Take a look at both the popularity and sophistication of coffee today and there’s no way you’d know it was discovered purely by accident. It’s become clear over recent years that the coffee culture many thought was a Western phenomenon is in fact even more active and fierce across the rest of the world than most would ever have believed.

In truth, the world of coffee is a weird and wonderful place brimming with facts and figures you’ll just never tire of…well, let’s say ‘impressing’ your friends with. So in the spirit of both expanding your own knowledge and arming you with a few little factoids to pocket for future occasions, what follows is a rundown of 15 of the most fabulous facts about coffee any real coffee lover should already know.

Coffee Was Discovered by Accident

There are quite a few conflicting stories as to the origins of coffee, but one of the best loved concerns a ninth century goat herder. Historians state that the Ethiopian chap was troubled to find his herd had eaten some beans that sent the goats completely crazy, which turned out to be the coffee beans we know and love today.

They Could Be Called Coffee Berries

While coffee beans carry a slightly misleading name, they are in fact extracted from a berry. Were the beans to be left in the berries and sold as an all-in-one product, they would be known as coffee berries instead.

Coffee Is the World’s Number Two in Global Commodity Sales

The popularity and demand for coffee is such that only oil manages to shoulder past it in the ranks of the world’s most sold commodities. Coffee sells in volumes that are simply impossible to put a sensible figure to, but suffice to say the quantities are mind-blowing.

Not All Stereotypes Are Inaccurate…

The US gets through a lot of coffee, but no American city comes close to New York. The folks in the Big Apple drink on average a full seven-times more coffee than their counterparts across the country, which is largely attributed to the quite unrivalled number of coffee joints lining every street of the city.

They Say Coffee Can Be Deadly

There’s a rumour that’s been doing the rounds for years that says coffee in large doses can kill you. Well, here’s the truth – it can, but in order for a coffee binge to be anything close to deadly you’ll have to drink a minimum of about 100 cups in a single sitting. And as no right-minded human being is ever going to do that, it’s a bit of a moot point.

Lots to Try

Across the world there are well over 50 different coffee species, each of which produces a bean and berry with a distinct flavour all of its own. What’s interesting about the United States is that despite the country consuming more coffee than most others, the only state that grows commercial coffee is Hawaii.

Half a Trillion Cups Served

It’s of course impossible to put an exact figure on it, but the last estimate in terms of total global coffee consumption came out at 500 billion cups since the drink became readily available. And given the fact that the world’s population doesn’t go much higher than 7 billion people, it’s a pretty impressive figure.

Fuel for Thought

The power of the coffee bean has not escaped the eye of the scientist and research is constantly underway as to what else these little wonders can be used for. They’ve already found their way into thousands of medical research labs and are even being looked at as an alternative fuel source for vehicles.

Darker Beans, Lighter Caffeine

It’s a common misnomer than darker roasted coffee beans are the strongest in terms of both taste and caffeine content. In reality, it’s actually the lighter beans that haven’t been roasted as much that contain more caffeine and generally whip up a stronger cup of coffee.

Record Breakers

Coffee has been involved in a ton or World Records over recent years, some of which are admittedly more impressive and useful than others. For example:
• The Guinness World Record for the most coffee beans moved in one minute using nothing but chopsticks is 38.
• The largest cup of coffee ever made held 14,228.1 litres of the stuff and was put together in Yangju, South Korea.
• The highest number of cups of coffee consumed in a seven-hour session stands at 82…and yes, he survived!
• The largest simultaneous coffee party was organised by a UK cancer charity and saw 576,157 coming together for a good cause.
• The world’s biggest coffee shop is the Adwaa Al Masaa Café which has 1,050 seats.

Competitive Coffee Drinking

During the Second World War, it was common for allied soldiers to pass quieter times trying to outdo one another by drinking as many cups of coffee as possible. According to those telling the tales, many were averaging a full 20 cups for day.

An Instant Revolution

Coffee has been around for much longer, but instant coffee didn’t come about until 1906 when an English chemist by the name of George C. Washington came up with the world-changing creation.

Coffee Controversy

Due to its association with additional energy and occasionally hyperactive behaviour, coffee has been banned and reintroduced dozens of times across dozens of nations over the past century.

First Come, First Served

The first ever person to be granted a license to sell coffee at a store in the USA was Dorothy Jones, who brewed and sold coffee in Boston around the year 1670.