Facts that Figure: Mugging It up for Coffee
Brain juice, java, morning fuel, liquid energy, morning mud, cup of joe… Call it by any name you like, but sometimes coffee is your best friend.
• The origins of coffee are about as murky as a cup of joe, with cream and sugar. A goatherd in Yemen, or Ethiopia, or maybe somewhere else, noticed that his goats were especially frisky after they nibbled on the fruits of the Coffea bush. That wouldn’t be so bad, except that they also wouldn’t go to sleep at night! The local monks were very excited about this berry that enabled them to continue their prayers into the wee hours of the night, and thus, coffee was born.
• The largest coffee producer in the world is Brazil, providing about 1/3 of the world’s coffee. The only US state that grows coffee is Hawaii, as the tropical, mountainous climate is the only place in the US suitable for growing coffee.
• Coffee beans are actually the pits of a cherry-like berry, not a bean. When they’re dried and roasted, they resemble beans more than berries. Technically they’re seeds, but they’re commonly called beans.
• In 16th-century Constantinople, disgruntled wives were able to sue for divorce if their husbands didn’t provide them with enough coffee!
• If you think you’re addicted to coffee, you probably drink less coffee than the average person in Finland. Finland consumes the most coffee per person in the world, and it’s considered perfectly normal to consume 8 cups of coffee per day. The average person goes through about 26 pounds of coffee per year. They even have a labor agreement stipulating that every worker must take two, 15-minute coffee breaks per day!
• Coffee drinkers live longer than non-coffee drinkers, according to a Harvard study. Research has linked moderate coffee intake (3-4 cups a day) to longer life spans as well as lowering the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.
• Coffee is the world’s second most traded commodity, right behind crude oil. It accounts for a whopping $100 billion dollar industry worldwide.
• Drinking coffee was once punishable by death! In Mecca, the governor declared that because of its mind-altering effects, coffee was prohibited by Islamic law. What he really was afraid of, was the people’s penchant for gathering in coffee houses and grumbling about their nasty governor. In Europe, the pope’s advisors urged him to prohibit what they called “Satan’s drink.” Supposedly, the pope took one sip and declared it was too delicious to ban!
• Do you know where the caffeine from your decaffeinated coffee goes? Coca-Cola is one of the biggest buyers of caffeine that’s a byproduct of the decaffeinating process.
• One day, both you and your car may be fueled by coffee! Scientists are working on extracting oil from coffee grounds, which is then turned into biodiesel.
• People around the world consume about 2.25 billion cups of coffee every day.
• Can coffee kill you? You would need to consume about 80 cups of coffee in one sitting, to reach a lethal amount.
• Nu, so is it true that kids shouldn’t drink coffee because it can stunt their growth? Shh… Don’t let the kids hear, but it’s not actually true. That doesn’t mean that it’s good for them, just that it won’t affect their growth. But if you’re not telling your kids that, then I definitely won’t!