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17 Fascinating Coffee Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

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Coffee is something most of us have day-to-day experience of. Yet, what we often forget is that coffee has a rich history and culture made up of many fascinating facts. Read on to discover some of the most interesting, and unexpected facts about your daily drink, below. 

Coffee beans are actually pits and this makes coffee a fruit 

Just like you get a pit in a peach, there are pits in coffee fruits. It’s just that we know them by the term ‘beans.’ The fruit of a coffee plant grows on bushes and comes in two different types: red beans and green beans. 

Green beans are used to make richer deeper coffee blends, while red beans create coffee that is lighter and more palatable to a general audience. 

Coca-Cola buys the by-product of coffee decaffeination 

Coffee can be decaffeinated via a complex chemical process. The waste of caffeine is then bought by soft drinks companies like Coca-Cola to add to their drinks. 

Some coffees cost $100 a cup and they come from poop! 

Yep, that’s right, the most expensive types of coffee are ones where the beans are eaten by animals first and then digested and pooped out. 

There are two types of coffee that are produced this way. The first is called Kopi Luwak which translates as cat poop coffee, although the animals that eat it are civets and not house cats. Kopi Luwak costs around $600 a pound. 

Then there is Black Ivory Coffee which is produced from coffee fruits that are eaten and pooped out by Elephants in Thailand. This coffee is even more expensive than kopi luwak at around $1100 a kilogram! 

Coffee is number two on the worldwide commodities trading list. 

Second only to crude oil, coffee is a resource that is in great demand throughout the globe. Indeed, apart from water, it is the most consumed beverage in the world. The coffee trade clock in at around $100 billion glocally so there is plenty of money to be made in the production, refining, shipping and sale of coffee. 

Coffee can be divided into two types

There are two types of coffee: robusta and Arabica. Arabica produces a more gentle brew with a subtle flavor. Arabica also contains less caffeine. Robusta on the other hand makes a more powerful coffee with a more robust flavor. It is more acidic and contains a greater volume of caffeine, so is used for stringer brews. 

The USA can only grow coffee in two locations 

Until very recently the only place in the USA that was able to grow coffee was the Island of Hawaii. This is because its equatorial climate is optimum for the coffee-growing process. However, recently the famously sunny state of California has also begun growing coffee too. 

It’s pronounced espresso, not expresso

You’ll hear a lot of people, especially in the US refer to the concentrated shot of coffee drink, originating from Italy as expresso. However, that is not actually its proper name. In fact, the correct pronunciation is espresso, with an S. 

Although, the confusion is likely caused by the fact that espresso refers to the process of making this form of coffee which includes pressing finely ground beans with high-pressure hot water. 

An old Swedish king did human experiments with coffee 

King Gustav III from Sweden took two twins, both of whom were sentenced to be executed, and used them to perform an experiment. Gustav promised to change their death sentence to life in prison, as long as one agrees only to drink coffee for the rest of his life, while the other would drink tea. 

The idea was that the king’s doctors would compare the effects it had on their health. 

However, the results of this study were never made known because both the doctors and the king died before they reached their conclusion! 

The British East India Company brought coffee to the UK 

The somewhat problematic British East India Company, well known for importing tea on a commercial basis to Britain was also the first to bring coffee to British shores as well.

Instant coffee makes a fast cup of joe.

Instant coffee was invented in 1907. It is made by dehydrating coffee and can be purchased as a powder or freeze-dried granules. It’s faster to make than regular coffee. Instant coffee became more popular after World War I. At the time, Nescafe was the predominant brand. Nowadays, even Starbucks sells its own instant coffee.

The etymology of the word coffee 

Like so many words in common usage today, coffee has a fascinating and winding origin. Originally it was an Arabic word qahhwat al-bun. In time this was shortened in popular usage to qahwa. 

Qahwa, was then picked up by the Turkish where it became kahve. The Turkish lent the word kahve to the Dutch, who in time transformed it into the word koffie. Then once the English learned the term koffie from the Dutch it became the word coffee that we know and use today. 

Coffee consumption is boosted by flavors and syrups. 

While many people are purists and love nothing more than a simple cup of espresso, for others the appeal of coffee is that it can so easily be customized to their particular pallet and tastes. There is a wide range of coffee-based drinks available including lattes, cappuccinos, and americanos, as well as frappuccinos which are iced coffee-based beverages. 

Many coffee brands also now offer favored beans or ground varieties to further enhance the experience of coffee drinking. While some of the most popular coffee-based franchises have found success by adding flavored syrups to sweeten and improve the taste. 

The term latte comes from the Italian cafe latte 

Have ever ordered a latte and wondered where the term came from? Well, you are about to find out. Latte means milk in Italian, and caffe latte or caffe e latte means coffee with milk. Although the funny thing is, caffe latte isn’t an Italian invention. Instead, it was conceived of by Barista Lino Meiorin in Berkeley California in the 1950s, as a direct response to customers that found his cappuccinos too strong. 

Another funny thing about lattes is that there is no machine that makes them. Instead, if you are looking for the best latte machine you’ll need to find an espresso maker with a milk frother. A machine that can also be used to make a range of other coffee-based drinks. 

Humans aren’t the only species that get a high from coffee

Bees also enjoy a good coffee buzz, and the funny thing is it even boosts their long-term memory which allows them to go back and find the same plant over and over again. 

Ebe birds, squirrels, deer and goats have been known to eat coffee beans, although the jury is out on whether they get the same kind of high as we do from drinking a red eye special. 

Coffee has been illegal three times! 

The stuff you can buy in every supermarket, gas station, and neighborhood store has not always had such good standing with the public. Indeed, coffee has been declared illegal no less than three separate times. 

The most recent time coffee was made illegal was in Germany and it was by the hand of Fredrick the Great. Before then Charles the II of France believed coffee to be essential to the rebellion ( rebels would meet in coffee shops to discuss plans) and so attempted to outlaw the beverage to put a stop to it. The first time coffee was deemed illegal was in 1511 in Mecca as it was seen as a stimulant and counter to the culture of the time. 

A goat herder discovered coffee 

No one really knows who discovered coffee, but the legend around it suggests that it was a 15th-century goat herder that witnessed his flock eating coffee cherries (fruit) and then saw that their behavior changed. 

The herder mentioned this change to some local monks, and they included the berries in their brewing practices, and coffee was born! 

Cream helps to keep your coffee warm

You might think that adding a dairy product like cream would make your coffee colder rather than keep it warm, but that is not the case. Indeed, adding cream rather than milk is guaranteed to keep it hot for up to 20% longer than if you didn’t add cream! 

Finns drink the most coffee 

Finally, the nation that drinks the most coffee worldwide is the Finns. That’s right it’s not us Americans, as we drink around 11 pounds of the stuff per year. However, the Finns drink a whopping 27.5 pounds per person per year which is well over double and on the way to being almost 3 times as much as what we drink per person in the US! 

We hope you have enjoyed all our coffee realtor facts, and that you will think of one or two of them next time you treat yourself to a delicious cup of coffee! 

Heather Brummett

I am Heather Brummett . I'm just a real mom, sharing my real life experiences with the world. Thank you for being a part of my world. Here you will find recipes, crafts, fun ideas for the kids, how to work at home, encouragement, inspiration, and the latest news in and around Houston. To be featured or for information on freelance work contact me at [email protected].

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