A mainstay in most households, coffee has had a history as rich and complex as its taste and aroma that we have become so familiar with. Coffee is a go-to beverage for many of us in the morning, but have you ever been more curious about where it came from or how it came to be?
From its original discovery to hazy origins and a particularly outrageous brewing method you probably aren’t expecting, we have collected these fun facts about coffee for your enjoyment or to share with your caffeine-fuelled friends.
With a whopping 500 billion cups of coffee consumed worldwide each year, 450 million cups a day in the US alone, coffee is the most popular beverage in the world next to water. In fact, up to a third of the tap water consumed in America is used to brew coffee.
Servers, waiters, and other customer-facing employees who benefit from tips from their clients have coffee to thank. The practice of tipping for service at establishments initially started in coffee houses in London, where customers could either leave a “tip” in a box to have a chance at expedited service or suffer a long wait.
All coffee beans grow on trees, but flavored coffee, unfortunately, does not grow naturally. Specialty flavors in coffee became commonplace in America in the 1970’s. These flavors are always chemically added as part of or after the roasting process, typically using a mix of flavored syrups or spices.
In Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, it is common to purchase sweet coffee served in a sandwich bag with a string attached to wrap it around your wrist. This tradition may have evolved from an Ethiopian coffee ceremony where coffee was served by the youngest child, starting with the oldest guest
Coffee has been consumed and served worldwide since the early 1700s, but instant coffee wasn’t created until 1901 by a Japanese chemist, and coffee filters didn’t make their appearance until 1908 in Germany. In 1906, an English chemist claimed to have invented instant coffee and was the first to create mass-produced instant coffee.
Vows are a common tradition as part of a wedding ceremony in many cultures, however, grooms in old Turkish culture had to include a vow in their wedding ceremony that they would always provide coffee to their wife. If the groom failed to provide coffee for his bride, divorce was a possible outcome.
Coffee isn’t technically made from beans at all. Coffee “beans” grow from the coffee tree bush and are a berry, not a bean. More specifically, coffee beans actually start off as a type of cherry, with what is technically a coffee seed growing inside.
While the quantity will vary from year to year, most coffee trees will yield about half a kilogram. Coffee-fans do not need to fear, as coffee is currently grown in 65 countries around the world.
There are over twenty different types of coffee plants, and luckily for the coffee-fans, these bushes usually live for between 60 and 70 years, with some living up to 100.
The webcam was invented in 1991 by two professors who wanted to help their students with their caffeine boost during late night study sessions. Why? The coffee machine was located outside of the students’ computer lab, and keeping an eye on the coffee pot through a webcam saved wasted trips to an empty coffee maker.
There is only one known naturally decaffeinated coffee: Coffea Charrieriana, which has only been found in Cameroon. Typically, a solvent or a mix of solutions and water are used to extract the naturally occurring caffeine from coffee beans before they are roasted.
Many of us habitually drink coffee for an energy boost, which makes sense given that its caffeine content makes it a stimulant. A study completed at the Seoul National University proved that coffee could reduce the effects of sleep deprivation, even just by inhaling its aroma before your first sip.
Stories from Ethiopia claim that a goat herder accidentally discovered coffee in the 9th century. The shepherd, named Khaldi, discovered the stimulating effect of coffee around A.D. 850 when his herd snacked on the berries of a coffee tree bush and seemed more excitable compared to their usual, lethargic selves.
The origin of the word “coffee” is still not certain, and is still debated amongst scholars hundreds of years later. Some theories on its derivation are the Arabic word “qahwah,” which is believed to mean wine, the Turkish word, “kahve,” and the Dutch word, “Koffie”.
Others believe that, since coffee is thought to be discovered in Ethiopia, the word is derived from the Ethiopian word “Kaffa”.
The first coffee trading license granted to an American was in 1670, to a Dorothy Jones from Boston. America is the leader of one of only three countries that drink 65% of the coffee consumed worldwide.
Yes, honeybees can drink coffee, and it gives them an energy boost just like it does for human caffeine lovers. Bees, however, get the added benefit of a long-term memory boost as well, boosting the chances of successful pollination. Maybe they just enjoy coffee as much as we do.
Great composer Sebastian Bach was one of many men in the 1700s who frequented coffeehouses to refuel, discuss, trade, and share ideas. He loved coffee so much; he even wrote an opera in a coffeehouse, which he aptly named “The Coffee Cantata”.
Before We All Had Coffee Makers At Our Disposal, cowboys of the olden days would go to great lengths to brew their coffee. Thanks to modern-day coffee shops and coffee makers, cowboys no longer need to brew their ground coffee using tin cups and a clean sock. Coffee presses and paper filters are understandably a much more popular choice.
Coffee is consumed all over the world, but most countries don’t or can’t grow it themselves. Outside of 1000 miles from the equator, only Hawaii and Puerto Rico are known to produce coffee.
Coffee became a global phenomenon very quickly early in the 17th century. It made its global debut after only seven seeds were smuggled from Arabia to India by Baba Budan in the 17th century, making its way to Europe and around the world from there.
Coffee is so popular globally that the first International Coffee Day was held on October 1st, 2015 and it has earned its own official National Coffee Days in 35 different countries.
So,Coffee has played a much more significant role in history than coffee drinkers tend to think of on a regular basis. Its discovery has clearly made an impact on the world we live in, being accurately coined as “The favourite drink of the civilised world” by Thomas Jefferson in 1824.
Any coffee lover understands that coffee has its place in everyday life, but knowing more about coffees history and age-old to current cultures can bring some extra fun and enjoyment to your daily cup of joe.