Who doesn’t like a random fun fact? It’s always great knowledge to use in pub quizzes, to throw in a conversation with friends or just to learn for our own satisfaction. Information sinks in so much easier in form of fun facts, doesn’t it? Today, I compiled a list about something I can’t live without – coffee. Grab your latte or americano, sit comfortably and enjoy. 🙂
1. Let’s start with the basics. Coffee beans are the seeds of the berries of certain Coffea plant species. When the berries turn from green to red, they are picked, dried, processed and roasted.
2. The earliest evidence of coffee drinking comes from the 15th century, from the territory of modern day Yemen. Coffee seeds were roasted and brewed in a similar way as it is done now.
3. However, there’s a legend that goes back to 800 AD, when Ethiopian goat herders supposedly noticed their animals “dance” after eating berries of a Coffea plant. A local monk made a drink from that plant, which kept him awake at nights. As cool as it sounds, the legend first appeared in writing in the 17th century and was most likely made up.
4. Finland, a Northern European country with a population of 5 million people, located in a climate nowhere near suitable for coffee plant cultivation, is the world’s largest consumer of coffee. With estimated annual consumption of 12 kg of coffee per person, they beat other Nordic countries: Norway (9.9 kg), Iceland (9 kg) and Denmark (8.7 kg).
5. The first non-European country in the ranking is Canada, in 10th place, consuming 6.5 kg coffee per person every year.
6. Brazil leads the world’s coffee production, making 3500 tonnes of coffee every year – 35% of the global total production.
7. Coffee plants can be effectively cultivated in the area between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, through the equator. Although Brazil is the largest coffee producer, there are coffee plantations in 70 countries.
8. Two of the most expensive coffee types in the world gain their unique flavours thanks to… digestive enzymes of animals that eat the berries and then excrete them. Yuck! An Asian coffee known as Kopi Luwak is harvested from feces of the Asian palm civets. These coffee beans can sell for as much as $160 per pound. Even more expensive is the Black Ivory Coffee – coffee beans collected from elephant dung in Thailand, selling for up to $500 per pound!
9. Decaffeinated coffee isn’t 100% caffeine free. Decaffeination removes around 80-98% of caffeine from coffee beans.
10. Caffeine removed from coffee beans in the decaffeination process doesn’t go to waste. It’s sold to the pharmaceutical industry, as well as for cola and energy drinks!
11. Instant coffee first appeared in late 18th century, but the process wasn’t improved enough to become a commercial success for another 100 years. Patents for instant coffee were recorded in France in 1881 and in New Zealand in 1890. The patent for instant coffee in the US, in 1910, was the first to spark a wide commercial production.
12. Over the years, there have been many opinions that drinking coffee might be harmful and lead to high blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. None of this has actually been proven to be right and it is now believed that drinking coffee in a usual amount can in fact be beneficial. It is believed to decrease risks of developing Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and multiple types of cancer.
13. That being said, drinking more than a normal amount of coffee can be lethal. Depending on the strength of the coffee, 30-80 cups drunk over a short period of time can kill an adult human.
14. Coffee is one of the most valuable commodities exported by developing countries, amongst oil, sugar and cotton.
15. In most countries, the International Coffee Day is celebrated on September 29th or October 1st. Save the date!
16. Last, but not least – the world’s oldest recorded cat, Creme Puff, drank coffee every morning (and red wine every other day!). She lived over 38 years. The second oldest known cat belonged to the same owner and was fed the same diet, and lived over 34 years.