A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from April 12, 2017
“But first, coffee”

“But first, coffee” is a one-line coffee saying that has been printed on many images. The origin of the meme is unclear, but it became known by the 1990s. A 1994 translation of the 19th century novel The Karamazov Brothers by Fyodor Dostoevsky reads:
“But first, coffee—Yulia, Glafira, coffee!”
“They All Want To Change the World. But First, Coffee” was a headline in the Washington (DC) Post in April 2000.
Topher McCulloch, a designer, claimed in 2015 that he first popularized “but first, coffee” in 2010. “Photo: but first, coffee. mug” was posted on Twitter by Topher McCulloch on September 8, 2010. The “but first, coffee” meme began to be put on T-shirts by at least 2012.
“But first, iced coffee” is a popular variation. “OK” is sometimes added, as in “OK, but first coffee” and “OK, but first iced coffee.”
“But first, cocktails” is a related saying.
Google Books
October 1868, The Colonial Monthly: An Australian Magazine, “Lieutenant Yergounof’s Adventure,” pg. 127:
Colibri hastened to reply, and then quickly blew a kiss to the astonished lieutenant. He tried to put his arm round the girl’s slender waist, but she glided quickly out of his reach, saying,
“Wait — wait; I will give you a kiss; but first, coffee.”
“What an idea; we will take the coffee afterwards.”
“No, immediately; hot and present; by and bye, cold.”
Google Books
The Karamazov Brothers
By Fyodor Dostoevsky
A new translation by Ignat Avsey
Oxford: Oxford University Press
Pg. 717:
‘Oh, my God! Why are we just sitting here? But first, coffee—Yulia, Glafira, coffee!’
Google Books
The Set-Up
By Paul Erdman
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
Pg. 44:
“Certainly,” Wassermann replied. “But first, coffee.”
17 April 2000, Washington (DC) Post, pg. C1, col. 6: 
They All Want To Change the World. But First, Coffee
14 April 2004, Tucson (AZ) Citizen, Jeff Smith column, pg. B5:
As in tomorrow. I better think about doing my taxes. But first coffee.
Betsy Aoki‏
Off to the AWP registration but first coffee. Then paperwork. Then book sign.
10:10 AM - 12 Feb 2009
April M‏
I’m making ice tea today. But first, COFFEE!
10:40 AM - 23 Apr 2009
Ben Girdler‏
Going to the sign performance then Loni’s parents. But first, coffee!!!!!
10:42 AM - 2 May 2009
Taken on August 31, 2010
Topher McCulloch
but first, coffee
Topher McCulloch‏
Photo: but first, coffee. mug. http://tumblr.com/xtai0fk0g
8:06 PM - 8 Sep 2010
Aaron Arizpe‏
cool! RT @alice_gao: need this in my life. | But First Coffee 18 by 24 Letterpress Poster by HungryPrints http://etsy.me/xrmyHD  via @Etsy
11:43 AM - 28 Feb 2012
Kitchen Sink Shop: But First, Coffee Shirt http://dlvr.it/2GWdgZ  #Custom Design
9:08 PM - 4 Oct 2012
Skreened Feed‏
T Shirts: But First, Coffee Tee - none http://ow.ly/2sQ0yH
2:23 AM - 24 Oct 2012
Katie Hufford‏
Two shirts, both say “but first, coffee.” The cheaper one didn’t have the comma. I just paid six extra bucks for proper punctuation.
10:54 PM - 30 Dec 2012
Topher McCulloch
I’m a designr / developr / illustratr / internet person.
Sep 29, 2015
but first, copyright?
It didn’t have to turn out this way.

From there I sort of left it in a state of benevolent neglect. I was making only a few dollars here and there from my store on Zazzle. I considered printing a batch myself, but the time, cost, and space investment of handling my own production, ordering, and distribution felt too high as I was not in the business of selling mugs for a living.
But then, something weird started happening. I noticed my image getting shared in style mood boards and on sites like weheartit and the newborn Pinterest. It was flattering to see people liked the image, but, this being the internet, there was no credit and it wasn’t selling any more mugs.
OCLC WorldCat record
But First, Coffee: Now You Can Brew Your Nespresso With an App
Author: WIRED
Edition/Format: Downloadable article Downloadable article : English
Publication: WIRED, (2016-03-01T19:50:25.000Z)
Database: ACI Scholarly Blog Index
The coffee-in-a-pod company Nespresso has introduced its first machine that lets you prepare your coffee from distance anytime using the Nespresso app.
Google Books
Title But First, Coffee: An Adult Grayscale Coloring Book
Author Hart Grayscale Hart Grayscale Coloring
Illustrated by Michelle Hart
Publisher CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016
ISBN 1534969810, 9781534969810
Length 64 pages
Goods and Services IC 030. US 046. G & S: Beverages made of coffee; Beverages with a coffee base; Coffee based beverages; Coffee-based iced beverages. FIRST USE: 20130100. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20130100
IC 043. US 100 101. G & S: Restaurant and café services; Restaurant services, namely, providing of food and beverages for consumption on and off the premises. FIRST USE: 20130100. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20130100
Standard Characters Claimed
Serial Number 86329137
Filing Date July 5, 2014
Current Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition November 25, 2014
Registration Number 4973744
Registration Date June 7, 2016
Owner (REGISTRANT) Melrose Place Coffee Company DBA Alfred Coffee & Kitchen CORPORATION CALIFORNIA Suite 206 11301 W. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles CALIFORNIA 90064
Attorney of Record John Paul Oleksiuk
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Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, April 12, 2017 • Permalink

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