Coffee 101: I bet you didn’t know that!

15(ish) things worth knowing about coffee…

So yesterday I toured a local coffee house/roasterie with other chefs & managers…me learning something new = you guys learning something new!

  1. Legend has it Ethiopian shepherds first noticed the effects of caffeine when they saw their goats appearing to become frisky and “dance” after eating coffee. Really.
  2. Originally coffee was eaten. African tribes mixed coffee berries with fat which formed edible energy balls!
  3. The rise of Islam contributed greatly to the popularity of coffee. The religion prohibited drinking alcohol, but coffee was considered an acceptable drink.
  4. All coffee bean in the world grows in the world’s equator belt (between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn). Hawaii is the only state in the US that grows coffee.
  5. In 1675, the king of England banned coffee houses, claiming they were places where people met to conspire against him.
  6. 70% of the world consumes Arabica coffee, which is mild and aromatic. The remaining 30% drinks Robusta, which is more bitter-tasting but has 50% more caffeine than Arabica.
  7. Coffee grows on Trees (if only money would…). They can grow to be up to 30 feet tall, but are cultivated to be around 10 feet tall for easy-picking.
  8. The coffee bean is actually a seed inside a bright red berry.
  9. Coffee is the second most traded commodity on earth (oil is the first).
  10. Coffee Berries are picked, dried, and stripped down until all that’s left is a green bean.
  11. Once shipped, the beans are roasted at around 500˚F. After a few minutes, the bean will “pop” and double in size. A few minutes after that, the bean will “pop” once more. The second pop means the bean is done.
  12. George Washington invented instant coffee. Okay, not really— A Belgian man living in Guatemala by the name of George Washington invented it in 1906.
  13. Espresso: It’s not a particular type of bean, roast or blend. Espresso is just a way that coffee is prepared (shooting pressurized, hot water through finely ground coffee.
  14. The term “Americano” comes from America GI’s during WW2. They would order espresso with water to dilute the strong flavor. (The term “cup of joe” comes from American servicemen (GI Joes) in WW2 being seen as big coffee drinkers.
  15. How caffeine works: In your brain there is something called Adenosine and it only wants to have it out with certain receptors. When these two get together, you get drowsy. When caffeine shows up, it attaches to the receptors so that Adenosine cannot. Your pituitary gland sees this and thinks there’s an emergency, so it tells the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline…the result? A caffeine high!


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Posted on September 7th, 2016 at 9:27 am [ssba]