Postum Making a Comeback

Postum, once a popular coffee substitute in many Adventist homes, was discontinued more than a decade ago. A new company was formed to bring it back, and a full-page ad will appear next month in the Adventist Review as senior vice president Peter Hwang works to regain the Adventist market.

Question: Postum, the roasted-grain beverage once popular as a coffee substitute, was discontinued in 2007. But it was reintroduced five years ago, and you are working to get the word out to more potential Postum-drinkers. Please tell us a little bit about the history of Postum and how it came back to the market.

Answer: The history of Postum dates back to over 120 years. It was the first product of the Postum Company that was started back in 1895 by CW Post.

This company went on to become the Postum Cereal Company, which eventually grew to be General Foods. It merged with Kraft Foods, becoming Kraft General Foods. It eventually merged with Heinz and became known as Kraft Heinz.

The Post Cereal division was sold to RalCorp. This is when some products were dissolved. They weren’t sure how to position Postum. Was it a breakfast cereal? Was it to be sold in the coffee aisle?

Can you tell us more about CW Post? How did he come to create Postum?

CW Post had numerous health related issues during his adulthood. In 1891 his wife Ella, along with their four-year-old daughter Marjorie, went to Battle Creek, Michigan to check him into the Kellogg sanitarium to see if they could help him. He actually arrived on a stretcher.

Upper class Americans in the midwest would go to the sanitarium to relax and live a healthy lifestyle. CW did not improve and he moved into a boarding house owned by a Seventh-day Adventist in town. She taught CW all about healthy eating, keeping a healthy mind, and the dangers of caffeine. He was “cured” and after he left, he started to experiment on how to create a product to replace coffee.

After numerous attempts, on January 1, 1895, he came up with what he felt was the right blend of ingredients and named the product Postum. His first attempts at trying to market it to local grocers failed. He didn’t give up and aggressively began advertising it in local publications.

Orders started to come in and the company grew rapidly. Not satisfied with the success of Postum, in 1897 CW Post invented Grape-Nuts. He gave the cereal that name because of the grape smell the product has when in the hoppers in the plant. He advertised Grape-Nuts as a wholesome way to provide your family with a good nutritious breakfast without all the work.

In 1904 he created Post Toasties, which is a corn flake. Toasties was sold for over 100 years in the southern and western states, but the plant could not keep up with production of Honey Bunches of Oats (which use Toasties flakes) and so the company stopped making Toasties as a stand-alone product and now Toasties are just made in-house to be used in Honey Bunches of Oats.

CW was most happy when inventing things. It kept his brain active. His passion was to create and sell products that were not only tasty, but healthy and nutritious for everyone to enjoy.

At its most popular, how much Postum was being sold? And was that during World War II, when coffee was harder to obtain?

In 1949, Postum sales reached $500 million. By 1956, Postum was sold in 71 countries.

Do you know what the sales of Postum was at the time it was discontinued?

Around $14 million per year.

And what are sales like now?

We did a little over $750,000 last year and on track to do close to $1 million this year. Hopefully, we are just getting started.

The Postum name and the secret recipe are now owned by Eliza's Quest Food. What else does Eliza's sell? How did Eliza's come to acquire Postum?

Eliza's Quest Foods only manufactures and sells Postum. It acquired the trade secret and trademark from a small company that convinced Kraft to release them after years of protests from Postum lovers when the produce was discontinued.

Eliza's Quest Foods was started by June and Dayle Rust, who were teachers in North Carolina. They noticed blogs and petitions asking Kraft to bring Postum back and were surprised that hundreds of thousands of Postum customers were just as disappointed as they were that it was taken off the market. Research and development actually began in their home kitchen before officially acquiring the trade secret.

How many employees does Eliza's have?

Five in-house employees. We outsource most of our services, including manufacturing, for the time being.

How much Postum are people buying now? Is the Original flavor the most popular, or is it the newer cocoa or coffee-flavored versions?

Our sales have increased each year by 20%. The Original Flavor is still the most popular, but the Coffee Flavor and Cocoa Blend products are starting to grow. Many of our loyal customers enjoy mixing their Postum with cocoa to drink as a warm beverage or enjoy as a cold, blended drink to have during the Summer months.

Original Postum accounts for roughly 60% of sales, while the Coffee Flavor is around 25% of sales, and Postum Cocoa Blend is 15% of sales.

Who are Postum drinkers? Who is your market? People who don't believe in caffeine? Who can't tolerate caffeine? I believe Mormons and Adventists (both of whom traditionally didn't drink coffee) were previously the biggest consumers?

Our customer base ranges from long-time devoted Postum drinkers who have fond memories of drinking Postum with their parents or grandparents to the younger generation who were introduced to Postum by family members. Postum was a staple in many homes growing up.

Postum drinkers are people who are health conscious. A good portion of our customers are people who do not or cannot drink caffeine, or who want to cut caffeine from their diet. Many vegans and vegetarians do not drink coffee because the acid irritates their stomach. Postum is pH balanced and actually soothes the stomach.

Even coffee drinkers who prefer to enjoy a non-caffeinated drink in the afternoons or evenings are choosing Postum over the other coffee alternative products sold on the market today.

While Seventh-day Adventists and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) are very loyal Postum drinkers, they are not the only people who drink Postum. The biggest customers are those who are health conscious and want a delicious beverage that contains no caffeine and does not irritate their stomach.

How are you marketing to Adventists and Mormons?

We are very grateful for the long-term love and support we have received from the Mormons and Adventists. The Mountain West has been our largest market for the past few years due to the large LDS population in that area. We were live on Studio 5 with Brooke Walker and Good Things, Utah, two popular morning shows in Salt Lake City, Utah.

We currently have six Adventist distributors throughout the US that distribute our products to the local Adventist businesses, including ABC Stores, Village Market, Loma Linda Market, and other local health food stores. We have a full-page ad coming out in the May and June 2018 issues of the Adventist Review, plus 100,000 web impressions. We continually work very closely with the Adventist distributors in offering promotions to pass along to the customers, such as regional campmeeting specials and other quarterly specials throughout the year.

Coffee has continued to rise in popularity -- does this actually benefit Postum?

Just like coffee will always be around, there will always be a market for Postum. Many customers want a hot or cold coffee alternative product. Postum was and always will be considered a healthy beverage and will be sought after by those seeking to reduce caffeine intake or remove completely from their diet. Postum is the Original Coffee Substitute since 1895 and unlike other substitutes, our product does not contain barley or chicory. It has a smoother taste that is created from roasted wheat, bran, and molasses.

What other products are in development? Will you make a version of Postum that people can make in their Nespresso machines or other fancy coffee makers?

We currently have the 8oz retail jars, 42oz wholesale/food service jars, and a 5g single-serving packet that comes 50 per pack. We have tossed around the idea of a Keurig Cup possibly for the future.

Where is Postum being manufactured? How has the original recipe or method of making it changed?

Postum is manufactured in Indiana, in a modern facility that still has access to similar equipment that was used in the original Postum plant. The trade secret is still used. The only change is that Eliza’s Quest Foods took out maltodextrin from corn because this ingredient is potentially a GMO product. Maltodextrin has no flavor and only contributed to darkening the roast. It has been replaced by a non-GMO wheat starch. We feel this is a healthier option. The Postum sold today continues to have the same aroma and flavor as the original product created by CW Post.

Postum was known decades ago for its clever advertising campaigns. Can you describe some of your favorite ads?

The old Postum ads were priceless. We still use some of them in our current advertising because customers continue to love seeing them. Our favorite ad was an article CW Post ran in Life Magazine titled "Why Real Men Crack," focusing on the adverse side effects of coffee consumption. Other favorites include “The Woman Who Cares." This one shows a wife serving Postum to her husband with a scientific explanation why coffee is so bad for your health. There are many more.

What kind of advertising are you utilizing now? How are you getting the word out?

We are focusing on all forms of advertising from television lifestyle morning shows, television commercials, radio, magazines and newspapers to online impressions, online marketing and social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

How did you come to work at Eliza's Quest Foods? Are you the only Adventist employee?

I met June and Dayle Rust at a Food & Beverage Show. I was there exhibiting another product of mine and they had a Postum booth. I remembered the brand from growing up in an Adventist home and I had confidence I could help them grow the business and the brand by leveraging my background in the food and beverage industry over the past 15 years. They brought me on to join the team and I am currently the Senior Vice President of Eliza’s Quest Foods, LLC.

I have been involved in sales my entire career. I always had a strong desire to do sales for as long as I can remember. My first job out of college was for a technology services company, where I was an information technology (IT) recruiter, or headhunter. With zero experience in technology, they saw potential in me and were willing to train me.

In the late 1990s, dot com companies were appearing everywhere. Investors were lining up to throw money at ideas. There were too many jobs, and not enough talent. It was a very good time to be in IT.

However, once the IT bubble started to nosedive in the early 2000s, I wanted to try something new. So I decided to go to South Korea in 2003. I leveraged my bilingual skills along with my love of sales and approached US and international manufacturers in the food and beverage industry and that’s when my career in international trading began. This then eventually led me to manufacturing and branding products of my own, focusing mainly on natural foods and beverages. All products that I either manufacture, sell, or distribute are either non-GMO or organic.

I am currently the only Adventist at Eliza’s Quest Foods. June and Dayle are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as Mormons. They are both very good people. I am thoroughly enjoying partnering with them and playing a key role in bringing Postum back to all of our loyal customers.

What products have you manufactured and branded yourself? Are you still selling them?

I specialize in organic and non-GMO products from fruit and vegetable juice/purees, concentrates, fruit and vegetable powders, natural peanut butter/almond butter, instant breakfast “real oat” oatmeals, and natural seasonings/ingredients. I have an all-natural liquid meat tenderizer that is derived from the enzyme found in the papaya fruit, called papain. This product helps break down the protein molecules. Most papain found on the market comes in a powder and has a very strong odor. However, our product is a liquid and it is odorless, colorless, and tasteless.

You are head elder at the Atlanta Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church in Duluth, Georgia. Do church members that you know drink coffee? Are they interested in Postum?

I was the head elder for the past four years at the Atlanta-Korean SDA Church. I am aware some Adventists these days are drinking coffee. However, I have been doing my best to introduce or reintroduce them to Postum. Many did not even know Postum was still available.

More and more younger people who never heard of it before are becoming interested in Postum. People wanting to reduce their caffeine intake or completely cut out caffeine are amazed at the smooth taste of Postum. Some who are sensitive to caffeine and can only drink it in the mornings can now enjoy a warm and tasty beverage in the afternoons or evenings and not have to worry about being unable to fall asleep at their normal hours.

Peter Hwang is senior vice president of Eliza's Quest Foods. Hwang graduated from Georgia-Cumberland Academy in 1993, then attended Southern Adventist University and graduated in 1997 with a BA in public relations and a minor in business.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
1 Like

Good luck with the venture. I would suggest that with $1 million in sales, five employees and the costs of manufacture, distribution and marketing that this business is still in start up phase and requiring the ongoing support of its owners. Hopefully perseverance will deliver the rewards.

In Australia (to my knowledge) we don’t have Postum. But we have Nature’s Cuppa, made of barley, rye, chicory and roasted malted barley (made in Poland of all places). How does it compare? Anyone tried the two?

I grew up without coffee so I don’t appreciate these roasted beverages, coffee or otherwise.

1 Like

I’ve read some good things about real coffee. Real coffee reduces the risk of colon cancer according to a study in Europe. Real coffee reduces calcification of arteries which reduces the risk of heart conditions. Real coffee also helps to keep you awake when needed.
If Postum has the tast with all new coffee shops opening it may be a winner if marketed properly as an alternative.

I also grew up without coffee. For many years I never even tasted it. I wonder how many young SDA’s nowadays steer clear of coffee for religious reasons? It seems that it is not that health science is against coffee, for the most part, but EGW regards it as a sin.


Yes, and drinking TEA is also a sin right? … :upside_down_face:

1 Like

Don’t worry. Health science will catch up with Ellen White one day.

1 Like

I tried drinking that image of the beast, and promptly, like a good pew warmer,
fell into a deep laodicean sleep.


This is a SDA source. The author states without any medical reference that “caffeine is associated with heart disease.” Thankfully he does not go so far as to call a cup of coffee as EGW says… “Tea and coffee are fostering the appetite which is developing for stronger stimulants, as tobacco and liquor.” “Tea and coffee drinking is a sin, an injurious indulgence, which, like other evils, injures the soul.”

I wonder if the American Heath Ass says? “Whether high caffeine intake increases the risk of coronary heart disease is still under study. Many studies have been done to see if there’s a direct link between caffeine, coffee drinking and coronary heart disease. … However, moderate coffee drinking (1–2 cups per day) doesn’t seem to be harmful.” Aug 17, 2015

When a kid my family adults used both Postum and instant coffee. We kids only had the
Postum or chocolate for hot drinks. Which were OK.
Yes have missed being able to have Postum as an alternative.

What stores in Central Georgia carry the Postum product? Or, do any at this time??
Would like the individual packets to introduce to my Sunday church between services
snack time [tea, coffee].

Frank –
Coffee is usually a hot drink.
Tea can be hot, but probably more COLD Southern Sweet [OR just plain Unsweet] is sold
and made than hot.
Most alcohol drinks are cool, or at least room temp.

I have seen articles that say low-dose caffeine intake for older persons improves brain alertness
and function in this age group. I don’t know if those were scientific studies or if just anecdotal.
HEART DISEASE – did the article say What Kind of heart disease symptoms or conditions?
I have heard of arrythmias with high dose caffeine intake. Possible increase in blood pressure,
heart rate. BUT some of that might be the amount of milligrams of caffeine ingested per day.

It has been noticed that some of the natural chemicals [put there by God] in chocolate can
have a therapeutic effect on the brain tissue, and hormone production there.


Steve, I found it online through eBay, Vermont Country Store, and from Postum’s website, but only in jars.

1 Like

I notice that here in Georgia it is ONLY in Ingle’s so far.
Need Kroger on the list!!
Need Wal-Mart!!
Then the dollar stores – Dollar Store, Dollar General, Dollar Tree.

With an estimated 5 million Americans suffering from atrial fibrillation, and with caffeine included among other triggers of AF in those susceptible to AF attacks, there may be interest in Postum among that growing crowd.

1 Like

ROMA, made from barley, is an excellent substitute as well.


That must be why I don’t like them, either. We sell a lot of Roma at our store.

Back in the mists of time (ca. 1960), my grandparents tried to get me to drink Postum. :scream: :nauseated_face: I think I’d rather drink muddy water.


My dad drank Roma every morning throughout my whole childhood. I tried it once as a kid but was not impressed! I’ve never heard any other Adventists mention it before; everyone else seems firmly in the Postum camp! Speaking of which, I picked up a jar of Postum the other day from the natural foods market next to Andrews University. They had all 3 varieties available for $9.99 each. I went with the original flavor but haven’t given it a try yet. The memory of that sip of Roma is still too strong… :slight_smile:

YES! ROMA every morning here, in soy milk, with a little bag of Truvia. So good that I have seconds (and thirds…) later on during the day.
Postum is good too. Go for it, open that damn thing and enjoy it! :slight_smile:
But beware of the Possums… :innocent:

1 Like

“First, Adventists historically used Postum as a coffee substitute; it was invented for that purpose in 1895 by W.C. Post, the breakfast-cereal magnate who learned some of Kellogg’s secrets at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. The product still exists but, according to the FDA, powdered Postum [“Postum Original Caffeine Free Instant Hot Beverage” (powdered, not brewed)] is by far the worst acrylamide offender, with 5,399 parts per billion. The acrylamide is produced because molasses is added to wheat bran and wheat which are then roasted to make Postum.”

Would someone in the know, perhaps Peter Hwang, comment on the claim that the roasting process in making Postum causes unhealthy amounts of the substance acrylamide to be produced? I had heard this claim made and after reading this interesting article, Googled “Postum.” Interestingly enough one of the articles listed was published on “Fulcrum 7.” It is quoted above.There were other articles listed that claimed the FDA studied acrylamide levels in different foods and found high levels in Postum. (My wife recently snatched up a number of bottles of Postum at the local food salvage store. Previously, she had to order it online.)