Coffee is loved the world over. There are not too many beverages which inspire the love and devotion that coffee does. In fact, coffee is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. Just look on the internet - a Google search of "coffee" generates almost 175,000,000 (yes, that is million!) results. So, what is the big deal? Perhaps some interesting facts will give you some clues:
1. The three biggest coffee drinkers in the world are the Americans, the French and the Germans. They consume nearly 65% of the total world's consumption of coffee. Worldwide annual coffee consumption is over 400 billion cups and continues to grow. In 2005, coffee was the seventh largest legal agricultural export in the world by value.
2. In the United States alone, we consume 400 million cups every day, or 35% of the world's total. The statistics show that 54% of the adult population drinks coffee cups on a daily basis, and another 25% of all Americans drink it once in a while. This means that more than three quarters of American adults drink coffee.
3. Men drink as much, if not more, coffee than women. In the year 2000, a National Coffee Association survey reported that the average consumption of coffee corresponds to approximately 1.9 cups of coffee per day for men and 1.4 cups per day for women when looking at the total population. However, when looking at coffee drinkers only, the average consumption is raised to about 3.1 cups per person per day.
4. Coffee is actually a fruit and grows on trees (although often called plants). Coffee trees are not fast growers. In fact, it takes five years for a coffee tree to reach full maturity. Once it's become mature, each mature coffee plant yields about 5 pounds of green (un-roasted) coffee beans per year. This results in less than one pound of coffee beans after roasting. It takes about 4000 coffee beans to produce a pound of coffee and roughly 50 coffee beans to produce one cup of coffee.
5. Even though it tastes "stronger", dark roasted coffees actually have LESS caffeine than medium or light roasts. The longer a coffee is roasted, the darker it becomes and the more caffeine burns off during the process. Similarly, contrary to popular assumptions, espresso coffee actually contains about one-third of the caffeine of a brewed cup of coffee. This is partially due to the fact that espresso is typically made using top premium arabica beans which have a lower caffeine content than robusta beans, which are found in many coffee blends used for standard brewing. Also, in the espresso brewing method, water is in contact with the grounds for only 20 to 25 seconds and extracts less caffeine than methods that put water in contact with the grounds for several minutes.
6. A cappuccino is an Italian coffee drink prepared with espresso, hot milk, and steamed-milk foam. The Italian name 'cappuccino' comes from the long, pointed cowl, or cappuccino, that was worn as part of the habit of the Capuchin Order of Friars. In Italian, the word cappuccino also describes espresso coffee mixed or topped with steamed milk or cream, because the color of the coffee resembled the color of the habit of a Capuchin friar. Some people also believe that the term relates to the aspect of a friar's tonsured (white) head, surrounded by a ring of brown hair.
7. The term "joe" when referring to coffee originates with the fact that coffee has long been a favorite drink among American soldiers. Soldiers in the Civil War, for example, were issued rations of coffee which they brewed in water over camp fires. During World War II, American soldiers were given instant coffee rations and were known to consume large amounts of coffee. Since these soldiers were known as "G.I. Joes", the phrase "cup of Joe" was adapted to describe a cup of coffee.
8. Caffeine can enhance athletic endurance and performance. Until 2004, caffeine was on the International Olympic Committee list of prohibited substances. Athletes who tested positive for more than 12 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of urine (about 5 cups of coffee) were banned from the Olympic Games. Even though caffeine has now been removed from the list of prohibited substances, the controversy continues as experts differ in their opinions as to whether caffeine consumption on the day of performance can give an athlete an unfair advantage or not.
9. Of all its proprietary products, 7-Eleven sells more fresh-brewed coffee than anything else -1 million cups each day. That's more than 10,000 pots of coffee an hour every hour of every day of the year. Starbucks' sales totals are even more staggering. While Starbucks no longer releases its sales information to the public, it is estimated that it sells over 4 million coffee drinks per day.
10. Coffee can be good for you! Coffee can increase the effectiveness of pain killers, reduce headaches and can help fight asthma, possibly due to the enhanced adrenal effect from the caffeine. Coffee may reduce the risk for some cancers and Parkinson's disease. Recent studies have shown that caffeine reduces the incidence of diabetes by 54% for men and 30% for women. Lastly, coffee's stimulant effects and fat burning potential has some in the medical field pushing it as a means of lowering the incidence of heart disease.
Coffee is a truly amazing beverage with a long history and a worldwide following. These 10 facts represent only a very small portion of the information related to coffee which touches every conceivable aspect of life - history, culture, health, wealth, business, enjoyment and more. No wonder coffee inspires the awe and fascination that it does!
Rachel Nielsen is a coffee lover and a coffee fanatic. See her website at http://www.thejavapress.com for a more complete coffee resource guide.