Introduced in 1972, it was the first drip coffee maker made available for home use. Prior to the introduction of Mr. Coffee, most coffee prepared at home was made by a percolator, either on a stovetop or plugged directly into a wall socket. Percolators allowed brewed coffee to come into direct contact with heat, resulting in an inferior, burned beverage.
In the 1980s, a variation was produced by the same company for tea called "Mrs. Tea". The machine differed from Mr. Coffee only in detail as the drip process works equally well for tea as for coffee , although the result is often a darker, samovar type of tea.
There have been several cultural references to the easily-parodied name. It has been parodied in the Back to the Future trilogy as Mr. Fusion (which was actually made for the movie from a Krups coffee maker), and in Spaceballs as Mr. Radar and Mr. Rental (the latter movie actually features Mr. Coffee itself; the DVD version of the movie features another parody called Mr. DVD in the menu screens). It was also mentioned in The Bloodhound Gang's song "The Bad Touch", in the full version of the Cheers theme song, the Marah song "Christian St." and in the title of Raymond Carver's short story "Mr. Coffee and Mr. Fixit." A Mr. Coffee machine also appeared in a scene in the film Apollo 13. (However, a number of critics pointed out that this was technically inaccurate, since the film took place in 1970, and Mr. Coffee wouldn't be introduced until 1972. )