Note: This object includes a cultural stereotype. Such representations are not condoned by Museums Victoria which considers them to be racist. Historical distance and context do not excuse or erase this fact.

Bottle of 'Turban' brand Instant Coffee and Chicory essence. Kornie Food Co. Pty Ltd, Bouverie St, Carlton, Melbourne. Approx. 8 fluid ozs. The label features three images of Turkish men wearing the turban, kaffiyeh and other traditional clothing.

Kornies Food Co. appears to have operated from Carlton from the 1920s to 1940s while the Turban brand of coffee and chicory essence appears to have been produced through the 1930s and 40s with bottles very similar to this item appearing in advertisements in the Argus in 1945. The promotion of the Turban brand is particularly strong in the 1940s with Kornie Foods producing a picture book based on the character in 1946: 'Turban Tim says win big prizes with this Kornies painting book'.

Physical Description

Bottle of 'Turban' brand Instant Coffee and Chicory essence. Kornie Food Co. Pty Ltd, Bouverie St, Carlton, Melbourne. Approx. 8 fluid ozs. The bottle is made of brown coloured glass and is cubic in shape with a rounded neck. It has a blue painted metal screw cap lid. The label features the bejewelled turban worn by a head of dark skinned and dark moustached Turkish man at the front. Around to the right, the label image is of a man wearing traditional Middle Eastern / Turkish dress sitting on a camel beneath a palm tree, with a building and minarets in the background. Beneath this image is text under the heading "Flavouring" and directions to make 'Coffee Cake' and an image of a coffee cake. Around to the left of the front image is the image of a black skinned seated man wearing a kaffiyeh. He is seated beneath a palm tree and is holding one cup of iced coffee while another cup and the pot sit beside him. The man is facing a large white and red building in the background. Beneath this is the text 'Instant Coffee & Chicory' and a recipe for iced coffee. The bottom of the bottle has: 1SM 69 stamped in the centre. Below this is number 5. And above the 9 is the number 228.


The significance of the Turban Brand Essence of Coffee and Chicory is in the use of Turkish imagery and stereotypes to market the product to an Australian audience. By using romanticized oriental stereotypes of Türkiye and Turkish men, Kornies was hoping to market their brand as 'The Charm of Good Coffee' - using the image of a snake charmer in a 1945 advertisement. The imagery and stereotypical language used on the packaging and advertisements are supposed to lend authenticity to this coffee substitute. In the 1945 advertisements, Turban brand coffee is described as having 'real moccha flavour' and 'that delightful Oriental flavour'. This bottle is also significant as it is an example of a Melbourne based food production company from the 1940s.

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a perennial herb native to Europe, especially the Mediterranean. Its roots can be baked, ground and turned into a coffee substitute. In poor regions and during the Great Depression of the 1930s chicory became popular as a coffee substitute and continues to be used as an additive and substitute in many coffee products not only in the Mediterranean but also in India, southeast Asia, parts of the American South.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Home & Community

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Karen Schamberger, 09 Dec 2009

  • Manufacturer

    Kornies Food Co Pty Ltd, Carlton, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1940s

  • Inscriptions

    Text on the front of the label reads: Turban Instant Coffee & Chicory Essence Kornie Food Co. Pty Ltd. Bouverie St, Carlton, Melbourne Approx. 8 fluid ozs. Text on the left side of the label reads: Instant Coffee & Chicory Use one teaspoonful to a cup of boiling water or hot milk. Iced Coffee Use one or more teaspoonfuls according to taste to a glass of iced milk. Extra delicious with cream or ice-cream added. The true mocha flavour. Text on the right side of the label reads: Flavouring Use according to taste as a flavouring for cream fillings, cakes, icings, ice-cream, etc. Coffee Cake Beat 2 tablespoons butter with 1 cup sugar to a cream, add 2 well-beaten eggs, beat mixture well then add 1 1/2 cups S.R. flour, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tablespoon Turban & lastly 1 tablespoon boiling water. Bake in moderate oven about 1/2 hour. Ice using a little Turban mixed with icing sugar and a dessertspoon butter.

  • Brand Names

    Turban (Food Flavourings)

  • Classification

    Cultural identity, Ethnicity

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Overall Dimensions

    48 mm (Width), 48 mm (Depth), 210 mm (Height)

  • References

    The Argus, Melbourne, Friday 22 August 1930, p.7. The Argus, Melbourne, Saturday 8 September 1945, p.13

  • Keywords

    Advertising, Bottles, Coffee, Food & Drink Preparation, Cultural Stereotypes