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10 unknown facts about coffee

Updated: Jan 9

You pour it without thinking (or more likely to help you start thinking) but there's a fascinating backstory behind your morning cup of coffee. Here's what goes into each cup of brewed beans — err, seeds.

1. The drink dates back to 800 A.D.

Legend has it that 9th-century goat herders noticed the effect caffeine had on their goats, who appeared to "dance" after eating the fruit of the Coffea plant. A local monk then made a drink with the produce and found that it kept him awake at night, thus the original cup of coffee was born.

2. Coffee beans are technically seeds.

They're the pits of the cherry-like berries found on the flowering shrubs, but we call them "beans" because of the resemblance to legumes.

3. And you can eat coffee cherries as a food.

Early on, people mixed coffee berries with fat to create an energy-rich snack ball, according to PBS. They would also ferment the pulp to make a wine-like drink (yum!?).

4. There are two main types: Arabica and Robusta.

Growers predominantly plant the Arabica species. Although less popular, Robusta tastes slightly more bitter and contains more caffeine.

5. Brazil grows the most coffee in the world.

Today, Brazil produces about third of the world's supply, according to the International Coffee Organization, about twice as much as the second place holder, Vietnam.

6. Only two U.S. states produce coffee.

Kona coffee is the United States' gift to the coffee world. Because coffee traditionally grows best in climates along the equator, Hawaii's weather is optimal for harvesting beans. California also recently got into the coffee game with dozens of farms now churning out pricey premium bags.

7. Espresso means "pressed out" in Italian.

This refers to the way espresso is made — forcing boiling water through pressed coffee grounds. And although espresso has more caffeine per volume than coffee, it would take three shots to equal the amount in a regular cup of joe.


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