Can’t wake up without a caffeine boost from your daily cup of coffee? Don’t worry, you’re far from being alone. Over 100 million people in the U.S. drink coffee on a daily basis, with 60% of those people claiming they can’t start their morning without it. But, even the biggest loyalists don’t know everything about how coffee has risen to this level of popularity.
Here are 20 little known facts to help you learn more about your favorite morning beverage!
1. It’s rumored that coffee was discovered by a goat herder.
An Ethiopian goat herder first noticed the beans’ magical qualities after his goats acted jittery after eating them. Guess we have that guy to thank for our morning pick-me-ups!
2. Ethiopia is a coffee mecca with thousands of heirloom varietals.
No wonder coffee was discovered in Ethiopia; the forests there have thousands of different varietals – some of which haven’t even been cultivated yet.
3. There are 2 kinds of coffee strains.
Want a more complex flavor? Stick to arabica, which has 50% more lipids and twice the amount of sugars as any other coffee (so there’s a much stronger flavor). Robustas, on the other hand, are usually cheaper than the speciality arabica kinds (they also have a higher caffeine content!). Both of these strains are divided further into varietals (mentioned above) – which include types like bourbon and typica.
4. Coffee has more flavors than wine.
Next time a snobby wine connoisseur tries to impress you with their wine knowledge, remind them that there could be as many as 1,500 aromatic characteristics in coffee – compared to just 200 found in wines!
5. Coffee beans can vary in color.
Coffee beans generally start green; then, as they ripen, they can turn yellow, orange, or red, depending on the strain or varietal.
6. Coffee plants can live up to 200 years.
Talk about having a long life! Coffee plants start from tiny little seeds, and then grow into a plant that can last for over 2 centuries!
7. Coffee plants require tons of water.
Coffee plants need almost 2,500 gallons of water when they’re cultivated. That’s even more than what a pound of beef requires (at 1,800 gallons!). If you’re trying to conserve water, you should remember that consuming coffee doesn’t necessarily help the ecosystem!
8. Roasters usually buy more than a year’s worth of beans at one time.
Countries that harvest coffee usually just have 1 (or maybe 2) harvests every year. So, roasters purchase up to a year’s worth of beans at once. They keep them fresh using special storage technology.
9. There’s a specific coffee flavor language.
Like wine lovers, coffee addicts have their own special language to describe the flavors of the beverage. The Speciality Coffee Association of America has a flavor wheel that roasters use to describe specific coffee flavors. They determine whether a coffee tastes delicious (like with hints of apricot or chocolate) or disgusting (like flavors of concrete or straw).
10. Coffee grinding is an important step in coffee making.
Coffee actually goes stale more quickly once it’s been ground, so you should try to buy whole beans and grind them at home for the best-tasting cup. Some coffee shops even spend tons of money on pricey grinders to make sure they get the best taste out of their beans.
11. Coffee loses 70% of its flavor within 2 minutes.
Technically, your coffee starts going stale after 15 minutes have passed (according to some serious coffee drinkers). Even if you grind your whole beans (as we mentioned above), you still might lose some of the flavor anyway.
12. Don’t throw out your leftover coffee!
Even if your coffee has gone stale, don’t simply toss it. In fact, your leftover coffee actually has other uses. Just pour the coffee into an ice cube tray, then later you can add some milk for an instant iced latte!
13. You don’t have to settle for bitter coffee.
If you’re trying to get through another cup of bitter coffee at the office, you can combat that with a pinch of salt. The salt actually works to block the bitter molecules on your tongue, so the flavor will improve instantly!
14. The US drinks more coffee than anywhere else in the world.
You would think Europeans have us beat, but we truly love our java. We consume more than any other country in the entire world. In second place? Germany!
15. The most expensive coffee in the world comes from Thailand.
The Black Ivory coffee from Thailand is the priciest coffee at $1,100 per kilogram (which equals about $70 for 5 or 6 espresso cups).
16. The priciest coffee is made from beans pooped out by cat-like animals.
Although it may sound disgusting, the most expensive coffee is made by feeding palm civets coffee beans. They go through the digestive tract (which supposedly gives them their amazing flavor), and then are pooped out to continue the cultivation process. Uh, no thanks.
17. Drinking coffee has tons of health benefits.
Sipping on coffee can help with everything from reducing your risk of stroke to helping you stave off diabetes. Some studies have even shown that drinking coffee gives you a decreased chance of getting Alzheimer’s.
18. Coffee can help you lose weight.
The caffeine in coffee can actually help kick-start your metabolism, which in turn speeds up your body’s fat-burning abilities. It can also help you stick to a diet because a 6 ounce cup of black coffee only has 7 calories!
19. Instead of adding cold milk to your coffee, use latte foam.
It’s easy to do! Just fill up a jar about halfway with milk, screw on the lid, and shake the jar for about 30 seconds. Then, just microwave for another 30 seconds for a smooth foam that will make your coffee taste delicious.
20. Skip the sugary flavorings for natural additives.
Those flavorings you can buy at the store are filled with sugar and other chemicals. For a more natural treat, grind in things like cinnamon sticks or orange rind for interesting flavors without the sugar overload and excessive calories.