Join guest blogger and CEO of Horn & Hardart, David Arena, on a nostalgic journey back in time to the introduction of the groundbreaking Automat and the reunion of two brands with a deep-rooted history in Philadelphia believed to date back to 1943. Together, Ellis Coffee and Horn & Hardart are celebrating a legacy of quality and coffee innovation that has delighted coffee aficionados for over a century.

In 1888, business partners Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart opened a small restaurant in Philadelphia that would go on to become one of the largest restaurant chains on the east coast. Their secret? A pioneering French-drip style of coffee, hailed as a gilt-edge brew for its unparalleled quality. With the introduction of the Automat in 1902, Horn & Hardart further revolutionized American dining habits, setting a precedent for convenience and excellence.

Now, 135 years later, Horn & Hardart is embarking on a fresh chapter. Returning to our roots we have introduced Horn & Hardart Automat Coffee to a new generation, inviting customers to indulge in coffee that is both rich in flavor and history. 

Developing today’s Automat Coffee

Recognizing the importance of securing a dependable, top-tier roaster to restore this iconic coffee, our search led us to Ellis Coffee. With their longstanding presence as a cornerstone of Philadelphia’s coffee scene, we sensed the makings of a truly special partnership.

In collaboration with Ellis Coffee, we meticulously curated two distinct Automat Coffee Roasts: the Historic Automat Blend, boasting a medium roast profile, and the Chestnut Street Blend, offering a bolder, darker roast.

In partnership with Ellis Coffee, Horn & Hardart’s Automat Coffee blends continue to captivate the senses, infusing each cup with a legacy centuries in the making.

A History of Collaboration

The partnership between Horn & Hardart and Ellis Coffee extends far before 2023. It is believed that in 1943, after a fire damaged H&H’s roasting facilities, Ellis Coffee was brought on to roast Horn & Hardart coffee beans until production could be restored. 

We are so proud to continue a partnership with Ellis Coffee, steeped in history and flavor, and ready to continue spanning generations of future coffee enthusiasts for years to come.