Coffee is enjoyed by millions worldwide. It is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Americans alone consume more than 400 million cups of coffee per day, making the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world. It’s history dates back all the way to 1671 but today, the coffee industry is one of the most profitable businesses around. Although we consume it every day, how much do we really know about this beloved beverage? Here, we have collected some interesting information about coffee and its history.
1. Coffee was discovered by Ethiopian goat herders circa 800 A.D.
Coffee’s heritage can be traced back centuries, to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. Although the exact origins are unknown, legend has it that a goat herder named Kaldi discovered that everyday when he took his goats to graze, they ate certain berries from a tree, which made them extremely energetic. The goats were also staying awake at night, which led him to find out the mystery surrounding the berries.
Kaldi reported his findings to an abbot of a local monastery, who used the berries to make a drink. He later found that the drink was keeping him alert during long prayers, especially in the evenings. The abbot shared his knowledge with other abbots in the monastery and soon, the story of the energizing berries started to spread throughout the world. (source)
2. New Yorkers drink almost 7 times more coffee than other cities in the US and Finland consumes the most coffee in the world.
According to Business Insider, New Yorkers drink approximately 7 times more coffee than people in other cities. New York City revolves around coffee. Currently, there are more than 3,389 coffee shops in NYC, and it could be a reason why NYC is a city that never sleeps. During the early-1800’s, New York was one of the largest coffee roasting centers in the United States.
When it comes to the country that consumes the most coffee, Finland ranked number one. According to the data provided by EuroMonitor, Finland consumes 9.6 kg (21 lbs) per capita. The United States ranks 22nd place with 3.1 kg (6.8 lbs) per capita. (source)
3. The average American spends $20 a week on coffee.
The Consumerist cites that an average American worker spends nearly $1,092 annually on coffee or $20 a week. The figure is close to the price of the latest iPhone. Another study also found that young people generally spend more on coffee than older people. A survey conducted by Acorn on 1,911 people ages 18-35, shows that 41% of millennials admitted they spent more on coffee last year than they invested in their retirement account. (source)
4. Despite the widespread belief that coffee makes you dehydrated, it is simply not true.
Caffeine is found in coffee, soda, tea and even chocolate. It is believed that one of the most widely consumed beverages around the world makes the consumer dehydrated. This can be traced back to a study conducted in 1928 that noted increased urination in people who consumed caffeinated beverages. At the end of the study, it was concluded that this was mainly due to the fact that caffeine is a diuretic.
But, according to Lawrence Armstrong, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut and director of the Human Performance Laboratory, a small increase in urine output has little to do with dehydrating the body. He added that any increase in the input will cause an increase in the output. (source)
5. Brazil produces 40% of the world’s coffee.
The tree that produces the coffee bean is a tropical evergreen shrub that requires the right climate and conditions to thrive. It is estimated that around 70 countries produce coffee, but the overwhelming majority of the supply comes from just five: Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia and Honduras.
Among the top five, Brazil produces 40% of the world’s coffee, and it is a driving force for the country’s economy. French settlers brought the plant to Brazil in the early 18th century. By 1840, the demand for coffee was rising and Brazil was already the largest producer of coffee. Around 300,000 plantations, spread over more than 10,000 square miles of the Brazilian landscape produced 3.05 million metric tons of coffee in 2017; which was close to 30% of the world’s production. (source)
6. In 2017, scientists made a breakthrough when they successfully turned old coffee waste into cleaner biofuels.
Researchers at Lancaster University, led by Dr. Vesna Najdanovic-Visak, were able to use waste coffee grounds to make a cheap, abundant, and environmentally friendly source of biodiesel fuel for powering cars and trucks. Researchers used “spent” grounds remaining from the production of espresso, cappuccino and java, then separated the oil. The process, which is completely inexpensive, successfully converted 100% of the oil into biodiesel. (source)
7. Studies have shown that drinking coffee lowers the risk of depression.
Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health discovered that those who regularly consumed coffee, had the reduced risk of depression. Studies carried out in China between 1980 and 2015 also found that caffeine-related depression was relatively lower than non-caffeine consumers. Researchers believe that the reason why coffee is effective in reducing the risk of depression could be due to some of its components that counteract the negative effects of depression.
Medical News Today reports that coffee also contains chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, and caffeic acid, which can reduce the inflammation of nerve cells that takes place in the brain of people with depression. (source)
8. Just smelling coffee can wake you up.
Studies show that just the smell of coffee is enough to wake you up in the morning. According to scientists, the rich, warm aroma of a hot cup of coffee can alter the activity of some genes in the brain. The smell can also reduce effects of sleep deprivation, according to them.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine explains that it takes only about 30 minutes for coffee to work while increased alertness starts as fast as within 10 minutes of consumption. Sleep experts suggest that in order to prevent wakefulness at night, you have to abstain from caffeine at least eight hours before bedtime. (source)
9. Coffee beans are only called ‘beans’ because of the resemblance – they’re actually berries.
A Coffee bean is not actually a bean, rather it is a seed. While beans are always seeds, seeds are not always beans; if that makes any sense. A bean is just one kind of a seed. The coffee plant is not a member of the family Fabaceae, and the “bean” is actually the seed of the coffee plant.
These beans grow inside red or purple coffee cherries on trees with green, waxy leaves and just like regular cherries, these coffee cherries have a pit. Each cherry pit contains two “seeds”, which is harvested, processed, dried, milled, and ultimately roasted. (source)
10. The world’s first webcam was created to check a coffee pot.
The feeling of arriving at an empty coffee pot is something we all hate. Back in 1991, computer scientists at Cambridge University did not like the fact that the coffee pot was empty whenever they arrived. They required constant flow of coffee, but the coffee pot was stationed in the main computer lab, while they worked in adjacent rooms. So, in pursuit of keeping the coffee pot filled, scientists came up with the idea of the webcam.
They rigged up the camera to monitor the pot and three images were captured in a minute and transmitted through the internal network. This eliminated the need to physically check the coffee pot to see if it’s filled or empty. Two years later, their invention became part of the world wide web where millions were able to see others from different corners of the world. (source)