Coffee is synonymous with bliss. A good cup of jo instantly makes early mornings bearable. But, did you know that the popularity of coffee was due to the Boston Tea Party? I’ve mentioned using old coffee grounds before, but below are several interesting coffee facts that I bet you didn’t know!
#1 Coffee, mojo and java
The first reference to “coffee” in the English language dates to 1598. The word coffee comes from the Turkish word kahve. The Turkish word was borrowed from the Arabic word qahwah (thanks Wikipedia). Since then it’s been called a variety of things, including:
- Bean juice
- Black tea
- Morning mud
- The fix
#2 Coffee used to be Rebellious
We’ve all heard stories of the Boston Tea Party, right? American colonists dumped thousands of crates of tea into the Boston harbor to oppose a tea tax that was imposed by Britain. Well, according to “All About Coffee,” a tea and coffee trade journal, the tea tax may have made coffee the preferred beverage of the colonists:
“The Boston “tea party” of 1773, when citizens of Boston, disguised as Indians, boarded the English ships lying in Boston harbor and threw their tea cargoes into the bay, cast the die for coffee; for there and then originated a subtle prejudice against “the cup that cheers”, which one hundred and fifty years have failed entirely to overcome.”
Starbucks gets its name from the chief mate in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick.” Originally, however, when the company’s founders were searching for a name Pequod was first on their list. Pequod is the name of the whaling ship from “Moby-Dick.”
#4 Coffee and Technology meet
Everybody loves coffee breaks, but it’s a waste of time to walk to the coffee pot only to find that it’s empty. To combat this problem, the University of Cambridge installed the world’s first webcam to monitor the university’s coffee pot in the Trojan Room (a break room). The webcam provided users a small image of the coffee pot in the break room as to avoid pointless trips across the building for refills.
The webcam was online from March 1993 until August 2001.
Speaking of technology, Penn State Researchers released an app for coffee consumption. Check it out.
#5 We Spend How Much?!
According to a report by consumerist.com, American’s spend $1,092 a year on coffee. That’s around $20 a week. Young people generally spend more on coffee than older people.
#6 Coffee and the Summer Olympics
Brazil had 82 athletes competing in the 1932 Summer Olympics, but the country didn’t have enough money to pay for the athletes’ travel expenses. The solution? The athletes took a ship named the Itaquice’ and sold coffee to cover the team’s travel expenses.
#7 Coffee on the Stage
Between 1732 and 1735, Johann Sebastian Bach composed a comic opera about coffee addiction. One line featured in the show is, “If I can’t drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment, I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat.” I have the sneaking suspicion that many of us feel the same way.
#8 Would you Spend $600 for a Pound?
Kopi luwak is a way of processing coffee beans by collecting beans once they have been eaten and excreted by an animal known as the Asian Palm Civet. The small, ferret-like animal doesn’t only eat the beans, it eats the whole coffee cherry. Though many coffee experts regard kopi Luwak as a novelty, it hasn’t stopped coffee enthusiasts from paying $100-$600 per pound for the beans.
#9 Coffee vs. Diabetes
A growing library of research suggests that coffee drinkers are less likely than non-drinkers to suffer from type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Coffee drinkers also have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems and stroke.
#10 America’s favorite beverage
American’s drink 400 million cups of coffee per day. That makes the Unites States the largest consumer of coffee in the world. According to the International Coffee Organization, over 50% of American’s over 18 years old drink coffee everyday, that’s a lot of brew!