Coffee was first introduced in the 15th century, and is one of the most popular beverages, with millions of coffee drinkers worldwide. Americans are the world’s leading coffee consumers. They consume 450 million cups of coffee per day, or more than 150 billion cups a year.
However, how many coffee facts do you know about your beloved beverage? Check out the list below to learn more and share what you learned or which fun facts you knew already!
1. It Wasn’t Always Called 'Coffee’
2. Coffee Beans are Actually Cherry Seeds
3. One Origin Story is Very Humorous
Legend has it that an Ethiopian herdsman named Kaldi discovered the coffee plant circa 850 A.D. As the tale goes, his goats became crazy energetic after nibbling on the small, red fruit of a bush. Kaldi tried them out himself and gleefully brought them to an Islamic monk. The monk however disapproved and threw them into a fire, prompting the familiar smell of delicious coffee. Everyone panicked and raked the beans to save them from the flames, then ground them, dissolved them in hot water, and voila! The world’s first cup of coffee was born. Although the story is entertaining, experts warn it’s probably made up and there are too many other accounts to confirm which one is true.
4. Brewed Coffee Has More Caffeine Than Espresso Per Serving
5. The Lighter the Roast, the More Caffeine
6. You Can Overdose On It
7. These High-Profile People Had Crazy Coffee Habits
Writer François-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, reportedly drank 40 to 50 cups of a chocolate-coffee mixture each day. Although this is much more than the suggested daily intake, the world-famous thinker lived a lengthy life and died when he was 83 years old. Similarly, it’s alleged that former U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt drank a gallon of coffee per day and died at age 60 after a blood clot traveled from his leg to his lungs. Though it’s unknown just how many cups he had daily, Beethoven would count exactly 60 beans to each serving — no more, no less.
8. Bach Wrote a Song About Coffee
Circa 1735, Johann Sebastian Bach penned “Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht,” also known as the “Coffee Cantata.” In the song, a father-daughter duo argues about how she drinks too much coffee and that’s why she doesn’t have a lover. Alas, if she gave it up, she would “become so upset that I would be like a dried-up piece of roast goat.” Yikes. When her father gives her an ultimatum, she lies to please him. While he’s out finding her a husband, she secretly tells potential suitors they must let her drink coffee if they want to marry her.
9. Coffee sent Brazil to the Olympics
10. It Inspired the World’s First Webcam
In 1991, researchers at the University of Cambridge in England set up a camera feeding a live picture of a coffee machine in the “Trojan Room” so employees could see whether or not the pot was full. If they could see ahead of time that it was empty, it would save them a trip and inevitable disappointment. A couple years later, the camera was connected to the internet and soon became an international sensation. People watched from all corners of the world until it was turned off for good in 2001.
11. Fun-Suckers Tried to Ban it a Number of Times
Occasional bans occurred in parts of the Ottoman Empire, and in 1633 Sultan Murad IV made drinking coffee in public in the capital punishable by death. Coffee was banned in Sweden many times due to health-related speculations, and it was almost banned in Prussia because the king wanted people to drink more beer instead.
12. We Spend a Lot of Money Buying Coffee
13. New York City Has the Most Coffee Shops in the U.S. Per Capita
According to a 2018 study by Wallet Hub, New York City has the most coffee shops, coffee houses and cafés per capita. (Maybe it’s no coincidence that the Big Apple takes first for most doughnut shops per capita, too.) Runners up include San Francisco, California; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Las Vegas, Nevada.
14. Coffee is Grown in Just Two States
Most coffee comes from high-altitude soil in Latin America and Africa. The only two states able to grow coffee commercially are Hawaii and California. The crop also grows in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.
15. Brazil is the World’s Largest Coffee Producer
Brazil has held the title of the world’s largest coffee producer for over 150 years. Data shows that the country produces a third of the globe’s coffee. Vietnam produces about half as much, followed by Columbia and Indonesia.
16. A Brief History of Coffee in Jamaica
The Haitian Revolution brought coffee-growing Haitians to Jamaica. Once emancipation took place however, many slaves left the coffee plantations to grow food, and coffee production became a much smaller peasant crop. The industry decline came to a head when Canada, in 1943 refused to buy Jamaican coffee due to its poor quality. Government then stepped in to rehabilitate the coffee industry and the Coffee Industry Board was born, now called the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority, Coffee Division.
17. Why Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is the Best
Jamaica is well down on the list of coffee producers, producing approximately 13 to 14 million pounds per year. It has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best Arabica coffees in the world.
Now that you’re all brushed up on your coffee knowledge, we have to ask: Did you know these 20 foods and drinks have caffeine?
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Jacqueline Cameron is a writer with decades of writing experience running the gamut from blogging to reporting. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica and is the chief writer for the Jamaica So Nice Blog. She is a trained engineer and musician and loves to see people transformed through her work.