Surprising Things About Coffee

Coffee is not just a drink; it's a cultural phenomenon, an integral part of our daily lives. What are the surprising things we don't know about coffee?

Coffee has fascinated people for centuries and we are still curious about how to brew the perfect cup of coffee. From bean selection and grind size to water temperature and brewing methods, coffee is a silent presence in our lives that continue to surprise us with every sip we take. But what are the surprising thing about coffee?

people at restaurant

A Brief History of Coffee

Coffee is believed to have had its origins in the rugged highlands of Ethiopia, where was discovered by a goat herder named Kaldi who noticed his goats were more excited after consuming the berries of a particular shrub. Curiosity led him to sample these berries, and immediately started to spread northward, across the Red Sea into Yemen during the 15th century.

There, in the Yemeni district of Arabia, coffee found a new home, and by the 16th century, its aromatic power began spreading to distant lands, including Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. It’s unique qualities captured the imagination of many, as it allowed people to devote more of their precious time to spiritual matters and prayer, thus enhancing their connection with the divine.

The world’s first coffee house, a place where the aroma of coffee was not just savoured but celebrated, opened its doors in Constantinople in 1475, known today as Istanbul. Inside these bustling coffee houses, coffee was not just a daily drink but a symbol of hospitality extended to guests. People flocked to coffee houses not only for the joy of sipping this dark elixir but hubs for lively conversation, musical performances, chess matches, gossip, and the latest news from near and far.

Coffee houses quickly became the epicentres for the exchange of information, thus earning the moniker “Schools of the Wise.” With Mecca welcoming thousands of pilgrims from around the world each year, the “wine of Araby” began spreading its influence across continents. For centuries coffee united cultures, inspired conversations and brought people together.

Coffee then made its way to the Arabian Peninsula, where the act of brewing coffee became a central facet of the social fabric. By the 15th century, coffeehouses had sprung up in the Middle East, fostering intellectual discourse and community gatherings. The Ottoman Empire embraced coffee in the 16th century, and from there, it spread to Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world.

In the 17th century, coffeehouses began to dot the European landscape, serving as hubs for stimulating discussion and innovation. The French philosopher Voltaire and the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach were among the many luminaries who frequented these hubs. Fast forward to the 21st century, and coffee is not just a drink; it’s a cultural phenomenon, an integral part of our daily lives.

Our Love Affair with Coffee

Coffee has truly become a global affair. Below, we explore some captivating statistics that shed light on the extent of coffee’s influence:

  • Global Coffee Consumption: According to data from the International Coffee Organization, as of 2021, the world consumes approximately 167 million bags of coffee each year, with the United States, Europe, and Brazil being the largest consumers.
  • Economic Impact: Coffee plays a vital role in the global economy. Over 125 million people in more than 70 countries depend on coffee cultivation for their livelihoods. Coffee is often the backbone of entire communities.
  • Varieties of Coffee Beans: There are more than 100 known species of coffee, but the two most widely consumed are Arabica and Robusta, each offering distinct flavours and characteristics.
  • Coffee as a Social Catalyst: Coffeehouses have been and continue to be centres of intellectual and social activity. In 17th-century England, they were even referred to as “penny universities” for the enlightening conversations they hosted.
  • Coffee and Health: Studies suggest that coffee, when consumed in moderation, offers several health benefits, including increased alertness, improved mood, and a reduced risk of certain diseases.

Do you know Coffee is a fruit?

The coffee we know and love comes from the coffee plant, scientifically known as Coffea. These plants produce bright, cherry-like fruits, often referred to as coffee cherries. Coffee plants produce coffee cherries, which are essentially the fruit’s outer shell. These cherries vary in colour as they ripen and are handpicked by farmers when fully mature, a critical decision for flavour.

After harvest, the cherries are processed to reveal the beans inside. There are two main methods: dry and wet. The dry method involves sun-drying the cherries, yielding heavier, earthier beans. The wet method uses water for separation, resulting in cleaner, more acidic beans.

Roasting transforms these green beans into the brown ones we recognize. The roast level significantly affects flavour, from light to dark. Brewing coffee extracts the fruit’s essence and the influence of its origin, climate, and processing. It’s a reminder that coffee is a natural product shaped by cultivation and nature, from the farm to your cup.

person pouring coffee ion jar

Do Bees Love Coffee?

In the world of nature, unexpected relationship often blossom and bees and coffee plants cherish an intriguing alliance. It turns out that bees have a penchant for coffee plants, but it’s not the aromatic coffee beans that capture their attention; it’s the caffeinated nectar within the coffee flowers.

Yes, you read that correctly. Coffee flowers contain nectar infused with caffeine, the same stimulating compound that perks up sleepy humans in the morning. This caffeinated nectar acts like nature’s energy drink, making bees as alert and bustling as, well, a caffeine-infused coffee drinker.

The concept is quite simple: bees are naturally drawn to caffeine, just like humans. While sipping on this caffeinated nectar, bees become more energetic and efficient in their pollination efforts, zipping from flower to flower with increased vigour. This, in turn, benefits the coffee plant by enhancing its chances of successful pollination and, ultimately, higher yields of coffee cherries.

The coffee flower’s caffeinated nectar serves as a rewarding resource for bees, motivating them to visit coffee plants more frequently and consistently. In a world where pollinators play a pivotal role in the reproduction of countless plant species, this collaboration is a win-win scenario. When you see bees buzzing around coffee plants, you know you are not the only coffee lover…in our ecosystems.

Hawaii is not the only US state producing coffee

The tropical climate and diverse, mountainous landscapes of Puerto Rico create a favourable environment for coffee cultivation. In the past, this region was known for its high-volume coffee production. However, over recent years, Puerto Rico has experienced a decline in its coffee industry.

In response to this decline, organizations like Techno Serve have initiated efforts to work alongside Puerto Rican farmers. Their mission is to revive the once-thriving coffee sector, which has long been intertwined with the island’s vibrant café culture. In August a Puerto Rican coffee has broken the 90-point barrier – but is there a future for its specialty coffee sector?

aerial photography of green mountain beside body of water under white sky

What makes Kona coffee one of the finest

Kona coffee originally grown in the Kona region of the Big Island. The rich volcanic soil combined with the state’s tropical climate makes it one of most ideal places in the US to grow coffee plants. What makes Kona coffee so exceptional is the unique combination of factors found in this tropical paradise. The rich, volcanic soil, a product of the island’s geological history, provides a fertile foundation for coffee plants to flourish.

The state’s tropical climate, with its gentle breezes and ample sunshine, further enhances the growing conditions for coffee. With an elevation ranging from approximately 800 to 2,500 feet, the Kona region benefits from the ideal altitude for coffee cultivation, creating a balanced and distinctive cup profile.

The meticulous care that goes into cultivating, harvesting, and processing these beans is a tradition passed down through generations of Hawaiian farmers. The result is a coffee that captivates the senses with its smooth, yet complex, flavour profile, often characterized by hints of nuttiness, bright acidity, and a pleasant, lingering finish. So, whether you’re an avid coffee connoisseur or simply a man who appreciate the finer things in life, Hawaii’s Kona coffee is a treasure worth savouring.

Lifestyle Editor
Lifestyle Editor
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