The internet—social media especially—is a generally terrible place comprised most loudly of the worst people (or people being the worst versions of themselves). What was dreamed up as a way to connect individuals worlds apart for a free exchange of ideas did exactly what it set out to, only it turns out most of our ideas our bad.
But sometimes, the internet can be a place of delight and wonderment, so divorced from its normal cruelty that one cannot help but be tickled by the innocent fun of it all. And every so often, that purity enters the coffee space. Thus is the case with a brand new Twitter account claiming to represent the nearly 100-year-old instant decaf coffee brand, Sanka.
Sanka instructions: add heaping tablespoon of Sanka instant coffee to a cup. Add boiling water. Stir to desired brown color.
— SankaCoffee (@SankaCoffee) October 31, 2021
Created just last month, you’d be forgiven for believing that @SankaCoffee could really be the official account of Sanka, an instant decaf brand that’s part of the Kraft Heinz empire. Many of the account’s early tweets read as though the company hired a well-meaning Gen-Z social media person (or worse, a millennial-to-cusp-Gen-X media person impersonating Gen-Z) in a thirsty attempt to go #viral. But alas—or perhaps fortunately, depending on whether or not you think Twitter needs another @MoonPie—the account is *not* officially associated with Sanka or Kraft Heinz. It is simply a pitch perfect yet lighthearted send-up of a brand with no social media presence otherwise.
How delightfully weird!
Sanka has a rich, mountain grown coffee #aroma. I don’t know which mountain.
— SankaCoffee (@SankaCoffee) October 28, 2021
Thought it might be unofficial, @SankaCoffee is resolutely pro-Sanka, and admirably sticks to the bit. From their tweets, you can learn about famous Sanka drinkers including Harold Gould and Robert Vaughn Robert Culp. You can follow the brand’s successful sales, most notably to a “regional motel chain” and the @EpcotCentre (more on that in a moment). And you can follow the misadventures of employees of “the 3rd largest coffee in America” like Brand Manager Bill Huskins, Sales Rep Pete Keopke, and Customer Service Coordinator Jerry Fayva, who has spawned his own Twitter account.
Here’s where things get interesting. @SankaCoffee appears to only follow comedians or the comedy-adjacent on Twitter, where there is of course a robust and occasionally funny professional comedy subculture. Meanwhile Jerry Fayva’s account boasts some notable followers of its own, including each half of the rock duo The Both—and very famous musicians in their own right—Aimee Mann and Ted Leo. (Fun facts: I once wrote an article where I referred to an espresso machine as a “brutalist brick” as a shout out to a Ted Leo album, and Sprudge cofounder Jordan Michelman’s band opened for him in 2007.)
So the big question is: who’s behind @SankaCoffee? No one knows, but I have a few theories.
Kids love it! https://t.co/aQJGaJ3DRd
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) October 30, 2021
My best guess is that it’s Twitter user Chris Murphy, user name @chrismurphyusa. Murphy is behind fellow fake-account-for-real-brand @EpcotCentre, which according to a November 2nd tweet, is now serving Sanka. And when the inimitable Steve Martin quote tweeted Sanka, who other than @chrismurphyusa retweeted it. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! What if I told you the aforementioned Aimee Mann and Ted Leo were in on it? Unbelievable right? Well follow me down this little rabbit hole.
@EpcotCentre’s pinned tweet is hyping another account, @Network_77, which appears to be a comedic take 60s-era entertainment mixing fake commercials and real musicians. In one of the commercials for cigarettes, We’ll Be Right Back, the drummer who “can’t get a good take” bears a striking resemblance to guitarist Ted Leo. In another comedy short, Easy AM 66, Aimee Mann is listed as on-air talent! And both musicians have interacted with the Twitters account for Sanka and Jerry Fayva on multiple occasions. There are layers to this thing is all I’m saying, and frankly more than enough breadcrumbs for me to speculate wildly on a Friday afternoon.
There’s a guy who could stand to come down like four notches.
— SankaCoffee (@SankaCoffee) October 28, 2021
But whoever is behind @SankaCoffee—be it just some dude or a Pynchon-esque twist-and-turn interconnected world of comedians and indie rock darlings—please keep up the good work. Yours is a light burning bright and pure in an otherwise dark world.