Everyone knows what coffee is. For some people, you may not be able to start your day without it. Whether you’re a seasoned coffee drinking veteran, or just started enjoying it, every coffee lover out there needs to know a couple of cool facts to wow their friends.
How much do you really know about the world’s favourite beverage?
Here we’ve put together a list of crazy coffee facts so that you can brush up on your coffee knowledge.
- Crazy Coffee Facts
- 1. Coffee beans are actually a cherry that you can eat
- 2. Coffee dates back to around 800AD
- 3. There are two main species of coffee: Arabica and Robusta
- 4. Coffee replaced beer as the drink to have on a morning
- 5. The word ‘coffee’ goes back to the Arabic word ‘qahwah’
- 6. Beethoven was a little obsessive about his coffee
- 7. The Trojan Room coffee pot webcam
- 8. Coffee drinkers tend to live longer
- 9. Decaf doesn’t mean caffeine free
- 10. You can overdose on coffee
- 11. Four companies buy 50% of the worlds coffee production
- 12. Spent coffee grounds are good for your skin
- 13. Many times in the past people have tried to ban coffee
- 14. The Finnish are the world’s biggest coffee drinkers
- 15. Brazil grows the most coffee in the world
- 16. The Boston Tea Party helped to popularize coffee
- 17. Coffee beans took Brazil to the Olympics in 1932
- 18. Only 2 US states grow coffee beans
- 19. Kopi Luwak is the world’s most expensive coffee
- 20. Coffee secured James Michael Tylers role in the hit US show “Friends”
- 21. The world’s largest cup of coffee contained 6,007 US gallons
Crazy Coffee Facts
1. Coffee beans are actually a cherry that you can eat
Yes it’s true, coffee is actually a fruit!
It grows on the Coffea tree which has beautifully fragrant white blossoms that then turn into green berry-like cherries. These cherries, once they’ve ripened, turn red, indicating they’re ready for picking.
These cherry’s have been said to smell like jasmine, and taste like mangos, however the flavours depend on where the cherry’s have been grown and under what conditions.
2. Coffee dates back to around 800AD
Legend has it that a goat herder by the name of Kaldi first discovered coffee and it’s caffeinating effects. He noticed that whenever his goats would eat little red berries from the Coffea plant, they would become energetic, excitable, and wouldn’t sleep.
He took these little red berries to his local monastery where he showed the monks. They disregarded the beans as nonsense and threw them into the fire, essentially roasting the beans for the first time. And no-one can ignore that smell!
3. There are two main species of coffee: Arabica and Robusta
Coffee arabica is the premium of the two and you might see ‘100% arabica’ written on bags of coffee. It contains bright, vibrant, and complex flavours that are unique to the bean.
Robusta coffee beans are used in ‘coffee blends’, where arabica and robusta coffee beans are mixed together to create the desired flavours. With robusta being higher in caffeine than arabica, it’s often used in high caffeinated coffee.
4. Coffee replaced beer as the drink to have on a morning
In England, barley was known as the ‘poor-man’s wheat’, and not only was it baked as bread, but it was also drunk each morning as a beer-soup.
This was the case throughout much of Europe, but different periods of time, geography, classes, and individual families meant different sorts of fermented alcoholic drinks were consumed.
Once tea and coffee became wildly available, they began to replace the go-to morning drink. People found they were way more productive and energetic if they drank coffee each morning, as opposed to beer. Surprisingly!
5. The word ‘coffee’ goes back to the Arabic word ‘qahwah’
The word “coffee” entered the English language in the late 16th century.
It came from the Dutch word “koffie”, which was borrowed from the Turkish work “kahve”, which itself came from the Arabic word “qahwah”.
There are two arguments about where the Arabic word “qahwah” came from. Some who have studied the etymology of the word say it originally referred to a type of wine. Alternatively, there is a trace back to the name Kaffa, which was a medieval kingdom in Ethipoia where the plant was exported from and sent to Arabia.
6. Beethoven was a little obsessive about his coffee
The famous composer Ludwig Van Beethoven made sure exactly 60 beans went into each cup, and would count them out before the coffee was made.
He’s even famous for the quote “won’t you have some coffee before you go?” which he said semi-apologetically after scaring away some unwelcomed friend.
7. The Trojan Room coffee pot webcam
The Trojan Room coffee pot was a coffee machine that was located in a room within the old Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge.
To avoid people being disappointed at finding no coffee in the pot after making the walk to the room, a camera was set up and the video was live streamed to all the desktops in the offices. It was then connected to the internet allowing people from all over the world to watch this coffee pot.
It was this that became the inspiration for the first webcam.
8. Coffee drinkers tend to live longer
A lot of studies that looked into the relationship of coffee and health have found that people who drink a moderate amount of coffee each day avoid an early death, and are less likely to die from infections, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other illnesses.
Now, these studies are observational and cannot establish a cause and effect, however the link between coffee and longevity presents itself time and again.
Even if the researchers can’t establish a cause and effect beyond reasonable doubt, it certainly, at least, shows that coffee isn’t harmful to us, and may actually be incredibly beneficial.
9. Decaf doesn’t mean caffeine free
Decaf literally means decaffeinated coffee, and not un-caffeinated coffee.
Although coffee goes through a rigorous and complex process to remove the caffeine, it doesn’t remove 100% of the caffeine. There is around 3-5% of caffeine left, which isn’t a lot, but still enough to prick up the senses.
So if you like to drink decaf coffee in the evening and find it hard to drop off to sleep, maybe you’ve just found your answer as to why.
10. You can overdose on coffee
Caffeine will begin to have an effect on your body when the concentration in the blood is 15 mg/L, if it reaches a concentration of 80-100 mg/L, this can be fatal.
You don’t have to worry about reaching this level from coffee though, you’d have to have the double espresso shots lined up. However, it’s not impossible, so don’t take that as a challenge.
If you’re taking caffeine tablets, and then combine these with energy drinks, coffee, or other caffeinated food and drink, then this could be trouble.
11. Four companies buy 50% of the worlds coffee production
Sara Lee, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, and Nestlé. These companies own a lot of coffee-related brands and produce a wide range of coffee products.
Any change in the demands of these companies can have a rippling effect on the whole coffee industry.
12. Spent coffee grounds are good for your skin
Leftover spent coffee grounds can work wonders for your skin if applied topically. The coffee grind works wonders as an exfoliating agent to help remove dirt and dead cells from the skin.
You can mix the grounds with coconut oil to make a face scrub, or with honey to create an exfoliating lip scrub.
Not only this, but the caffeine in the coffee has antioxidant properties and so can protect your skin from the sun.
13. Many times in the past people have tried to ban coffee
Can you imagine a world where coffee has been ingrained in our mind as a bad drug, that has dire consequences for those who consume it!
To give one example, King Gustav III, in Sweden, banned coffee in 1746, as well as “coffee paraphernalia”.
He was so adamant it was an evil drink that he ordered convicted murderers to drink coffee, while doctors made note of how long it took for coffee to kill them. Unsurprisingly, no one died, and the doctors were probably pretty bored.
14. The Finnish are the world’s biggest coffee drinkers
On average, each Finn drinks around 26.45 lbs (12 kg) of coffee per year. That is a lot of coffee. If you were to take children out of the stat, then that figure would be even higher per person!
Finnish people drink coffee everyday, many times a day, without fail. Even many workers unions require coffee breaks. At big gatherings like birthdays, weddings, funerals etc. coffee is served without limit.
15. Brazil grows the most coffee in the world
The first thing you might think of when I mention Brazil, is coffee. If that’s so then it may come as no surprise that Brazil are the champions of producing coffee, and have done so for quite a while.
In fact, for the last 150 years, Brazil has produced the most coffee out of all the countries. With 27,000 sqkm dedicated to growing this precious bean, there’s no wonder they produce so much coffee!
16. The Boston Tea Party helped to popularize coffee
A movement that was to fuel the American Revolution also helped to increase the popularity of coffee.
When the British imposed a heavy tax on tea, Americans were furious and turned their back on tea. Drinking coffee not only became the beverage of choice, but also became a patriot act. Coffee was used additionally to rally the men before battle, keeping them alert and attentive.
17. Coffee beans took Brazil to the Olympics in 1932
The 1932 Olympic games were held in Los Angeles, and for the Brazilian team, that was a problem. They didn’t have enough money to fund their trip, so to raise funds, they had to sell coffee beans at each port their ship stopped at along the way.
They did this successfully, and made it to LA, but unfortunately didn’t do too well in the games. They were thrown out of the Olympics for attacking a referee.
18. Only 2 US states grow coffee beans
The most famous US coffee growing location is Hawaii. I’m sure you’ve heard of Kona coffee before, one of the most expensive coffee in the world. In 1828, Reverend Ruggles planted the very first coffee tree in the Kona district. By 1899, almost 3 million trees had grown in the area.
A recent entry into the coffee growing industry is California, with some experimental farms in Santa Barbara. The Coffea plant needs specific weather conditions, which are found close to the equator, limiting the amount of states that can grow coffee.
19. Kopi Luwak is the world’s most expensive coffee
There’s a clause to this though, as there are two ways to harvest Kopi Luwak coffee. Firstly, for those who don’t know, Kopi Luwak is a type of coffee, where coffee beans have been eaten and passed through a certain type of cat, called a Civet.
These beans, which come through the other side unscathed, are collected and sold as premium coffee.
As you can imagine, a lot of this coffee is produced by Civets that are caged, being force fed coffee. The most expensive, humane, and natural way, is of course, the most expensive.
There are some natural Kopi Luwak operations going on, which can retail at $100 per 100g of coffee beans!
20. Coffee secured James Michael Tylers role in the hit US show “Friends”
Gunther in Friends is a character famous for his awkwardness, one liners, and his love for Rachel. What is less well known is the reason why James Michael Tylers became Gunther.
Out of all the auditions for the role, James was the only one that could use a coffee machine correctly. And so, he got the part.
21. The world’s largest cup of coffee contained 6,007 US gallons
It was made by Alcaldia Municipal de Chinchina in Colombia in 2019, and took fifty people working solidly for a month to accomplish.
The world record attempt was part of an effort to celebrate and highlight the local coffee culture, and the importance of the local farmers.
So there you have it, 21 crazy facts about coffee. Which one will you share first?