It hardly comes as a surprise when we say that coffee is the reason we get out of bed each morning. We aren’t alone in this, as coffee happens to be the second most popular beverage in the world.
As it turns out, coffee has a vibrant and extensive history, but the question is: what do you actually know about it? Here are 11 fun facts about your morning cup of Joe that will probably probably surprise you.
1. Discovered by a goat herder.
If legend is to be believed, coffee was discovered by a goat herder in Ethiopia in the 9th century. He saw his goats eating coffee cherries and noted a change in their behaviour. The herder shared these findings with local monks who then made a drink using coffee beans. Realising that they could stay up all night and pray now, the original cup of coffee was born.
2. The first seven beans were smuggled into India.
Baba Budan, a traveller returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, smuggled and planted 7 beans in the Chandagiri Hills in Chikmangalur. It took a couple of hundred years, but the seven beans of coffee multiplied into the first coffee plantation of India in 1840. The hills are now named after him and known as Baba Budan Giri.
3. Coffee is actually a fruit.
Coffee beans grow on a bush. They are actually the pit of cherry-like berries, which we call “beans” because of the resemblance to legumes. Now you also have the quickest and most emotionally satisfying way to get your five servings of fruit per day, thank us later!
4. Coffee drinkers tend to live longer.
If Harvard Health Publishing is to be believed, moderate consumption of black coffee (about three to four cups per day) can lead to a longer life span, reduced risk of heart disease, Parkinson’s and diabetes. You heard them! Skip the milk and sugar though.
5. You can swim in a coffee pool in Japan.
All your dreams of swimming around in a giant coffee cup can come true at this Japanese spa. The Yunessun Spa Resort also allows you to rest and rejuvenate in pools filled with green tea, wine, and chocolate!
6. The Americano came to life because American soldiers in WWII found espresso too strong.
Not used to the strong full-bodied espressos, American GI Joe’s requested them to be watered down, giving life to the Americano. This is also where the term “cup of Joe” originated from.
7. Coffee is the world’s second largest traded commodity.
In one calendar year, humans consume roughly 500 billion cups of coffee. After petroleum, coffee is the second most traded commodity worldwide.
8. Just smelling coffee can help wake you up
Scientists have found that just inhaling brewing coffee in the morning can activate your brain to face the horrors of the day.
9. One of the world’s most expensive coffee is made by cat poop.
Kopi Luwak, one of the most expensive coffees globally is made from beans digested from the Asian Palm Civet. In other words, cat poop. The cats digestive tracts are supposed to lend the coffee beans an irresistible mellow flavour. Hmm, yummy.
10. All to watch a coffee pot
If you ever wondered why the first webcam was built, look no further. Researchers at Cambridge University built the technology back in 1991, because they were tired of leaving their desk to check on the coffee pot repeatedly. True genius is built from necessity!
11. Many people have tried to ban coffee.
Scandal follows! In 1511, leaders in Mecca believed that coffee stimulated radical thinking and banned the drink. Some 16th century Italian clergymen tried to ban coffee which they believed was “satanic”. The Swedish government banned coffee and coffee paraphernalia (even cups and dishes) as recently as the 18th century — for its supposed ties to rebellious sentiments.