Coffee is one of the world’s favorite drinks. Many of us rely on it to give us a kick start at the beginning of the day and then we continue drinking it until the sun goes down. It can be drunk in many different forms from the straight, strong espresso to a longer, milder latte for those who like milk to be the dominant liquid. Indeed, in hotter climes, it can be drunk over ice to refresh you when the sun burns brightest. Aside from the obvious, there are many unusual facts about coffee. So the next time you are sipping a cappuccino with your loved one, you can regale them with the following surprising information.
It Originates in Ethiopia
Coffee is drunk all around the world, but most people haven’t the faintest idea where it originally comes from. I’ll put you out of your misery – that place is Ethiopia! Legend has it that in the 16th century a goat herder noticed that one of his goats was eating the cherries from a coffee plant and after they were eaten, he saw that the goat was full of energy. He discussed this with the local elders and they decided to try it for themselves. The result was that they were awake and alert all night long. Coffee as a drink was born! News of the discovery soon spread, and 500 years later, it is drunk in all corners of the globe. Check out this Guide to coffees from Ethiopia as well.
An Espresso has Nothing to Do with Speed
How many people do you hear walking into a coffee shop and asking for an “expresso” thinking that it is a short quick drink? An awful lot would be the answer and they are all talking nonsense and should be corrected at every opportunity. Professional baristas at CoffeeDino.com help to put them straight by confirming that it is called an espresso as it comes from the Italian and because the extremely hot water is expressed, or forced through the coffee at high pressure, giving you that delicious short coffee. So, the next time you hear somebody referring to it as an ‘expresso’, you can put them right!
Coffee Can Cost a Fortune
Most of us can expect to pop into a coffee shop and pay £2-3 for a coffee no matter what style we drink it in, but did you know what the most expensive coffee in the world can cost upwards of £500 per kilo? Furthermore, the beans are actually consumed by a type of cat called the civet and once they pass through their digestive system they are collected and roasted to form a type of coffee called Kopi Luwak. Lord knows how they discovered that drink!
It was Once Banned in England
Can you imagine coffee bringing a prohibited substance today?! It doesn’t bear thinking about, but that is exactly what King Charles II did in the 17th Century. He believed that the public was conspiring against him, so he had all the coffee houses in the land shut down. If Queen Elizabeth II tried that today she would have an uprising on her hands such is the popularity of the drink in the modern world.
In the Neapolitan world, it is extremely common to hear people paying for a ‘Caffe Sospeso’ alongside the drink that they actually ordered. They are actually being incredibly generous because this literally means ‘suspended coffee’ and what they are doing is paying for a coffee that can be given to a customer who is poor or needy, so that they can have a hot drink. Who knew the Neapolitans were so benevolent?
Mocha is a ubiquitous type of coffee consumed all over the world, but would it surprise you to hear that it refers to a port in Yemen?! Yemen used to be a huge producer of coffee and it was said that Yemeni beans had a lovely chocolate quality to them, so coffee style drinks with chocolate are collard Mochas these days.
As we have discovered, there are many surprising and interesting facts about coffee that can be discussed over an espresso into the small hours of the morning. Coffee originated in Ethiopia and from there it was exported all over the world. The most expensive coffee today can cost over £500 a kilo putting it on a par with Champagne in price terms. The drink has a long history of prohibition, but in some countries, it is common to pay for a coffee as a treat to a stranger. What a diverse cultural history it has around the world!