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Postum is a coffee/tea substitute using a grain base, instead of the traditional coffee beans or tea leaves. Invented in Battle Creek, MI by C.W. Post in 1895, it pretty much launched Post Cereal Company. It was followed two years later by Grape-Nuts.

Postum was marketed as a healthy alternative to the available hot beverages. C.W. Post sold it door to door for a time, to get word out. It was billed as being 100% natural and caffeine-free.

17 years after the invention of Postum, in 1912, C.W. Post refined the product and introduced Instant Postum. Later on, coffee-flavored Postum hit the market.

It can be argued that the success of Postum was largely due to the ridiculous claims made by Post and his many shills, who posed as medical experts and blamed coffee for practically every malady imaginable. Gullible consumers were frightened into believing that coffee caused problems such as "... divorces, business failures, factory accidents, juvenile delinquency, traffic accidents, fire or home foreclosures ... ", as well as a vague condition called "coffee heart". Postum was touted not only as a healthy alternative to evil coffee, but was also sold as a cure to appendicitis, among other things. These claims were plastered in countless advertisements and were reinforced by tracts such as Post's 12-page booklet, "The Road To Wellville", which the company included in boxes of Grape-Nuts cereal. Despite the Post Cereal Company's meteoric growth in the first half of the 20th century, they clung to many of their most outrageous medical claims until the FTC intervened in 1951.

Even with loyal Postum consumers eventually dying off every year, the product managed to survive into the 21st century as a staple of the Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists, and other fervent anti-caffeine groups. In late 2007, Kraft Foods decided to stop making Postum entirely, citing insufficient consumer demand.

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