6 Surprising Facts About Coffee

* This is a collaborative post *

The humble coffee bean is the addictive plant behind an industry worth somewhere in the region of $100 billion. If you’re a coffee aficionado, you might think you know a thing or two about this powerhouse of a drink, but bet you didn’t know some of these weird coffee facts.

1. It was reportedly discovered by goat farmers in Ethiopia in the 1400s

The story goes that  coffee originally came from Ethiopia and was discovered by goat farmers sometime in the ninth century after they noticed the weird and wonderful effects the plants would have on their goats.  Reports that the goats preferred tall, skinny lattes with a caramel drizzle to all other types of coffee though, are probably not true. 

2. It Was Banned by Two Major Religions

Coffee was considered such a vice at one time that it was banned by both Catholicism and Islam. It seems that leaders of both faiths worried that coffee’s stimulating properties would have an undesirable effect on their faithful, although it’s not entirely clear what they thought might happen. Of course, these bans were later reversed and now you’re just as likely to see a priest or an Imam drinking coffee as the next person.

3. The World’s Most Expensive Coffee

The world’s most expensive coffee is called Kopi Luwak, and at around £25 a cup, you may need to have your credit card handy if you develop a taste for it. Fortunately for your credit card however, while you can buy many delicious types of coffee beans from Spiller and Tait, Kopi Luwak isn’t one of them. Mind you, when you find out that its flavor is partly due to it being eaten and then excreted out by civets (a nocturnal mammal found in tropical forests, in case you’re wondering), you may not be so keen on the idea of drinking it anyway. 

4. The American Love-Affair with Coffee

Legend has it that coffee gained its popularity in the USA mainly due to the treacherous - or freedom-loving (depending on your nationality) - colonialists of America. After dropping the tea into the Boston harbour, it became ‘unAmerican’ to drink tea, so everyone turned to coffee. Whether this is true is open to debate but considering recent history, it certainly seems plausible.

5. Coffee houses and the Age of Enlightenment

In London, coffee houses became fashionable as places for men to talk about the ideas of the day, exchange the latest news, and to gossip about anything and everything. Now, we have the internet. Women were banned from them which may be the reason why they tried to get coffee banned in the 17th century. Charles II also attempted to close down coffee houses because of the spread of ‘subversive ideas’. He failed miserably too.

6. Coffee Is Healthy for You

For a long time, coffee was considered bad for you, but in recent years, this has been found to be entirely without merit. Coffee stimulates your brain, making you more active, both physically and mentally. It can help you lose weight and even has some very beneficial nutrients. Plus, it may lower your risk of getting diabetes, Alzheimer’s and dementia. However, don’t overdo it. Believe it or not, 70 cups of coffee in one day could actually kill you!

Six surprising facts about coffee. Who would have thought that a bean could have such an effect on the entire world?