Monday, October 1 marks the 4th annual International Coffee Day, a global celebration of coffee’s journey from the farm to our local shops. Many people, myself included, rely on coffee to start their day right. Apparently the rich aroma gives us added pep, making it beneficial to “wake up and smell the coffee.”
The origin of coffee: Ethiopian herdsmen in the 9th century noticed the effect caffeine had on their goats, who appeared to “dance” after eating coffee berries. A local monk made a drink with the berries, and the original cup of coffee was born. In the 13th century people began to roast the beans, the first step in the process of making coffee as we know it today. A dozen facts about my favourite beverage follow:
- Coffee is the second most traded commodity on earth. Approximately 25 million farmers in over 50 countries are involved in its production. The number one commodity? Oil.
- For the last 150 years, Brazil has produced the largest amount of coffee in the world. At 40% of the total, its volume is twice that of 2nd and 3rd place holders, Colombia and Vietnam.
- Although the British brought coffee to the New World in the mid-1600s, tea continued to be the preferred drink until 1773. After King George III imposed a heavy tax on tea, leading to the revolt known as the Boston Tea Party, Americans transferred their allegiance to coffee.
- The world consumes close to 2.25 billion cups of coffee every day.
- The citizens of Finland drink the most coffee of any country in the world.
- Decaf does not mean caffeine-free. An eight ounce brewed cup of decaf has two-to-12 milligrams of caffeine. In comparison, a regular cup has anywhere from 95 to 200 milligrams.
- Coffee beans are actually the pit of a berry, which makes them a fruit.
- Research shows that older patients with high levels of caffeine in their blood have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, caffeine has positive effects on type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
- Coffee was the first food to be freeze-dried, a process started during WWII to keep foods fresh.
- Coffee with cream cools about 20% slower than black coffee.
Drinking caffeine in the evening delays the brain’s release of melatonin and interrupts our circadian rhythm by as much as 40 minutes.
- Espresso has more caffeine per unit volume than most coffee beverages. However, given its smaller serving size, the total caffeine content is less than a mug of standard brewed coffee. •