Friday, May 11, 2012

10 Interesting Facts About Coffee

Coffee is a beverage that is loved the world over. There are not many beverages which inspire the love, loyalty and devotion that coffee can. In fact, coffee is the second most consumed beverage over the globe after water.  Coffee  is also very versatile and can be prepared many different ways and is compatible with many different flavors.

Just look on the Internet and do a Google search of “coffee” generates almost 175,000,000 search engine 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. These groups of people consume almost 65% of the world's of coffee. Global annual coffee consumption is well over 400 billion cups and that number just keeps getting bigger. In 2005 alone coffee was the seventh largest legal agricultural export in the whole world by value.

2. In the US alone 400 million cups are thought to be consumed every single day, which is about 35% of the world’s total. The stats show that 54% of the adult population drinks coffee cups on regular daily basis, and another 25% of all Americans drink it sometimes, or on occasion. This means that more than 3/4 of American adults drink some kind of coffee beverage.

3. Men drink just as much, and maybe even more coffee than women do. 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. However, when looking at coffee drinkers only, the average consumption is raised to around 3.1 cups per person per day.

4. Coffee is really considered a fruit and grows on trees (though is often referred to as a plant). Coffee trees are not fast growers. In fact, it takes five years for a coffee tree to reach it full maturity. Once the fruit becomes mature each plant can yield as much as 5 pounds of green (pre-roasted) beans each year. This comes to less than one pound of beans after roasting. It takes approximately 4000 coffee beans to produce a single pound of coffee and roughly 50 coffee beans to produce one single cup.

5. Even though dark roasted beans taste “stronger”, they actually have LESS caffeine than light or medium roasts. The longer a coffee is roasted, the darker it becomes also resulting in more caffeine "burn-off". Contrary to popular beliefs espresso actually contains about one-third less of the caffeine of a brewed cup of conventional 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 this beverage 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!

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