September 29 is National Coffee Day, so pour yourself a cup of Joe and learn about our favorite beverage!
• When coffee was first discovered, it was called “Qahhwat al-bun,” from the Arabic for “the wine of the bean.” The name was shortened to “Qhawa,” then changed by the Turks to “Kahve,” and finally by the Dutch to “Koffie.”
• Only one beverage outranks coffee in popularity … water! One-third of the tap water used for drinking in North America goes toward brewing coffee.
• When you’re grinding your own coffee beans, you aren’t really grinding beans at all, but rather pits of a cherry-like berry that grows on a bush or tree.
• For more than 150 years, Brazil has held the title of world leader in coffee production, with about 40% of the world’s coffee grown there. Vietnam is a distant second, with only half of Brazil’s production. It takes 37 gallons of water to produce enough beans to make just one cup of coffee. A single coffee plant provides only enough beans in an entire year to fill just a one-pound bag of ground coffee.
• It might surprise you that the country of Finland consumes the most coffee, with an average of 27.5 lbs. per person annually. Norway is second and Iceland is third. The United States is way down the list at #25.
• There are specific conditions required for a coffee tree to flourish – high altitudes, tropical climates, and rich soil. As a result, there are only two U.S. states that grow coffee, Hawaii and California. One of the most expensive coffees in the world, Hawaii’s Kona coffee is grown in the Big Island’s Kona region in mineral-rich volcanic soil. It was brought to the area in 1828 by Samuel Ruggles from Brazilian cuttings. About 7,000 acres are planted in coffee throughout Hawaii, about 800 farms, the state’s second largest-produced crop.
• While there are over 100 different species of coffee, the two dominant species are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica, grown at higher altitudes, is the variety planted by most growers, and is referred to as “shade coffee.” The beans are slightly larger and more oval in shape and have more sugars and lipids than Robusta beans, with a sweeter and fruitier taste. Robusta beans, known as “sun-grown coffee,” are smaller and rounder in shape, with an earthy and sometimes bitter taste. Its caffeine content is 2.7%, compared to Arabica’s 1.5%, making it a popular choice for espresso blends and French press.
• It makes sense that every cup of coffee will contain a different caffeine content. The amount of caffeine depends on the type of beans, how the beans were roasted, and how it was brewed. A typical 8-oz. cup of drip-brewed coffee will contain about 115 mg of caffeine, while the same amount of instant will have 65 mg. Light roast coffee has more caffeine than dark roast because the longer coffee is roasted, the more caffeine is cooked out from the bean. Decaf coffee isn’t completely free of caffeine, and still contains from 2 to 12 mg. per cup.
• Drinking too much coffee can bring on nausea, muscle spasms, and even seizures, rapid breathing, and shock. But don’t worry too much about the serious side effects, as you’d need to drink about 70 cups in a 24-hours period to have a severe overdose.