Coffee Facts and Trivia

Below are a few fun facts and bits of trivia all about coffee - from growing it to drinking it.

The Source of Coffee

  • The coffee bush grows only within a girdle one thousand miles on either side of the equator, marked by the Tropic of Capricorn to the south and the Tropic of Cancer to the north.
  • Coffee grows in about a quarter of all the countries in the world - that's fifty out of two hundred or so.
  • Two-thirds of the world's coffee is grown in the region encompassing the northern half of South America and all of Central America.
  • Brazil is the largest supplier of coffee to the world, producing about 30% of all coffee exported - the countries of Columbia in South America and Vietnam in Asia are second and third.
  • The only state in the United States of America that grows coffee commercially is Hawaii.
  • Among all global exports, measured in dollar value, coffee beans as a commodity are second only to oil.

Growing Coffee

  • Dirt containing organically decayed plant matter, leaf mould and pulverised volcano rock is the best type of soil for growing coffee.
  • The Robusta coffee bush grows best at low altitudes while the Arabica coffee bush grows best at altitudes over 1000 metres.
  • A coffee bean is not actually a bean - it is the kernel of the coffee cherry.
  • A coffee bush will not produce any cherries until it is at least five years old; after that, there will be an annual growth of berries every year for 15-20 years.
  • In the stage before the coffee cherries appear, a coffee bush will bloom with 25000-30000 tiny white flowers which will become cherries within a day or two after blooming.
  • Picking the coffee cherries for processing involves a great deal of judgment on whether a cherry is ripe - because coffee cherries do not all ripen at the same rate, one branch can at any one time contain a mix of black over-ripe cherries, green un-ripe ones and red ripe cherries.
  • Each cherry usually contains two beans.
  • It takes four thousand beans to make one pound of roasted ground coffee and forty-two coffee beans to make one cup of espresso.
  • Each coffee bush produces between one to two pounds of coffee per year.

The Consumption of Coffee

  • Over two billion cups of coffee are drunk world-wide every day, with the UK contributing seventy million cups toward that daily total and spending 720 million each year.
  • More than eight out of every ten people put milk in their coffee in the UK, but only five out of ten put in sugar.
  • Using a cafetiere is currently the second most popular way to brew coffee at home, after the drip method.

Other Uses for Coffee

  • Used coffee grounds are an excellent snail and slug repellent when spread around the base of your garden plants.
  • Bring some roasted coffee beans with you when shopping for perfume and sniff them in between smelling samples to clear your nose for the next scent.
  • Brazil published a coffee-scented postage stamp in December 2001, with the scent made to last for about five years - if you had one, it's a shame that the scent would be gone by now.

Coffee Around the World and In History

  • The original name for coffee when it was introduced to Europe around the 17th century was the Wine of Araby.
  • Three of today's world's financial mainstays, Lloyd's of London, the London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange, all began as coffeehouses.
  • Drinking coffee was considered a sign of rebellion against the tea-drinking English King in 18th century America.
  • Coffee drinking in Italy is a separate part of the meal - coffee is never drunk during the meal.
  • In Turkey and Greece, when coffee is brought out, it's always first served to the oldest person present.
  • Ancient Arab law defined a husband's refusal to provide coffee for his wife as an allowable cause for the dissolution of the marriage.


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