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Coffee Break Can't imagine your office without java? Take a moment to learn how it got there.

By Geoff Williams

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's not you. It's not your product or service. It'snot even the restroom, though that's close. If there's onething that your business couldn't survive without,it's--without question or argument--coffee.

Can you imagine what would happen if you refused to let youremployees sip coffee at their desks or, if not there, in thecompany break room? You would likely be strung up to the ceilingfan and left to spin the day away, while your employees went off tosip mocha lattes and plot your ruin. Your business would curl upand die. As well it should. Coffee and the workplace have had asymbiotic relationship for some time now.

The first coffee break as we know it likely happened around theturn of the 20th century. Howard Stanger, a professor of managementand marketing specializing in industrial relations and businesshistory at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, says it was in1900 when the Larkin Company, a hybrid soap manufacturer andmail-order company, began giving employees free coffee to drink inbreak rooms. As far as he knows, this is the earliest example of anofficial coffee break.

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