26 Surprising Facts About Coffee
1. Shepherds discovered coffee in Ethiopia circa 800 A.D.
Legend has it that 9th century goat herders noticed the effect caffeine had on their goats, who appeared to "dance" after eating coffee berries. A local monk then made a drink with coffee berries and found that it kept him awake at night, thus the original cup of coffee was born.
2. Coffee is the second most traded commodity on earth.
According to the Global Exchange, there are approximately 25 million farmers in over 50 countries involved in producing coffee. The number one commodity? Oil.
3. In Italian espresso means "when something is forced out."
This refers to the way espresso is made — forcing boiling water through pressed coffee grounds. And, although espresso has more caffeine per volume than coffee, because it's consumed in smaller quantities, it actually has about a third of the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee.
4. Coffee was the first food to be freeze-dried.
The process of freeze drying — when fresh foods are placed in a dryer where temperatures drop to negative 40 degrees F — first started during World War II to preserve foods.
5. There are two types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta.
Seventy percent of coffee beans are Arabica. Although less popular, Robusta is slightly more bitter and has twice as much caffeine.
6. The majority of coffee is produced in Brazil.
Brazil produces 40% of the world's coffee, which is twice as much as 2nd and 3rd place holders, Colombia and Vietnam.
7. Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that commercially grows coffee.
Kona coffee is the United States' gift to the coffee world. Because coffee grows best in climates along the equator, Hawaii's weather is optimal for harvesting coffee beans. (And stay tuned for the addition of Ferndell coffee we're in the midst of developing!)
8. Coffee was originally a food.
Coffee berries were mixed with fat to create an energy-rich snack ball. It was also consumed as a wine when made from the pulp of coffee berries.
9. Coffee is actually a fruit.
Coffee beans as we know them are actually the pits of a cherry-like berry that are grown on bushes. Even though coffee is actually a seed, it's called a bean because of its resemblance to actual beans.
10. The world's most expensive coffee is $600 a pound.
And it comes from the feces of a Sumatran wild cat. The animal — called a Luwak — is unable to digest coffee beans. In the process of digesting the beans, they are fermented in the stomach. When the beans are excreted, they produce a smooth, chocolaty coffee.
11. There have been five attempts to ban coffee throughout history.
Coffee was first banned in Mecca in 1511 because leaders believed it stimulated radical thinking. And, 16th century Italian clergymen tried to ban coffee because they believed it to be "satanic." However, Pope Clement VII loved coffee so much that he lifted the ban and had coffee baptized in 1600. But Ottoman leader Murad IV took it even further when he ascended the throne in 1623 by creating the first punishments for drinking coffee, which included beatings and being thrown into the sea.
In 1746, the Swedish government made it illegal to even have coffee paraphenalia, including cups and dishes. And finally, in 1777, Frederick the Great of Prussia issued a manifesto declaring beer's superiority over coffee because he believed it interfered with the country's beer consumption.
12. You can overdose on coffee.
However, you would need to drink over 100 cups to consume the lethal dose of caffeine.
13. New Yorkers drink almost seven times as much coffee as the rest of the U.S.
However, Finland is the most caffeinated country, where the average adult consumes the equivalent of four or five cups of coffee a day. In New York, stop into The Marlton Hotel in Greenwich Village to enjoy a cup of Ferndell.
14. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers found that older patients with high levels of caffeine in their blood were more likely to avoid Alzheimer's. Studies have also shown that caffeine has positive effects on type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's disease. It has also been shown to protect against skin cancer in women.
15. Coffee stays warmer when you add cream.
Coffee with added cream cools about 20% slower than plain black coffee.
16. But when you add milk, it weakens the effects of caffeine.
Our bodies absorb coffee much slower when it has added fat milk content, which decreases the stimulants.
17. The largest cup of coffee ever was brewed in July 2014 in South Korea.
It was over 3,700 gallons. The largest iced coffee was brewed in Las Vegas in 2010, and was 1,500 gallons — ice not included.
18. Coffee was brought to New Amsterdam (present day New York City) in the mid-1600s.
However, it didn't become very popular until after the Boston Tea Party in 1773. The Civil War and other conflicts helped boost the popularity of coffee.
19. George Washington invented instant coffee.
Not that Washington. Chemist George Constant Washington experimented with dried coffee before he created Red E Coffee — the first brand name instant coffee.
20. Just smelling coffee can wake you up.
A group of scientists reported that simply inhaling the aroma of coffee can alter the activity of some genes in the brain, reducing the effects of sleep deprivation. And when you do drink that cup of coffee, caffeine reaches your blood fast, like 10 minutes fast.
21. Dark roast coffees have less caffeine than lighter roasts.
Even though the flavor is often stronger, roasting actually burns off some of the caffeine.
22. Decaf does not mean caffeine-free.
An eight ounce brewed cup of decaf coffee actually has two-to-12 milligrams of caffeine. In comparison, a regular cup of coffee has anywhere from 95 to 200 milligrams. (Twelve ounces of coke only has 23-35 milligrams of caffeine.)
23. In the United States, 80% of adults consume caffeine every day.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, the average intake is 200 milligrams, or about two five-ounce cups of coffee.
24. Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day.
This is the equivalent to 146 billion cups each year, making the U.S. the leading consumer of coffee.
25. The average worker spends $20 a week on coffee.
That totals nearly $1,100 annually.
26. The original definition of coffee means "wine."
Coffee's original name, qahwah, came from the Yemen term for wine. In Turkey it was called kahveh, until the Dutch referred to it as koffie, where we get the English coffee.