“Taster” Tribute Tidbit

Hills Bros. Coffee Taster Statue

Photo by San Francisco City Guides

Many people recognize “the taster” as the original mascot and trademark of Hills Bros. Coffee. That should not be a surprise since he had been the face of the company for nearly a century. The original turban-wearing Arabian “taster” was first used on the original coffee packaging dating back to 1906. He was used to signify the Ethiopian beans that were used in the company’s coffee.

This logo was used on every product until 1990 when he was replaced with a new “taster” based on the appearances of the Hills Brothers. However, many people still remember and associate him with all Hills Bros. branding. While this Ethiopian “taster” mascot no longer shows up on the Hills Bros. coffee packaging like he once did, he is far from just a distant memory. He was forever immortalized in a 9′ tall bronze statue in 1992. This statue is the work of the late artist, Spiro Anargyros.

This statue resides in the courtyard in San Francisco at a Hills Bros. Coffee history exhibit on 2 Harrison Street. He is finely detailed and easily spotted eagerly sipping from his coffee cup. The building he stands outside of is a Hills Bros. factory that was turned into a museum. It contains historical packaging and other items depicting the company’s long history as an original American coffee brand.

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