10 Facts About Coffee, the Best Drink in the World

Coffee sign hanging from ceiling

If you’re like a lot of people, your morning isn’t a good one unless you have a cup or two of coffee to go along with it. There’s more to coffee than just a caffeine boost, though. Coffee lovers around the world drink this magic beverage for taste and health as well.

There’s a lot that goes into that cup of Joe, and a lot of history behind each cup. We’ve collected 10 of our favorite facts about coffee to celebrate this amazing beverage. Why not grab yourself a cup before you continue reading?

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1. Hawaii is the only U.S. state that grows coffee

All the coffee in the world is grown in what’s known as the Bean Belt. This part of the world, which lies between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, is the only region where the temperature and humidity are just right for coffee growth. And the only part of the United States located in the Bean Belt is Hawaii.

2. Coffee berries?

Coffee berries growing on the tree
You’re probably used to hearing about coffee beans, but coffee actually starts out growing as bright-red berries on trees. These trees can grow up to 30 feet tall but are cultivated to be around 10 feet to make harvesting easier. Coffee beans are actually the seeds inside the red berries. The berries are picked and left to dry in the sun until all that’s left are green beans.

3. Coffee is the second-most-traded commodity in the world

Once the green coffee beans are ready, they move on to be sold around the world. So much coffee is sold that the only commodity traded more often is oil. Besides the beans themselves, coffee commodities include farms and overall trade.

4. Coffee beans pop when roasted

Coffee beans in a roaster
A coffee roaster takes the green coffee beans and roasts them at around 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This is how coffee gets its unique roasted flavor. After a few minutes of roasting, the beans will pop once. After a few more minutes, the roaster will hear a second pop. This tells the roaster that the bean is done being roasted.

After popping, a coffee bean is nearly twice its original size. The length of time and the temperature of roasting both greatly affect the flavor of the coffee brewed with the beans.

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5. George Washington created instant coffee

Vintage ad for Washington's Coffee

Not so fast. We’re not talking about the guy on the $1 bill you left as a tip in Starbucks this morning, but a Belgian inventor and businessman who lived for a time in Guatemala. In 1909 he created the “Red E Coffee” brand, and while it wasn’t considered very good, it was given en masse to American soldiers during World War I.

Washington didn’t actually invent instant coffee, though. The science behind it came from Satori Kato, a Japanese chemist working in Chicago in 1901, and before him, a New Zealand man named David Strang, who invented and patented the process in 1890.

6. Let’s go on a Pequod run!

Starbucks coffee mugs on a shelf
Speaking of Starbucks, many people wonder about the name and logo of the ubiquitous coffee sellers, as stars and mermaids don’t have a lot to do with coffee.

The founders of Starbucks actually named the business after Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” Starbuck was Captain Ahab’s first mate. The company was initially called “Pequod’s,” but after hearing the tagline “Have a cup of Pequod” the founders decided to pick a new name. As for the mermaid, it’s reminiscent of the sea, and better than a giant whale on the cup.

7. The first webcam was aimed at a coffee pot

Vintage webcam image of Cambridge coffee pot
So, you think you have a coffee addiction, eh? Well, researchers at Cambridge invented the world’s first webcam just so they could see when their coffee was done brewing! This way everyone in the office could see what the coffee situation was without even having to stand up.

8. Coffee can keep you healthy

There have been hundreds of studies on the health properties of coffee. Some of these have shown that coffee can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and even lower your chances of getting skin cancer. Heck, there are even studies showing that coffee may be good for your liver, especially if you drink alcohol!

9. Coffee actually makes you feel happier

Most coffee drinkers will agree they’re far more, well, agreeable after their first cup of coffee in the morning. But did you know a recent study shows that people who drink 4 cups of coffee every day are 10% less likely to feel depressed than those who drink none at all? This is possibly due to the high antioxidant levels found in brewed coffee, but we’re pretty sure the smell of a fresh cup of coffee helps, too.

10. Coffee can make you smarter

Coffee is known for waking you up, but it seems it actually can help your brain work more efficiently, as well as more quickly overall. Coffee improves attention, reasoning, reaction time, and productivity – all key elements of what we consider to be intelligence.

Coffee can help when you’re tired, but also when you’re wide awake. Just change the “dosage” based on your needs. Too much coffee can make you jittery and actually make you lose attention, so take it easy and drink small cups; just take a few more of them.

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