In our September 2023 issue, we introduced you to St. Louis’s influential coffee barons, but there are two more who shaped that important industry: Julius Steinwender and Charles Stoffregen. It was a partnership that reached far beyond Missouri.

By Deborah Reinhardt

Born in 1843, Julius Steinwender was eight years old when he and his parents left Berlin, Germany. He was raised and educated in St. Louis. Charles Stoffregen was born in 1851 in Lippstadt, Germany, and came to St. Louis when he was 14 years old. He attended night school to learn English and worked in a brewery for $25 a month. He later opened a grocery business with his brother in 1873.

Although it’s not clear how Steinwender met Stoffregen, they purchased a coffee roasting business from another businessman in 1876, and moved their operation to North Fourth Street. Their coffee business grew large enough that Steinwender moved to New York in 1885 to manage their eastern branch, housed on Wall Street. By 1902, the New York branch ranked fifth among coffee importers. Eventually, the company had branches all over the world, including in London and Brazil, as well as in Chicago, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia. Yale was the flagship brand of Steinwender-Stoffregen. It was named the best coffee at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. 

Steinwender died in 1912. Stoffregen died in 1930, and a year later, the company was bought for an undisclosed amount by James H. Forbes Tea and Coffee Company.

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