10 Things You Never Knew About Coffee

Coffee is always finding new ways to amaze us. These surprises might arrive in a bean we’ve never tasted or that moment when we realize all that blossoms into being when we combine the simplicity of beans with the element of water. Yet coffee hides other secrets, too, and these revelations may surprise you even more: 

  • The magic of coffee is believed to have been discovered in 9th century Ethiopia when herders saw their goats experience a burst of activity after eating coffee berries. They took the berries to a local holy man, who turned them into a drink that kept him awake, and coffee was born. 
  • The word coffee comes from qahhwat al-bun, which is Arabic for “wine of the bean.” Turkish tongues turned this into kahve. From here, the Dutch modified kahve into koffie and the Italians created the term caffe. Italians also named espresso, which translates as "when something is forced out" and cappuccino, which is named after the Capuchin monks, who were themselves named after the cappuccino-colored cappuccio hoods they wore.
  • In ancient Arabia, a husband who didn’t like coffee enough could be divorced while Turkish weddings included a vow from the groom to always supply coffee for his bride.
  • Americans drink around 400 million cups of koffie every day or 146 billion cups a year. That’s so much coffee that one-third of all the tap water consumed in North America is used to brew the stuff!
  • Coffee is the world’s best wake-up call, but its aroma alone is enough to get us going. According to a 2008 South Korean experiment, the mere scent of coffee was all it took to wake up sleep-deprived rats. So breathe deep while you drink because the wait from your first sip to the time caffeine’s effects are felt is 10 minutes.
  • Coffee stays warmer longer with dairy—coffee with cream cools around 20% slower than black coffee. The downside is that coffee with added milk fat is absorbed more slowly by our bodies and so is the caffeine it contains.
  • The costliest coffee on Earth is smooth chocolate-flavored Kopi Luwak. $600 will get you a pound of beans that’s passed through the digestive system of a luwak, a wild Sumatran cat that can’t digest them and instead ferments the beans in its stomach before passing them intact.
  • Things are cheaper at the Yunessun Spa in Hakone, Japan. Here, a mere $27 gets you a swim in an entire pool of coffee. We’re not really sure what to say about that. Except that it sounds better than spa’s ramen noodle pool. 
  • Coffee can kill but only if you drink 100 cups in a sitting. That’s the threshold for a fatal caffeine dose though it seems by then the caffeine might be the least of your worries.
  • Some coffee producers add a synthetic coffee scent to their products so a blast of aroma hits consumers when they first open the can. (The quality beans in every Kohana bag, however, neither need nor receive such fakery!)

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