30 Fun Coffee Facts

  1. Coffee was discovered in the 9th century, according to tradition, when an Ethiopian goat herder named Khaldi found that his typically lethargic goats were more lively after nibbling an evergreen tree’s red berries.
  2. Though coffee was discovered in Ethiopia around A.D. 850, it wasn’t until it spread to Mocha, Yemen, in around 1100 that it became firmly established as a popular drink. From Mocha (from which Mocha coffee derives its name), beans were shipped to India, Java, and eventually Europe in 1515. By 1675, England had more than 3,000 coffee houses
  3. Coffee was originally regarded as a wonder drug in Yemen and Arabia and was taken only at the advice of a doctor. Many saw coffee as a brain tonic or as a way to stimulate religious visions.
  4. Arabs were the first to cultivate coffee trees on the Arabian Peninsula. Arabs typically roasted and boiled coffee, or qahwa, which is Arabic for “the wine of Islam.
  5. A study carried out in 2011 showed that women who consume two to three cups of coffee a day were 15% less likely to develop depression over a 10-year period than women who consumed one cup of coffee or less a day.
  6. Every year, over 500 billion cups of coffee are drunk, making coffee the most popular beverage in the world. Following crude oil, it is also the most traded commodity in the world.
  7. The only places in North America where coffee is grown is in Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
  8. The world’s first coffee house opened in 1475 in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul)
  9. When Khair Bey, the governor of Mecca, banned coffee in 1511 because he feared it might encourage resistance to his rule, the sultan executed him on the grounds that coffee was actually “blessed.”
  10. Coffee was imported from Arabia to Europe through Venice in the 1600s. While some monks urged Pope Clemente VIII to outlaw the “Muslim” drink, the pope argued that the drink was so good that it would be a “sin” to let only “pagans drink it.” Coffee thus began to spread across Europe.
  11. When the first coffeehouse opened in England in 1652, women were prohibited from entering, other than to serve men.
  12. A Belgian named George Washington invented instant coffee in 1906 in Guatemala.
  13. Research has shown that drinking coffee may decrease cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disorders.
  14. The Arabs discovered coffee, but were jealous of their discovery and refused to allow fertile coffee seeds to leave their country. However a 17th-century Muslim pilgrim, Baba Budan, smuggled seven seeds out of Arabia and planted them in India. It is said that all the world’s coffee came from these seven seeds.
  15. Americans are the world’s leading coffee consumer. They consume 450 million cups of coffee per day, or more than 150 billion cups a year.
  16. There are two main species of the coffee plant used to commercially produce coffee: 1) Coffee arabica, which originated in the Middle East, and 2) Coffea robusta, which originated in the Congo. Arabica trees produce the best quality coffee and are the most widely cultivated (3/4 of the world’s coffee), while Robusta beans are hardier, contain 40-50% more caffeine, and are used in many instant coffees.
  17. The Dutch were the first Europeans to enter the coffee trade. They imported coffee plants from the Malabar Coast of India to their colonies in what were then called the Dutch East Indies, or present-day Indonesia.
  18. In 1715, Dutch coffee merchants presented the influential King of France, Louis XIV, with a coffee tree of his own. Millions and millions of trees have sprung from that single tree, thanks in part to Chevalier Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, who stole some cuttings from the tree and began cultivating coffee on Martinique in the Caribbean. Within 50 years, there were over 20 million trees on Martinique and neighboring islands.
  19. Although yields vary from harvest to harvest, a single coffee tree usually provides only enough coffee beans in a year to fill a half-kilo (one-pound) bag of ground coffee.
  20. It takes 3 to 4 years for a coffee tree to mature. Once it matures, each tree will bear one to two pounds of coffee beans per growing season.
  21. Light roast coffee has more caffeine that dark roast coffee. The longer coffee is roasted, the more caffeine is cooked from the bean.
  22. The Turks call their coffee houses “schools for the wise
  23. Coffee was banned three times in three different cultures: once in Mecca in the 16th century, once when Charles II in Europe banned the drink in an attempt to quiet an ongoing revolution, and once when Frederick the Great banned coffee in Germany in 1677 because he was concerned people were spending too much money on the drink.
  24. The coffee industry employs 25 million people around the world.
  25. Tea was more popular than coffee in America until King George the III’s Stamp Act of 1767 increased taxes. The result was the Boston Tea Party, a rebellion in which Bostonians dumped the British East India tea cargos into a harbor. From that point, coffee became America’s national drink and was emotionally linked with its revolution.
  26. With more than four billion coffee trees, Brazil is the world’s leading producer of coffee. In fact, Brazil produces around one third of the world’s coffee today. Vietnam, Indonesia, Colombia, and India round out the top five coffee-producing countries.
  27. Coffee trees are cultivated in over 70 countries, mostly in Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.
  28. The health effects of coffee depend largely on how coffee is prepared. For example, coffee paper filters remove oily components called diterpenes, which have been linked to coronary heart disease. Metal filters, however, do not remove these oily components.
  29. Studies show that men who drink six or more cups of coffee daily decrease their risk of developing prostate cancer by 20%
  30. The word “coffee” is from the Arabic qahwah, which is thought to have meant “wine.” The Turkish word for coffee, kahve, is derived from the Arabic word and is related to the word café. Other scholars believe the word is from Kaffa, a region in Ethiopia where coffee is thought to have originated.