Blue Riband Blend is a tribute to "America's Flagship" -- the SS United States.
The SS United States, the world's fastest ocean liner, isn't just a marvel of technology: she's a living icon of the American dream. She represents the power of freedom, hard work, common purpose, and innovation.
Entirely made in America by over 3,000 pairs of tireless hands, and with products and components from every state in the nation, the SS United States was a global ambassador and the pinnacle of mid-century maritime design. She debuted in 1952 as the most powerful, modern, and advanced passenger liner ever built, smashing the transatlantic speed record (and winning the coveted "Blue Riband" designation) on her maiden voyage. But behind her graceful lines and patriotic flair, she was a national security asset, capable of being transformed into a state-of-the-art, top secret military vessel.
The story of the SS United States is our story. It is the story of the nation’s triumphant emergence after the trauma of World War II. It’s also a story of the glamour of old Hollywood and the advent of mid-century modern art and design. It’s about people from small towns and big cities setting out on journeys to distant shores. It's about immigrants crossing the sea and beginning new lives.
We proudly donate 25% of all sales of this lovely coffee to the SS United States Conservancy. The Conservancy is group dedicated to preserving and rescuing this glorious and largely forgotten vessel which was the pride of American seafaring during the golden age of grand ocean liners. This is a cause near and dear to the heart of Ironclad's founding family as Ryan's paternal grandfather, Philip L. Roark (pictured below), worked as a welder on the SS United States in the early 1950s after returning home from serving in the European theater during World War II.
The ship went out of service as a luxury ocean liner in 1969. It has been sold several times since the 1970s, with each new owner trying unsuccessfully to make the liner profitable. Eventually, the ship's fittings were sold at auction, and hazardous wastes, including asbestos panels throughout the ship, were removed, leaving her almost completely stripped by 1994. Two years later, she was towed to Pier 82 on the Delaware River, in Philadelphia, where she remains today.
In March of 2020, RXR Realty announced its plans to repurpose the ocean liner as a permanently-moored 600,000 sq ft (55,740 m2) hospitality and cultural space, requesting expressions of interest from a number of major US waterfront cities including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. Along with many others, we are hoping to see the day when "The Big U" is put back into use in a way where future generations can enjoy the majesty of this important ship.
What's in the bag? It's a blend of higher-end Brazilian coffees from a collection of smaller family estates called "sitio" in the Sul de Minas region of the Minas Gerais state. We roast it to a true "medium" level which accentuates the rich, chocolatey notes which are so typically present in nice Brazilian coffees.
Above: A magazine ad from the SS United States Line, 1953
Our thanks to the great Robert Lloyd for permission to use his "Winter North Atlantic" painting for the label. You can find this and other prints from Robert for sale on the SS United States Conservancy website.