You know you love the taste of coffee, and how it wakes you up in the morning or gives you the perfect ending to a great meal. You know your favorite way to drink it, and enjoy the aroma, taste, and pleasure of a steaming cup of coffee. But how much do you really know about coffee? Apart from the dose of caffeine, there are many other benefits of coffee that are often overlooked. The history of coffee is fascinating, but it is also one that many people do not know. Here you will find out ten amazing things you didn’t know about coffee that will make you feel even better the next time you take a sip.
Coffee is good for your health!
Not only does it help you wake up and be more productive, it’s also proven that coffee is actually good for your health. Coffee is a fantastic source of antioxidants, which help protect your cells against aging and keep your body safe from cancer, heart problems, and premature aging. Those who drink coffee daily have a 40% lower risk of developing liver cancer, an 11% lower incidence of heart failure, a 42% lower rate of developing type II diabetes, as well as reduced cases of certain autoimmune diseases. Coffee can also increase liver function among those who drink alcohol, reducing the rate of cirrhosis by 22%, and reducing cirrhosis death by 66%. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and the severity of Alzheimer’s disease can also be reduced with regular coffee consumption. So drink to your health!
It is the second most traded product in the world
Just behind oil and ahead of natural gas, coffee is traded worldwide. Europe and the United States are its biggest consumers, and most of the production comes from South America and Africa, with more than 2.25 billion cups of coffee consumed daily worldwide! In the past, coffee was conceived as a commercial colonial crop and was cultivated by serfs on large plantations with a tropical climate. Today, the situation has changed, leading to the cultivation of coffee on family-run farms, but coffee production still involves a great deal of work. There are approximately 25 million coffee workers worldwide, and 11 million hectares of coffee cultivation around the globe are dedicated to coffee production. With so much work invested in the world’s favorite beverage, it is important to create and maintain fair working conditions for both farmers and workers. After all, what would we do without coffee?
It grows on berries
Most people are not sure what a coffee bean looks like before it is ready for purchase. All coffee begins with a bright red berry, often called a coffee cherry. And coffee grows on trees, which surprises many people. The trees can reach up to 9 meters in height, but most are grown so that they grow only up to one meter tall to make harvesting easier.
It wasn’t always a drink
People have been drinking coffee for centuries, but not always in the same way. Originally, the Oromo tribe in Ethiopia ground the coffee beans and mixed them with fat, then ate them as energy bars. Legend has it that a man named Kaldi, a goat herder, discovered coffee when he realized that his goats were more vivacious every time they ate the berries of a particular tree. Kaldi told the abbot of the local monastery, who made a drink from the berries which he said helped him stay awake for night prayers. Soon all the monks began to consume coffee beans and the news spread to the Arabian Peninsula. Later, around 1000 BC, Arab merchants brought coffee beans from Africa. They began to boil the beans, creating a drink called “qadwa” which today means “coffee” in Arabic, and the rest is history.
The Arabica bean is a leader in popularity
Arabica coffee is the most popular coffee worldwide. Seventy percent of people drink the mild, aromatic Arabica coffee, while the other 30 percent drink Robusta, a more bitter-tasting coffee. Robusta, however, has 50 percent more caffeine. Although the quality of both may vary, Arabica is considered the best coffee worldwide. It would be an arduous task to find a cafeteria where Robusta is served and is usually reserved for sale in supermarkets in May. Robusta is cheaper, and during World War II, production increased due to the devastation of Europe due to the war. It has continued to be produced for bulk purchases and for rapid doses of caffeine, but most coffee drinkers prefer Arabica despite its slightly higher price.
All the coffee in the world is grown in the Coffee Belt
The Coffee Belt, the area between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, is the only area where coffee can grow due to the weather. This area includes much of South America, Africa, some of South Asia and Hawaii. Although it may seem restrictive, there are in fact 50 countries in this belt that can grow caffeine. Although the latitude of these countries is very similar, there are factors such as the quality of the soil and the altitude that can greatly influence the taste, resulting in totally different coffees even at exactly the same latitudes.
It is good for job performance
Studies show that people who drink coffee are more relaxed and therefore more focused on their work. The caffeine contained in coffee helps maintain alertness, which improves performance and mood. Similarly, coffee is useful when studying as it improves attention and keeps the mind awake, making learning easier.
Athletes, drink up
Those who engage in competitive sports should start drinking, as drinking coffee before a sporting event improves endurance and increases heart rate, while minimizing any pain that is detected during exercise, allowing you to move on. Coffee is rapidly absorbed, with blood peaks between 45 minutes and one hour after consumption, while its effects can last from four to twelve hours.
Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer
This South American country has been at the forefront of coffee production for the last 150 years. With Vietnam and Colombia in second and third place respectively, in 2011, Brazil had a coffee production of almost double that achieved by these two countries together. Brazil is also one of the few countries that grows both Arabica and Robusta. As the world’s leading exporter of coffee, Brazil’s economy depends heavily on its coffee crops.
It reduces stress
It makes you feel less stressed, and you don’t even have to drink it to start feeling the effects! Just smelling the aroma of a cup of coffee reduces stress, according to a study by Seoul National University. Researchers have studied the brains of rats stressed by lack of sleep, finding stress-related changes in brain proteins in rats that were exposed to the aroma of coffee. So take a deep breath as you grind the beans and enjoy the aroma of the coffee before you drink it.