What do hyperactive goats, monks and coders have in common? The answer is simple: coffee. We take a look at seven interesting facts about the world of coffee.
- Coffee is an ancient beverage said to originate from the forests of the Ethiopian Plateau.
Legend has it that goats who ate the berries became more active even at night when they should have been quiet and docile. Their goatherd came from Kaffa.
- Monks come into the picture when the goatherd supposedly went to ask for advice at a local monastery.
Short version, the monks found they could brew the roasted beans to make a drink that helped them stay awake during the long nights of meditation and prayer. This might be a mix-up with Buddhist monks in Asia drinking tea for a similar purpose.
- A hotly contested alternative puts the discovery of the efficacious juice in the Yemen and much later in history. What does appear to be true is the Arabian Peninsula saw the beginning of the coffee trade.
The spread of coffee around the globe began with pilgrims visiting the holy city of Mecca for the Haj. Each year they returned to their home countries bringing with them the ‘wine of Araby’.
- Also needing to stay awake for long stretches at a time are coders. Java is the name of Indonesia’s Java, its coffee java and the computer-programming language named Java.
Whether apocryphal or not, Java has a link with the dark brew, even if it is no more than the name. However, one of the development team members at Sun Microsystems, Chris Warth says they were definitely drinking Peer’s Java at the time they were working on the program.
- Coffee is cultivated around the globe. Literally, coffee is best grown in a geographical region that circles the globe between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
The Coffee Belt, also known as the Bean Belt, includes over 50 countries, such as Tanzania, Indonesia, Hawaii in the US, Nicaragua and Ethiopia. Each has its own topography, soil, weather and other differences which add to the diversity of the coffee beans they produce.
- World annual consumption of coffee is an eye-opening 9.5 billion kilos. We tried doing the maths for how many cups this made, but our handphone calculator was overwhelmed by the attempt.
Topping the country list of consumption in 2017 was Finland, using 12.2kg per person. In fact, Scandinavian countries take five out of the top six places. Something to do with those long winter nights perhaps.
- October, coincidentally, is Fair Trade Month. You have all seen the phrase, mostly connected with coffee in cafés and supermarkets.
Fair Trade is not limited to coffee, but if you do have an opportunity to choose, go for a product that supports coffee farmers in developing countries.
By the way, if you think you can come up with the answer for the calculation in number 6, post it in the comments. We need to go for a coffee break.