25 Interesting Facts About Coffee (America’s National Beverage)

woman drinking a cup of coffee

Have you ever sat at your favorite coffee shop sipping your favorite refreshing treat, and wondered about the coffee itself? Have you ever noticed as you rush out to work in the morning that almost every person you see is carrying a cup of coffee of some kind? Coffee is one of those things that humans love and we need it, yet we don’t spend a lot of time considering where it originates or how it gets to us. The fact is 100 million Americans drink coffee every day. Some are strict with a one cup per day rule, while others consume it multiple cups throughout the day for increased energy and alertness. Maybe we should take a little time and get to know our national breakfast drink better. After all, coffee has been America’s national beverage since December 16, 1773, when a group of Patriots dumped tea into Boston Harbor.

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Coffee was severely rationed during World War 2

Americans were not totally opposed to the rationing during World War 2 but they were opposed to the rationing of coffee. America was just getting past the Great Depression when World War 2 began. During the Great Depression, millions of Americans could not afford coffee. Once they could afford it again, it was rationed. President Roosevelt heard the plea of the American people and in July of 1943 coffee was the first item to come off of the ration list. By 1946, Americans were consuming twice as much coffee as we consume today. They got overwhelmed when they could finally have all the coffee they wanted.

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Juan Valdez was the most famous coffee grower in the world

Except he really wasn’t, and millions of Americans were disappointed when they found out he was a fictional character created by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Columbia. The advertisements insisted that every bean was hand-picked by Juan Valdez himself. The advertising campaign was terrifically successful at branding 100% Columbian Coffee as coffee that is only grown and harvested in Columbia.

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bags of green coffee beans

Turkish husbands better bring the Joe

In 17th Century Turkey, the husband was required to promise that he would always keep his wife in coffee, that he would never neglect her coffee needs nor refuse to provide for them. If he broke the promise the wife could divorce him. Coffee was and still is, very important to Turkish culture and wives still require their coffee.

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pot of light roast coffee

Light roasts have more caffeine that dark roasts … or not

Maybe dark roasts have more caffeine that light roasts? Experts cannot agree on which one has the most caffeine. There is much debate about it. Logic says dark roast is stronger so seems like it has more caffeine, but some experts say that roast level makes little difference and most coffee has basically the same amount of caffeine per cup.

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Civet Coffee In Indonesia

The most expensive coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak

Kopi Luwak is processed from coffee beans eaten raw and digested by the animal called the civet cat or the palm civet. The civet cat is a small cat-like animal that likes to eat the coffee cherries. This specialty coffee costs hundreds of dollars a pound. It is exactly what it sounds like it is.

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children in china trying coffee

Mr. Coffee changed coffee

Or did Joe DiMaggio change coffee? When Mr. Coffee premiered in the early 1970s, everybody knew who Joe was, but nobody knew who Mr Coffee was. Joe let everybody know about this more excellent way to make coffee. Foodies across America had Mr. Coffee on their Christmas lists in 1975 and 40,000 a day were checked off those lists. There was a new coffee game in town and people paid the equivalent of $230 in today’s money for their Mr. Coffee. It was a caffeinated Christmas that year.

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woman pouring iced coffee into a cup

Coffee can be served hot or cold

Coffee has traditionally been a beverage enjoyed hot. For centuries we have been brewing coffee with hot water and drinking it before it cooled. Drinking coffee as an iced drink is a relatively new trend that shows no signs of slowing. Iced coffee has become a favorite of coffee lovers for summer time enjoyment.

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a huge pile of coffee beans

Arabica is the most valuable coffee bean

Arabica originated in the highlands of Ethiopia and today contributes 59% of all the coffee beans used in the world. Arabica is prized for its mild flavor and aroma. The qualities of Arabica beans vary in intensity depending on what region the Arabica beans are grown in. The climate, soil, and environment of the area can result in extreme differences in the same type of bean.

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person holding a cup of instant coffee

Robusta is the bean most often used for instant coffee

Due to the fact that Robust has a higher concentration of caffeine than Arabica it has a more bitter and less pleasant flavor. Robusta is also grown in different regions of the world and each region will provide different qualities to the beans grown there. Robusta is used in nearly all instant coffee. The strength of the brew is able to maintain the flavor through the drying process.

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Coffee is the 2nd most traded commodity in the world

Coffee is prized all over the world. The only commodity traded more than coffee is oil. The trading of coffee is a complex operation that few people understand. It has to do with where the coffee is grown, the quality and type of beans they are, and demand. It has been proven that Americans will pay almost any price for our favorite beverage, and our love affair with coffee only grows.

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Caffeine is a drug

Caffeine is a stimulant drug that can cause mild physical dependence. There are sometimes moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms experienced when a person’s normal caffeine intake is not met. There could be headaches, fatigue, irritability, and temporary moderate depression. Consuming a cup of coffee will generally relieve the symptoms. Most coffee drinkers who report having these symptoms, do not report a desire to cut back on their coffee consumption.

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Coffee is a breakfast beverage

Americans drink a lot of coffee every day and 65% of it, is consumed at breakfast time. Experts have said that first thing in the morning is the absolute worst time to drink coffee. Humans have been brewing coffee beans with water and sipping the results in the morning for as long as history is recorded. Coffee in the morning has been passed down through all of the generations that have had coffee. Experts probably are not going to change it now.

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man drinking coffee from mug

Americans break for coffee

When Pan American Coffee Bureau hired the Federal Advertising Agency to do a campaign for them, they did not set out to create a meme, they didn’t know what a meme was, but their campaign lives on today. Not everybody remembers the slogan, “Give yourself a coffee-break, and get what coffee gives you.” But everybody can appreciate the lasting impact of the words “coffee-break” on our culture. For decades the coffee break has been the most entertaining part of the day for many office workers. Historically, the most significant gossip is exchanged during a coffee break.

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woman drinking beverage at starbucks

Nearly 50% of coffee drinkers do not make coffee at home

There are so many choices for coffee that a whole generation of younger coffee lovers do not even have coffee supplies at their house. They stop by their favorite coffee chain first thing in the morning and maybe again in the afternoon. On the other hand, older people tend to make and consume their coffee at home.

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35% of coffee drinkers take their coffee black.

Most coffee lovers like a sweetener or creamer in their cup, but there is a group of hardcore coffee purists who take it just the way it comes with no embellishments. It tends to be older people who drink it black. The same ones that make and drink their coffee at home.

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Brazil produces 30% of the world’s coffee

The other top coffee producing countries are Vietnam, Columbia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia. Brazil is 10th in consumption per capita. Columbia is 44th in consumption per capita. Vietnam, Indonesia, and Ethiopia are not in the top 50. It is interesting that the countries that produce the most coffee are not the countries that consume the most coffee.

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Finland drinks the most coffee per capita

It is a fact, Finland drinks more coffee per capita than Americans do. Americans with their age-old love of coffee and their newer love of coffee shops don’t drink as much per capita as Finland does. The Finns have been drinking coffee and a lot of it for over 250 years. They tend to make their own coffee at home. When Helsinki got a chain coffee shop, they thought it tasted strange.

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The Coffee Economy In Costa Rica

Coffee farmers are underpaid

Coffee farmers are only paid 4 cents per pound for the coffee they produce. The coffee is picked by hand. It is a laborious process and very hard work for them. They must pick a lot of coffee to make a living. After all, it takes 40 to 45 coffee beans to make one espresso shot and espresso is only getting more popular. They might deserve a raise.

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Coffee is life

And not only in that humorous way that is on t-shirts and mugs. Literally, to millions of people all over the world, whose very livelihoods depend on the multi-billion dollar coffee industry, coffee is life. From the coffee growers in Vietnam or Ethiopia to the barista who serves hundreds of cups with a smile on her face. Coffee is life on many levels to many people.

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Coffee can kill you

It is possible to overdose on coffee, but it is estimated that a person would have to drink approximately 100 cups in a short span of time before it would kill them. Symptoms of caffeine overdose include dizziness, nausea, and increased thirst. Treatment for mild symptoms includes drinking water and eating bananas or potatoes.

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The King of England banned coffee

In 1675 King Charles II of England forbade the selling of coffee, chocolate and other treats from shops and he banned coffee houses altogether. His father King Charles I had been executed and Charles II was paranoid. He did not like for people to get together in coffeehouses and talk about issues of the day including politics. He was convinced a plot would be hatched to dethrone him. So he attempted to ban any chance for resistance to grow. It was not the coffee he was against, it was people communicating with each other that disturbed him.

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man holding coffee bean from plant

Coffee grows on trees

Coffee is a red berry that grows on trees. The trees are generally cultivated to be about 10 ft tall for ease of hand picking, however, they can grow up to 30 ft tall. The United States has only one state that grows coffee commercially, and that is Hawaii. The world-famous Kona coffee that is grown there brings a unique and delicious source of pride to Hawaiians.

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September 29 is National Coffee Day in the U.S.

America celebrates National Coffee Day every year with coffee and plenty of it. Sometimes there is a parade. Every coffee shop, whether independent family owned shop or national chain celebrates the day with a give-a-way of some sort. Most of the time it is a free cup of coffee that is offered. It is totally okay to drink more coffee than usual on September 29.

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two people drinking coffee out of mugs

George Washington invented instant coffee

George C. Washington was a Belgien-American man who resided part-time on his coffee plantation in Guatemala. One day as he waited for his wife to join him for coffee, he noticed a powdery substance forming on the spout of the silver pot that the coffee was being served in. After experimenting further, he started the G. Washington Coffee Refining Company in Morris Plains, New Jersey. The entire output of his plant was requisitioned during World War II and sent to the boys overseas.

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Coffee is good for you

Caffeine can boost the speed of rapid information processing by up to 10%. Consuming coffee may decrease stroke risk by 25%. Heavy coffee consumption can significantly reduce the risks for numerous cancers including endometrial, prostate, head and neck, and some skin and breast cancers. Coffee drinkers have notably less depression and coffee consumption appears to slow the progression of dementia and Parkinson’s Disease.

No matter what happens, coffee is here to stay. There are health benefits to drinking coffee that haven’t been discovered yet and uses for coffee more numerous every day. Whether you use it as an exfoliate in your bath or in the compost pile as a soil enhancer there is always a new idea for using coffee. We can drink it for breakfast or enjoy a cup after supper, but I think we can all agree on one thing, the best time to have a cup of coffee is right now.

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