The owner who had introduced strong coffee drinks from Europe found his customers wanting more milk and less bitter taste. He worked out a ratio of milk, which was steamed, to satisfy and put smiles on the faces of students at UC Berkeley who loved strong coffee! Today you can still order the coffee concoction the way it was meant to be served and you can also order a meal at the beloved Berkeley establishment.

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