It’s international coffee day! So grab a cup, sit down and have a little read. Here are 10 interesting facts to show off the next time you see your barista.
1. Coffee was invented by an Ethiopian goat shepherd in 900 AD
According to legend, an Ethiopian goat shepherd invented coffee after he noticed his goats went in ecstasy after eating the coffee berries. He brought the berries to a monk, who disapprovingly threw the berries into the fire. The shepherd took the burnt berries anyway, put them in water and voila, the first cup of coffee.
2. The original word for coffee means wine
The Arabic word “qahwah” was used for a kind of wine that was believed to suppress the appetite. The word made its way into the English language via the Ottomans, who called it “kahve” and the Dutch, who made “koffie” out of it.
3. Coffee has been banned (and baptised) several times
There were some bumps on coffee’s road to world domination. Several rulers tried to ban the drink, including the governor of Mecca, King Gustav III of Sweden, who tried to kill convicted criminals with it, and Frederick the Great of Prussia, who suggested drinking beer instead. The Vatican clergy tried to ban the “Muslim drink” when it arrived in Europe, but pope Clement VIII would have none of that and baptised coffee instead. He just liked it too much.
4. Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world
Coffee is the fuel that makes people go, it seems. Coffee is traded more than any other food, including sugar, grain or corn. The only product is traded more is the fuel that makes machines go, oil.
5. Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producing country
The South American country grows one third of the world’s coffee beans, equalling to more 2.5 million tonnes. Brazil produces more coffee than Vietnam and Colombia, the numbers 2 and 3 combined.
6. The Finnish consume the most coffee per person
And by quite some distance. Every Finn consumes on average 12 kilos of coffee per year! Out of the top five, four countries are Scandinavian. It seems like those long winter nights have you reach out for a cup to keep going. And the UK? We’re in 44th. Still a tea drinking nation after all.
7. Coffee beans are not beans
They are called beans only because they look like beans when they are roasted, but coffee is made from berries and have nothing to do with other kinds of beans. It’s the seeds from those berries
8. You can eat coffee (and it is healthy)
There’s not only the roast beans covered in chocolate. The coffee fruit’s skins, which are normally thrown away because they ruin the taste of coffee, are now ground into flour, which has more fibre, antioxidants and potassium than regular wheat flour.
9. Coffee with cream stays warm longer
Yes, when you add the cold cream the temperature of the coffee drops immediately, but the rate at which it cools down further decreases by about 20%. The cream protects against evaporation, makes the colour less dark, so less heat-releasing, and colder drinks just cool down slower.
10. The most expensive coffee is found in animal faeces
You may have heard of the luwak, a civet that lives in Southeast Asia and poops out partly digested coffee beans, resulting in the most expensive cup of coffee on Earth. But it’s not anymore. In Thailand, elephants are being fed coffee berries, with the same result, only even more ridiculously expensive: A package of 35 grams (5 espressos) will cost you £65.