The alarm rings and you stumble out of bed. Heading to the kitchen, you have only one thing on your sleepy mind: coffee. You know that the only way you can get through the morning—heck, the entire day—is to fill your mug and your soul with the rich brown hot nectar of the caffeinated gods.
As you wait for the coffee to brew, you might occasionally wonder about the history of this magical beverage. While you probably know that coffee has been around much longer than the 1970s, when Mrs. Olson chirped about the “rrrrich mountain rrrroast” of Folgers coffee on television, you may not know where it got its start. With this in mind, here are four fun facts about coffee:
Goats loved it first
In the year 850, a goatherd named Kaldi noticed that that his goats were especially joyful and energetic after eating the berries from a certain tree. As the National Coffee Association USA notes, Kaldi reported his observations to the local monastery, who made a drink with the berries. After finding that they too were more alert after consuming it, the monks spread the word about the magical berries. Today, although coffee is grown in a wide variety of countries throughout the world, including South America, Asia, Hawaii and the Caribbean, the plants can trace their roots—no pun intended—back to the old coffee forests of Africa.
Coffeehouses have been around for centuries
Starbucks shops are so ubiquitous, it might be easy to think that they were the world’s first true coffeehouses. But coffeehouses actually got their start back in the 17th century. In the Near East, public coffeehouses, which were called qahveh khaneh, began to sprout up and—much like today—people gathered in them to not only drink coffee, but to visit with friends, listen to music and play chess.
Americans love their java
You and the Ethiopian goats are far from alone in your adoration of coffee. As CNBC notes, coffee is a $30 billion industry in America. As a whole, we consume a whopping 400 million cups of coffee every day. Coffee is also much more than just a drink; it’s a lifestyle. We have nicknames for it like java and cup o’ Joe and we have named work breaks after coffee—after all, it’s not called a Pepsi break or a milk break. Coffee is so popular that the stock photo site Shutterstock has devoted an entire section of its website to the beverage. In fact, the website currently has almost one million stock photos, images and vector art that relate to coffee. On the other hand, fans of tea will find around 500,000 images of their favorite beverage on Shutterstock and orange juice lovers will have to make do with only around 200,000 images.
Coffee brewing has evolved over time
The way we prepare our coffee has changed drastically over time. Our ancestors brewed coffee on top of a wood stove, filling the house with the delicious aroma of java. Now, thanks to modern day coffeemakers, we can have our favorite drink ready in less than five minutes; the only downside to this convenience is the lack of that delicious coffee aroma. When brewing a regular cup of coffee the grounds mix and steep in hot water. Espresso, which is used in cappuccinos and lattes, is ground finer and the water is forced through the beans at a very high temperature.