The amount of coffee (originally defined as wine) we consume on a daily basis is absurd, but for good reason. The caffeine from coffee is like a natural concoction that injects a boost of energy that even Tony Montana might think twice about taking. Whether you’re a fan of coffee or not, or addicted to it, here are some very interesting facts you may not have known before.
Origins in Ethiopia
How appropriate that we find ourselves around the cradle of civilisation to find the origins of coffee, circa 800 AD. Legend says, around the ninth century, goat herders noticed the effects of caffeine on their goats that seemed to be “dancing” after eating coffee berries. Soon after, a local monk had taken those same berries and made a drink out of it that eventually kept him up all night. And voilà! Coffee is born.
Coffee, to no one’s surprise, is the second most traded commodity on earth. As stated by the Global Exchange, there are about 25 million farmers in over 50 countries involved in producing coffee. Second to only oil, that is a ridiculous amount of farmers who take part in the production of coffee.
Italians do it best
In Italy, espresso basically means, “When something is forced out.” This is a reference to how an espresso is actually made. It’s the process of forcing water through pressed coffee grounds. The reason espressos are served in smaller cups or consumed in smaller quantities is because it has more caffeine per volume than coffee. However, since it’s served in smaller doses, it has about a third of the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee.
While you sip on your latest signature drink at your favourite barista, comfortably in a chilled air conditioned room, you’d be surprised to know that coffee was the first food to be freeze-dried. Freeze drying is when fresh foods are placed in a dryer that reaches temperatures of negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This process was first used during World War II to preserve food.
Arabica or Robusta
There are two types of coffee beans in this world, and about 70 percent of them are Arabica. Robusta, on the other hand, is less popular. Maybe because it tastes slightly more bitter and has twice as much caffeine. Goodness gracious, imagine trying to come down from that high.
Brazil is famous for many things, like their dominating national football side and sexy beaches. It also happens to produce 40 percent of the world’s coffee, taking first place and leading the way for second place Colombia, and third place Vietnam.
Beautiful scenery and exclusivity
The state of Hawaii is the only state in the United States that commercially grows coffee. Kona coffee is a huge advantage for the US because of its location near the equator, as it has the optimal weather for harvesting coffee beans. So if you find yourself in a country that has similar climates as the beautiful island of Hawaii, and near the equator, you got it good.
A call back
Taking a line from the first fact on our list, coffee was originally a food. The coffee berries were mixed in with fat to produce an energy-rich snack ball. At the time, it was also consumed as a wine, made out of the pulp from the coffee berries.
Believe it or not, coffee is actually a fruit. Mind blown? Coffee beans are the pits of a cherry-like berry that can be found growing in bushes. Even stranger, coffee is actually a seed, but are called beans because of its resemblance to other authentic beans.
Cat poo you say?
The world’s most expensive coffee is $600 a pound. Where does it come from? The faeces of a Sumatran wild cat. Yup, you read that right. The Luwak, as the animal is called, is incapable of digesting coffee beans. Within the process of digesting the beans, they become fermented in the stomach. The beans are then excreted and produce a very smooth, chocolaty coffee. How people figured that out is beyond us. Would you drink cat poop? Of course not! It’s $600 for goodness sake.
Throughout history there have been at least five attempts to ban coffee. It was first banned in Mecca in 1511 because leaders believed it injected radical thinking. In the 16th century, Italian clergymen banned it because they believed it to be satanic. However, Pope Celement VII (aka Giulo di Giuliano de’ Medici) loved coffee so damn much he lifted the ban and had it baptised in 1600. Yes, people. You’re drinking holy caffeine. Bless up.
The drama, however, kept going when Ottoman leader Murad IV created punishments for drinking coffee in 1623. Some of the punishments included beatings and being thrown out to sea. Then in 1746, the Swedish government made it illegal to have any kind of coffee paraphernalia, including cups and dishes. Finally, in 1777, Frederick the Great of Prussia created a manifesto declaring that beer was superior over coffee because it interfered with the country’s beer consumption. How dare you, sir!
Good for your health
Regular coffee drinkers have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have found that their older patients with high levels of caffeine in their blood avoided Alzheimer’s. It also has positive effects on type-2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, it protects against skin cancer for women.
Rest in peace
Ready for this one? You can actually overdose on coffee. Drinking over 100 cups of coffee is actually a lethal dose of caffeine in one go. Hope your insurance covers that.