Coffee Facts for your Amusement and Entertainment
Coffee has been a popular beverage in many forms for more than a thousand years throughout many parts of the world. With this fascinating history comes many stories covering so many coffee subjects. We hope you enjoy this interesting collection of coffee facts and information.
- Annual coffee consumption worldwide was estimated in 2003 to be over 400 billion cups. While these 2003 statistics are the most recent available, it is established that coffee consumption throughout the world continues to grow. 400 billion cups per year is a huge number. That's over 1.4 billion cups of coffee per day. The United States is responsible for almost 35 percent of the coffee consumption at 400 million cups every day.
- Coffee is the second largest traded commodity surpassed only by Oil, the world's world's largest traded commodity.
- The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) estimates the specialty coffee revenue in 2006 at over $12.2 billion in sales. Over 75% of this business occurs in coffee cafes and coffee beverage retailers.
- According to a 2008 National Coffee Association (NCA) study, daily gourmet coffee consumption has increased 3% this year (2007) over last year (2006), while daily coffee consumption of any kind is down 2% for the same time period. Gourmet coffee includes espresso based drinks. The NCA poll surveyed more than 6000 adults over the Internet and by telephone in January and February of 2008.
- As recently as July 2007, Starbucks continues to raise the price of coffee drinks to cover rising costs, especially rising dairy costs (for all those milked based coffee drinks). That put's the average straight coffee drink at a little over $2 and the popular Latte at over $4. Order a Latte with an extra shot, extra foam or cream and you'll easily pay over $5. Sounds like more "bucks" in Starbucks.
- Leading up to the American Revolution in December 1773, The "Boston Tea Party" was the historical event that began the shift in America to a coffee drinking nation. Tea was a more popular beverage, but the heavy tax on tea imposed on the American colonies by the British forced the adoption and ultimate national popularity of coffee as the number one consumed beverage in America.
- Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a cantata about coffee between 1732 and 1734. Coffee has been a popular beverage for hundreds of years and the coffee houses were a frequent gathering place throughout Europe, including Leipzig, Germany where Bach resided in 1732. The coffee cantata was more of a satirical comedy and tells an amusing story of coffee addiction considered a social problem in the eighteenth century.
- The first wholesale coffee roasting company in America started business in 1790. That same year, the first advertisement for coffee in a newspaper was published. What is believed to be the first coffee roasting plant in America started operations at 4 Great Dock Street in New York City, now Pearl Street.
- If the French invented Cafe Society, the Italians definitely own the rights to Espresso Society. There are over 200,000 espresso bars throughout Italy today.
- The first rudimentary espresso machine prototype was created in France in 1822. Luigi Bezzera patented the first espresso machine in 1901, a steam driven design. Desiderio Pavoni purchased the patent from Bezzera in 1905, and through additional experimentation was able to produce better results by using a more optimum brew temperature of 195 degrees at 8-9 BAR of pressure. La Pavoni was the first manufacturer of espresso machines used in coffee houses. Modern day espresso in the commercial establishment is attributed to the Gaggia piston lever Crema Caffe machine, first introduced in 1947.
- The popular latte is predominantly an American phenomena. If you ask for a latte in Italy, you'll get a glass of milk, most likely warm milk. When in Italy, if you want a latte as you know it in America, you'll need to ask for a caffe latte (coffee with milk).
- The first coffee filter was invented in 1908 by Melitta Bentz, a housewife from Dresden, Germany. She created the filter using blotting paper. The Melitta Bentz and her husband Hugo Bentz started the Melitta Bentz company that same year in 1908. The Melitta brand is synonymous with coffee filters to this day.
- In 1901, the first invention of "instant" coffee is attributed to a Japanese American chemist Satori Kato in 1901. The first mass-produced instant coffee is credited to an English chemist George Constant Washington in 1906. The Nestle company in Switzerland invented and introduced Nescafe, the first freeze-dried coffee, in 1938.
- Legend has it in 1907, a cup of Maxwell House Coffee was served to President Theodore Roosevelt and he was overheard to comment that it was "good to the last drop". The Cheek-Neal Coffee Company registered the trademark slogan "Maxwell House Good to the last drop" in 1926. The Postum Cereal Company purchased the assets of Cheek-Neal including Maxwell House Coffee in 1928, which, through several corporate acquisitions, became General Foods in 1929. In 1989, Kraft and General Foods combined to form Kraft General Foods which owns Maxwell House Coffee today.
- In Japan, over 10,000 coffee cafes called "Kissaten" serve the consumer demand in just Tokyo alone. Japan is the third highest coffee consuming nation in the world today.
- Brazil is the largest coffee producer in the world today. In 2006, of the 44 million bags of coffee produced in Brazil, 27 million were exported for trade. Brazil harvests over 4 billion coffee trees, a staggering number. Brazil's coffee trade generates over US$3.3 billion annually. As the largest coffee producer, this does create some controversy in the coffee industry. In order to produce coffee at these significant commercial volumes, Brazil has had to shift most of it's coffee production from the more environmentally friendly shade grown plantations, to the higher yield sun grown commercial operations. This not only impacts the environment, but presents a challenge to the traditional small coffee farmer who struggles to compete with the large commercial growers.
- As you might expect, coffee tastes and beverage preferences differ from one country to another. For example, 30% of coffee drinkers in the United States sweeten their coffee with sugar or some other form of sweetener. In the UK, more than 57% of coffee consumers prefer to ad a sweetener of some kind. In India, it is virtually impossible to find coffee or tea that doesn't have milk and sugar added. As a contrast to adding milk or sweetener, in Italy, the most popular form of coffee is simply a straight shot of strong espresso.
- Contrary to what most people think, espresso coffee actually contains about 1/3 the caffeine level of a normally brewed cup of coffee. This is partially due to the fact that espresso is typically made using top premium arabica beans. Arabica beans have a lower caffeine content than robusta beans found in many coffee blends used for standard brewing.
- On average, the live expectancy of a properly cared for coffee plant is 40 to 50 years, with some plants living as long as 100 years.
- A mature coffee plant yields about 5 pounds of green (un-roasted) coffee beans per year. That results in less than one pound of coffee beans after roasting (roasting removes most of the water present in the green coffee beans). It takes about 4000 coffee beans to produce a pound of coffee. And roughly 50 coffee beans to produce one cup of coffee.
- On average, an acre of coffee trees can produce as much as 10,000 pounds of coffee cherries. There are two coffee beans contained within each cherry. This yields approximately 2000 pounds of beans after processing. Which translates to about 400 pounds of coffee beans after roasting. It takes a lot of coffee trees, and vast amounts of acreage to produce the volume of coffee consumed each day.
- To reach your cup, most of the coffee beans are transported from the major growing regions by ship. There are more than 2,500 commercial ships transporting coffee beans annually.
- The popular Cappuccino coffee drink is named after the Capuchin monks due to the similarity in color of the coffee drink to monk's robes.
- In the 1950s, the average price for a cup of coffee was 10 cents with some places still selling a cup for as low as 5 cents. And that included the refills. The typical place to buy a cup of coffee was either a coffee shop or a roadside diner. Although a penny bought a more in the 1950s than in the 1650s, ten cents for a cup of coffee was not all that more expensive than in the popular coffee houses of England during the 17th century. Coffee houses in England flourished during the 17th and 18th century as common gathering places for the learned and educated (and the common folks too) and were called "penny universities" with a penny being the price for a cup of coffee.
- The popular phrase "cup of joe", referring to a cup of coffee, was made popular during WWII. Enlisted men (General Infantry) in the U.S Army were fondly referred to by the slang phrase G.I. Joe, made popular by a comic strip distributed by King Features Syndicate, which first appeared in newspapers in 1942. Coffee was an immensely popular beverage consumed by enlisted men during WWII, hence the establishment of the popular phrase "cup of joe" from G.I. Joe.
- Many consider espresso as the strongest form of coffee. From a caffeine perspective, however, espresso actually has about 1/3 the caffeine content as regularly brewed coffee.
- According to a recent American Chemical Society study and white paper, over a thousand volatile compounds have been identified in coffee. Coffee certainly involves a complex chemistry. Approximately 40 of these components have been demonstrated to contribute to the actual smell and aroma of coffee. One interesting determination counters the traditional thinking that caffeine is responsible for the bitter taste in coffee. However, caffeine concentrations are simply too low in coffee to influence or cause a bitter taste. The research has isolated two primary compounds as significant contributors to coffee's bitterness, chlorogenic acid lactones and hydroxylated phenylindanes. Clear as mud (or coffee that is).
- Regarded as the largest retail coffee chain, with over 15,000 stores world wide, Starbucks actually sells more milk by volume than coffee. Starbucks has established a brand based on strong, bold dark-roasted coffees. Some even consider the roasting style over-done, pushing the respectable and popular dark-roast preference too far into the burnt category. While the milk products comprise the significant component in the Starbucks coffee drinks (lattes, cappuccinos, etc. ), perhaps another driver behind the volume of milk sold is a customer preference to tame or tone down the Starbucks over-roasted, strong and bold coffee profile.
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