10 Surprisingly Nutty Facts About Coffee That You Probably Didn’t Know

October 9, 2019

On an average day, billions of cups of coffee are consumed all across the world. And odds are, you’re responsible for at least one of those.

It’s one of the most popular beverages in the world, the subject of far too many memes and the long-standing antidote to a very sleepy state of affairs.

So let’s explore a few fun, strange, but ultimately interesting facts about coffee!

1. Brazil: The Land of Coffee, Finland: The Land of Coffee Lovers

Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world, followed by a distant second – Vietnam. However, it is by no means the largest consumer of coffee. That distinction goes to Finland, with over 12 kilograms or 27 pounds per capita.

In fact, the entire list of top consumers is dominated by Scandinavian countries. Norway ranks second, Iceland ranks third, followed by Denmark and Sweden in sixth place.

2. The Most Expensive Coffee is Sourced from Civet Poop

The Indonesian specialty, kopi luwak or “cat poop coffee”, is the most expensive coffee in the world. The civet consumes the cherries from the coffee plant, leaving only the seeds undigested with all its flavors intact. The seeds (or beans) are then fermented for human consumption.

However, like any commercial success, this process has been the subject of exploitation and unethical practices with regard to the civets.

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3. 2 States for Coffee

While Americans consume a ton of coffee, just two of the 50 states are able to grow these plants commercially. One being Hawaii and the other California. Most of our coffee is actually sourced through imports from South American countries like Brazil or Colombia.

4. The 16th Century Church Hated It?

So, at one point coffee was actually banned by 16th-century Catholic leaders in Italy.

Why, you ask?

They believed that the effects of coffee were nothing short of satanic. However, Pope Clement VII, couldn’t stand this and unbanned it after a quick baptism. Maybe that’s where all those health benefits come from.

The controversy wasn’t limited to 16th century Italy. The Swedish government also attempted to ban the drink, claiming it aroused a rebellious sentiment among the public. Their ban even went a step further, outlawing cups and other associated accessories.

Given the current Scandinavian prevalence of coffee, this is now quite ironic.

5. Your Low-Calorie Pick-Me-Up

Black coffee? That’s a one-to-six calorie drink, right there. So if you’re watching your weight an espresso or two are ridiculously easy to burn off. A venti frappuccino? Not so much.

When you add creamers, milk, ice-cream, and flavonoids it ups your calorie intake.

6. Brainstorming Over Coffee

London considered coffee the drink of conversations. Well, not so much the drink itself, but the coffee shops that sold them. Men would converse over a cuppa, exchange thoughts and ideas and share events of the day. However, it was common practice to ban women from these shops.

7. The Dancing Goats of Ethiopia

The hunt for the “real” origin story is shrouded in controversy, but legend has it that the first traces of coffee date back to 9th-century goat-herders in Ethiopia. According to this story, the goat herders observed that their goats would begin “dancing” energetically, after grazing.

Upon investigation, they discovered that the goats were consuming the fruit from the coffee plants. He confided in a local monk, who then made a drink from the fruit (or cherries) and noticed that it helped keep him up at night.

8. The Story of Espresso

In Italian, espresso means “pressing out”. The name comes from pressing or forcing boiling water on coffee grounds to give it a stronger taste. While espresso does have more caffeine per volume, a conventional cup of cappuccino collectively has more caffeine.

9. Seeds, not Beans

Yeah, we call them beans, but technically they’re seeds. Coffee is actually sourced from the cherry seeds on coffee shrubs. While there are actually hundreds of sub-species of coffee, only arabica, and robusta (also known as canephora) varieties are commercially grown and consumed.

The cherries themselves were consumed by combining the pulp of the fruit with fat, in certain parts of the world. Most cherries contain two beans, but a small percentage hold just one.

10. Three Waves to the Coffee Movement

What defines the evolution of coffee?

Well, so far there have been three observable trends in humanity’s love for the drink.

The first wave saw coffee as an inexpensive, unsophisticated drink, that was available to everyone. There was no emphasis on varieties, no coffee connoisseurs or major discernible differences in the taste across the world.

The second wave saw the growth of coffee shops and cafes. Each of these added their own spin on the beverage by adding various other flavors and sweeteners to give it some distinction. At this point, the coffee itself was similar, but the added flavorings allowed some customization.

Now the third wave is where coffee has truly moved beyond a drink. It is now an art. Roasting, cultivating, and brewing are concepts to be studied and perfected. And on a more literal note – there’s the practice of latte art.

Some Bonus Facts About Coffee

The list says ten, but we’ve got a couple of bonus facts about coffee that we think you should know.

For one, the Boston Tea Party helped contribute to the rise of its popularity, and for another, our menu has a bunch of amazing coffees that you have to try!

Come visit us at any of our locations in Downtown Chicago or Evanston for a fantastic cuppa joe!