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Millions enjoy better start to the day thanks to Nescafé inventor

It's estimated that 3,000 cups of Nescafé are drunk every second. www.nescafe.com

Lovers of instant coffee have cause to be thankful on Sunday, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Max Morgenthaler, the inventor of Nescafé. The coffee guru was born on May 20, 1901, in canton Bern.

This content was published on May 18, 2001 - 16:21

Morgenthaler, who studied chemistry at the University of Bern, was working for Nestlé when the Brazilian government approached the food and drinks group about producing a soluble form of coffee. Morgenthaler and his team spent the next seven years working on the project at the company's Vevey headquarters.

They finally achieved success in 1936. Nescafé - a combination of Nestlé and café - was launched two years later, but the advent of the Second World War meant the new product initially had limited success in Europe.

It wasn't until American soldiers began receiving supplies of the instant coffee in their food rations that Europe finally began to sit up and take notice.

Nescafé's popularity grew steadily throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and by 1954 Nestlé's president, M.C.J. Abegg, was able to call it "the most revolutionary invention of the century in the food sector".

It's currently estimated that 3,000 cups of the instant beverage are drunk every second.

Although he received the highest distinctions for his invention, Morgenthaler had an uneasy relationship with his bosses at Nestlé and took early retirement in 1955. He continued to do private scientific research until his death in 1980.

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