In 1879, after being dissatisfied with the quality of the coffee he was receiving for his grocery wholesale business, company founder Herman Hulman decided that he could roast higher quality coffee in-house. Hulman traveled to the east coast to secure a green coffee bean supplier and roasting equipment. As a result of his trip, Hulman forged a business relationship with Jabez Burns & Sons, and returned to Terre Haute, Indiana to begin spice grinding and coffee roasting. Hulman set out to make a coffee suitable for a monarch, yet affordable for paupers.
The United States Trademark and Patent Office first documents Rex Coffee blend for commerce in 1885 and issued a U.S. trademark on June 12th, 1905. Rex Coffee was sold from Chicago to Louisville, Cincinnati to St. Louis. The coffee was roasted and marketed under a myriad of names, the most famous of which being: Rex, Farmers Pride, Dauntless, Crystal and Delicious Sips. Coffee roasting activity remained in Terre Haute until 1968.
During a historic renovation project in 2009 of the original Hulman & Company building in Terre Haute, a leather suitcase used by salesman in the early 1900’s was discovered. This suitcase contained original coffee samples which, paired with old sales catalogs and other historical reference material, were used to help re-create the Rex Original Blend and Farmers Pride Coffee blends sold today.
As a part of the renovation project, it was determined coffee roasting would resume at this historic location. The first floor of the building was restored and today contains Rex Coffee, where all of our coffees are roasted on site; the Clabber Girl Bake Shop, which has breakfast, lunch, retail sales, and catering; and the Clabber Girl Museum, where visitors can experience the rich history of Clabber Girl.